Scat porn viral video “2 Girls 1 Cup” inspired a genre of horrified reaction videos, all in good fun. But the YouTube reactions to a video of a real, graphic, 10-minute murder circulating on gore forums and torrent sites are disturbing in themselves. The reaction videos are shot with a webcam pointed at the face of the person, or people, as they watch the video “1 Lunatic 1 Icepick” for the first time.
“This is a kind of ‘2 Girls 1 Cup reaction video,’ but for this video,” says one young man, YouTube user CandySoup, who mostly uploads videos of himself playing video games. He is wearing a baseball shirt and speaks cheerfully in a European accent. He begins watching the video and describing what happens. About two and a half minutes in, he starts screaming. “Holy fucking shit, that’s messed up bro!” he screams, genuinely horrified. He calms down and compliments the New Order song that’s on in the background. Around the five minute mark, he really starts freaking out, grabbing his head and shrieking. “Woah! Woah! What the fuck!” In the final third of the video, he is frozen and mostly silent and slack-jawed. When it finishes, he hangs and holds his head. The shot is blurry, but he looks like he might be crying.
“Okay, it’s done,” he says. He struggles to come up with a summary. “I’m done. Goodbye. This is just fucking wrong. God. Holy shit.” The reaction video has 103,673 views. Comments have been disabled.
In May, a video of a graphic murder titled “1 Lunatic 1 Icepick,” in which a man murders, mutilates and molests a live victim was posted on the blood-and-guts fan site Best Gore. The 10-minute video turned out to be real—the murderer mailed parts of the body to Canadian political parties—and police have arrested gay porn star and Internet fameball Luka Magnotta in connection with the crime.
The CandySoup video is one of more than a dozen such reaction videos on YouTube; there are more on other sites across the web. One man watches the video while eating chili, ostensibly to show off his strong stomach. (“I read about this Luka Rocco Magnotta story today, and someone told me there was a really gruesome video of it on the web, I saw others doing reaction videos first and figured hey, I should do one, while eating a bowl of chili, and here it is…”) Another watches it in a ski mask, casually bobbing his head to the music as he eats a banana. One girl tries to watch the video after being “told to react to it,” but it won’t load past a picture. “I don’t like this. Okay. I don’t like where this is going,” she says, hyperventilating.
Another video shows a man in a beanie who says “enjoy watching me get scarred for life” in the description. “Oh no. It’s a puppy,” he moans at one point.
Why are people uploading their reactions to what is considered the most graphic snuff film of all Internet time, in which a real live person dies? The video has become water cooler conversation. Have you watched it? Have you seen it? I couldn’t watch! “Watch if you dare,” taunted one tweeter.
Is this just another piece of shock content like anti-Semitic clickbait, footage of the NYPD versus Occupy Wall Street protesters, or whatever daily scandal has earned a Drudge siren? “So, something crazy happened today,” says an L.A.-based musician and vlogger, Matthew Lush, in the introduction to his video reaction. “So, I was on Tumblr…” He finishes with, “I just wanted to vent about it, because I’m so disturbed…”
Well friends, there’s life pre- 1 Lunatic 1 Icepick, and life after 1 Lunatic 1 Icepick. I’m now living in the latter. #JustWow
— Tripp Remmington III (@samfetamine) June 13, 2012
The “1 Lunatic 1 Icepick” video is spreading in a creepy viral motion similar to the photos of a homeless man in Miami whose face was chewed away by another man in the throes of some yet-to-be-determined phsychosis. Those graphic photos were posted on mainstream sites including BuzzFeed, Gawker and the Huffington Post and made their way around Twitter and Facebook as friends squealed over the grossness of it all. Framed as a zombie apocalypse story, the incident became a meme. “Miami Zombie (also known as “Miami Cannibal”) is the nickname given to Rudy Eugene, a deceased man who viciously attacked and cannibalized the homeless man Ronald Poppo in May of 2012,” writes Know Your Meme.
1 Lunatic 1 icepick, i might do a video reaction for this, tho i have NO idea wat it is
— Badside(@ProtonBS) June 12, 2012
The zombie joke made it easier to “LOL, reblog!” the graphic photos with their implied backstory of violence. With “1 Lunatic 1 Icepick,” whose victim was a Chinese student in Canada who was drugged and brutally beheaded, there is no such meme-ish narrative: it’s just pure horror. The reaction videos seem to be meeting a real demand for those who are curious about the video or are trying to work up the nerve to watch it. One woman recorded a nine-minute discussion of the “video that sadly has become viral,” without watching it herself. “I haven’t watched it. I refuse to watch it. I did watch a couple of people, their reactions to it. Some people were very—I can’t even use the word ‘apathetic,’ laughing, thinking the video was funny. To those of you that haven’t watched it, and I beg of you to remain one of those that haven’t watched it,” she says.
“1 Lunatic 1 Icepick” itself shows no signs of fading away. Last week, news broke that the police had obtained a longer copy with audio.