Was ‘Jennifer’s Body’ based on this terrifying true crime tale?
If you’re a fan of true crime and horror films, there’s no way you missed out on 2009’s horror comedy Jennifer’s Body. Although it received a lukewarm response upon initial release, the Megan Fox flick became a cult classic over the years.
However, critical reception wasn’t the only surprise Jennifer’s Body experienced – a true crime incident drawing parallels with the film had surfaced on the internet, allowing armchair detectives to connect the dots.
Jennifer’s Body has an unforgettable premise following high schooler Jennifer, who becomes demonically possessed when a rock band botches an attempt to sacrifice her to Satan. Afterwards, she takes revenge on her male classmates by going on a bloody killing spree and offing them one by one. When her best friend (Amanda Seyfried) realizes what’s happening, she makes an attempt to end the carnage.
While the fictional plot of Jennifer’s Body may seem next to impossible in real life, the true crime tale of Elyse Pahler’s tragic murder feels similar enough.
When fifteen-year-old Californian resident Elyse Pahler met with her three teen friends 0n July 22nd, 1995 to smoke marijuana in a nearby eucalyptus grove, she didn’t expect to be murdered.
As she let her guard down post-smoking, one of Pahler’s three friends took their belt off and used it to strangle her while another held her down. The third took a knife to Elyse Pahler’s neck multiple times. After taking their turns with the knife, they proceeded to rape her lifeless body in similar manner before escaping the scene.
Elyse Pahler’s murder was premeditated & intended to be a ritual sacrifice – the boys later admitted that they believed in return for the murder, their death metal band would become famous with the power of the devil. They bragged about the murder & necrophilia at school, however, no one took them seriously.
After eight long months and multiple visits from the victim’s assaulters to sexually assault the corpse, the body was recovered in March of 1996.
Autopsy & confessions
The autopsy of Elyse Pahler’s body revealed the cause of death to be the loss of blood from the twelve stab wounds but not the individual stab wounds themselves. The gruesome murder terrified & baffled locals as they struggled to understand the reasoning behind such a vile crime committed by teenagers.
The case moved forward as one of the perpetrators, Royce Casey had a change of heart and confessed to the crimes. Casey revealed that after having practiced satanism with his bandmates during which the ritualistic murder took place, he converted to Christianity and turned himself over to authorities. He also revealed his bandmates were likely to commit more murders, saying “[Elyse] wouldn’t be the only one, there would be others” while fearing the same for himself.
When the others were acquitted, it was revealed the killing happened on their second attempt and the killers had tried to murder Elyse Pahler once before but chickened out at the last moment.
As the killers professed adoration for the legendary metal band Slayer and their music, Pahler’s parents filed a lawsuit against the band and made them a scapegoat for the horrific crimes. The victim’s parents claimed the songs “Postmortem” & “Dead Skin Mask” had given the teenage boys actual instructions to torture, rape, and murder their daughter.
However, the judge dismissed their case by stating, “there’s not a legal position that could be taken that would make Slayer responsible for the girl’s death. Where do you draw the line? You might as well start looking through the library at every book on the shelf.”
Unstopped, the Pahlers filed a second lawsuit against Slayer but that had the same result.
Ticket to hell
In the initial proceedings of the case, the killers were questioned about the reason behind choosing Elyse Pahler as their victim to which they responded that she was the “ultimate sin against God” with her “[. . . ] blond hair and blue eyes and because she was a virgin, she would be a perfect sacrifice for the devil.”
However, after a few years in prison, one of the killers (Jacob Delashmutt) cast doubt on their original satanic motives behind the crimes. Delashmutt revealed in his statement to The Washington Post, “The music is destructive . . . that’s not why Elyse was murdered. She was murdered because Joe [Fiorella] was obsessed with her and obsessed with killing her.”
With a satanic ritual, metal band, violent teenagers, and a tragic killing – the chilling true crime incident appears to mirror the horror film, Jennifer’s Body.