Over the past few months, the 10 minute-long snuff film “1 Lunatic 1 Icepick”–which depicts alleged Canadian murderer Luka Magnotta brutally killing a Chinese student before having sex with his dismembered corpse–has swiftly rippled through the Internet’s layered circles. It began first with the gore cognoscenti, then crept into Canadian newspapers and eventually hit critical mass with disturbing YouTube reaction videos.
Mr. Magnotta, a preening James Dean obsessive with a stomach-churning history of murdering kittens and courting infamous serial killers, is a personality type ripe for a cult following. And judging from his previous attempts to cultivate notoriety, that’s exactly what he wants.
Ask and apparently you shall receive: The Huffington Post reported yesterday that Mr. Magnotta has become a magnet for fans across the U.S. and Canada, one of whom–improbably named Destiny St-Denis–even made a Facebook group in support of him. The group has since been shuttered by Facebook due to “inappropriate content.”
Mr. Magnotta possesses all the key elements for a cultish folk hero: an attractive, innocent-looking appearance; youth; internet savvy; and a ghoulish crime that causes some to squirm in disgust while others become frozen, fascinated by a question that one Luka Magnotta fan site pointedly sums up: “How can a monster be so beautiful and so intriguing?”
That fan site is Luka Magnotta Obsession, which HuffPo reports is one of the more active destinations for supporters of Mr. Magnotta. Run by a Canadian girl who goes by the name “Lexa Mancini,” Luka Magnotta Obsession reads like one long love letter penned by someone with a school girl crush. Rife with shirtless photos and rhyming poetry, it’s not unlike fan sites you might find for Justin Bieber.
But for her part, Ms. Mancini is very self-aware about the fact that her obsession with an accused murderer–however handsome he may be–is disturbing. She freely admits that she obsesses about Mr. Magnotta primarily because he is attractive. In one comment on Luka Magnotta Obsession, she writes under the handle “1nicecanadiangirl1hugeobsession:”
maybe it’s my mind’s way of coping with the inexplicable dichotomy of Beauty and the Beast….the extreme beauty of the person vs the extreme ugliness of the alleged crime. I don’t know. All I do know is that I feel powerless to control these thoughts, and there is an amazing physical warm sensation when I think of him, something akin to love
That dichotomy is undoubtedly one of the reasons the case has attracted worldwide attention, as well as a following among the young and bloggy. A cursory Tumblr search unearths a host of Luka Magnotta fan blogs devoted to chronicling the trappings of his Internet persona. One user, “lmagnotta,” echoes Ms. Mancini’s excuse for her fascination, writing, “I don’t think I’m smitten, more so just interested. Interested in the case and Luka’s past.”
Others take a more lighthearted tone towards the alleged murderer: one GIF, posted on the blog “Olivia Magnotta,” shows Mr. Magnotta with a crown and lipstick Photoshopped on him above the sparkling text “Don’t hate me coz I’m beautiful.”
“Luka is now kawaii as fuck,” wrote Olivia Magnotta.
A few weeks ago, Canadian broadcaster Scott Simpson interviewed Ms. Mancini on his radio show, and found her to be “the smart kind of nuts.” She herself seems stunned by her own fascination with Mr. Magnotta, quick to acknowledge that logically her obsession makes no sense, but that for some reason she can’t stop herself.
“I’ve never created a blog before in my life,” she told Mr. Simpson. “But these thoughts are taking over my life and there’s nobody, I can’t tell people in real life. I talk about the case but I can’t talk about the way I feel about it so I had to create this blog to put it out there.”