Is Orphan: First Kill a true story? The film’s rumored inspiration

Orphan First Kill

Orphan: First Kill is a prequel to the 2009 horror film Orphan. The 2022 film chronicles Esther’s origins, describing how the thirty-something woman with the face of a pre-teen became a cold-blooded murderer. The movie shows Esther’s expert use of her childlike demeanor and body to dupe a family into adopting her. 

After one of the family members discovers Esther isn’t who she claims to be, she tries to expose Esther’s secret. In retaliation, Esther kills her entire adoptive family, leaves their house burning, and returns to an orphanage, where she awaits adoption by another family. 

Orphan: First Kill is a fictional story, but some reports allege the film was inspired by Barbora Skrlova

Orphan: First Kill and the original Orphan are fictional films. They are the products of stories written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Alex Mace. 

However, some reports claim that Barbora Skrlova inspired the film series. Like Esther, Czech Republic native Barbora had a rare disorder called hypopituitarism that inhibited her growth. 

Skrlova made herself look younger by undergoing breast reduction and liposuction. Posing as a 12-year-old girl, she duped an unsuspecting mother with two sons into adopting her. 

Barbora didn’t kill her adoptive family, but she manipulated her mentally unstable adoptive mother into abusing and neglecting her biological children. After police uncovered the abuse, Skrlova fled to Norway, where she posed as a 13-year-old boy. 

For four months, teachers, childcare workers, and police believed a boy named ‘Adam’ was in his early teens. They later found out the ‘boy’ was a 33-year-old woman wanted in the Czech Republic. 

There are similarities between Barbora and Esther, but there’s no evidence that the writers based the film on Barbora Skrlova’s story. 

A false rumor claims a child adopted by an Indiana couple inspired the Orphan film series

Indiana couple Michael and Kristine Barnett alleged they adopted a girl much older than they were told – and she tried to murder them. Sounds a lot like the Orphan plot, doesn’t it? However, the true story is different. 

A report by AP claimed that the couple adopted an orphan with dwarfism in 2010. A medical professional estimated her age to be around 8 years old. Three years later, Michael and Kristine rented the girl an apartment and fled to Canada.

Michael later told police that Kristine coached the girl to say she was 22. The couple was charged with felony neglect but haven’t been convicted.

Despite the similarities, this story couldn’t have inspired the Orphan series as the first film had already premiered before Michael and Kristine adopted their daughter.  

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