Entertainment media are great tools in relieving stress and spending our free time. They allow us to see, hear, and feel the things and the emotions that helped materialize them. Some of these entertainment media are so strong and powerful that they inspire and motivate people to do all sorts of things including deadly ones. This list tells the stories of people who did terrible acts who were said to have been influenced by a song, a movie, a TV show, a book, or a game.
6) “Gloomy Sunday”
Some say that happiness is infectious, but can we say the same for sadness? Perhaps this is what happened to the people who committed suicide from listening to the Hungarian Suicide Song, “Gloomy Sunday”. The composer of the song was going through a tough breakup with his girlfriend when ‘Gloomy Song” was written. Rezso Seress was 34 years old when it all happened.
He was a Hungarian songwriter who was still finding a name for himself and when his girlfriend decided to end their relationship, Seress did not take it lightly. Together with his friend, Seress wrote a song that would channel dread and sorrow to all its listeners pushing some of them to end their lives.
One notable victim of the Suicide Song was Seress’ former girlfriend. A version of the story says that the girl poisoned herself while holding a copy of the sheet music of the song. Another victim of the song is Seress himself. He committed suicide by jumping off a building in Budapest because he feared he could never create a good follow-up song to “Gloomy Sunday”.
During the 1940’s, Britain banned the song from playing over the radio because of its upsetting lyrics. In London, a woman was said to have overdosed herself while the song was playing on repeat. A number of colleges have also banned the song because it contributed to suicidal impulses.
The song has been recorded in many versions, but it’s Billie Holiday’s version that is most definitive.
5) “My Way” by Frank Sinatra
A lot of great songs are products of actual experiences and real feelings. It’s no wonder some songs would make both listeners and singers, joyful, excited, and even suicidal. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” has some arrogant lyrics which might have caused a lot of the people who sang and listened to it to suddenly become killers. In the Philippines, many bar owners have decided to remove the song from their karaoke playlist because of fear of violence.
Most incidents would start when someone sings the song off-key or out of tune and a person from the crowd becomes seriously infuriated about it. In 2007, a security guard killed a guy for not singing the song properly. From 2000 to 2010, at least 6 people had been killed because of disagreements and conflicts that involve the song.
Another case in 2014 was sparked by a dispute on who should have had ‘their way’ in singing the song. Sammy Dacutanan Jr., 25 years old, stabbed his drinking buddy to death after they got into a heated argument over who should have taken the microphone to sing the cursed song.
4) Interview with the Vampire
We’ve established that music has the ability to let people do unthinkable things. Unsurprisingly, movies and TV shows hold that same power. On November 17, 1994, a man stabbed a woman and tried to drink her blood. It was almost like a vampire attack except the guy wasn’t a vampire.
Daniel Sterling watched a movie with his girlfriend before he attacked and nearly killed her. And the movie was, well, Interview with the Vampire.
It would be more exciting to imagine that Sterling attacked his girlfriend in the middle of the movie but that’s not what happened. The couple slept after watching the movie and about 3 AM, Lisa Stellwagen, the girlfriend, woke up to find Sterling staring at her and then spoke the words, “I’m going to kill you and drink your blood.” Again, it would be more exciting if after he said those words, Sterling attacked his girlfriend but the stabbing actually happened later in the day.
Police caught Sterling and a reporter asked him why he did it and he said he was influenced by the movie although he later adds that he doesn’t blame it and that he really enjoyed watching it.
3) Child’s Play 3
James Bulger was two years old when he died. It wasn’t an accident or some disease that killed him, he was murdered. Two days before Valentine’s Day of 1993, James and his mother were at a mall together. For a split second James’ mother turned her back and before she knew it, the boy had disappeared.
Two days later, they found little James on a railway in Walton, Liverpool, dead. His body was full of bruises, He was beaten to death with an iron bar and numerous bricks. Blue paint was also splashed on him before he was left on a railway to make it seem like it was an accident. It was a terrible event and certainly warranted a very thorough investigation.
A major discovery was made which made the crime more unsettling that it already was. The murderers were two 10-year-old boys. They had led James out from the mall and beaten him to death before leaving his body along the railway.
Investigations further revealed that the father of one of the killers had rented out the movie, Child’s Play 3 days before the crime. One notable scene in the movie is when Chucky, whose face is splashed with blue paint, gets horribly mutilated under the wheels of a train.
Have you ever watched a movie or a TV show and identified yourself with one of the cast? That wouldn’t be uncommon. What would be uncommon is killing somebody just because you are inspired by a character on a show. Anthony Conley who was 17 years old back in 2009 was with his 1-year-old brother on a Saturday night when the crime was committed.
Both their parents were working on night shifts. Anthony would later told the police that he had been “craving” to kill someone. He compared the feeling to having a craving for a particular food. He also admitted that he was influenced by Dexter Morgan, the main character of the TV Show Dexter, who works for the police in the morning and is a serial killer by night.
Anthony strangled his younger brother with his bare hands for 20 minutes to make sure that he was dead. He then stuffed the body inside a plastic bag, put it inside the trunk of his car, and drove to a nearby park to dispose the body. He spent the night at his girlfriend’s house and watched a film with her before going sleeping. The next day, he went to the police to confess saying Dexter had made him kill his brother.
1) Legend of Mir 3
Qui Chengwei, a gamer from China, spent a lot time playing the online game Legend of Mir 3. Chenwei got a hold of a virtual sword in the game, the Dragon Sabre. It was a very valuable item, not just in the game but also outside. Weapons and items in online games can be sold in real money but Chengwei was not looking forward to selling his sword.
Zhu Caoyuan, Chengwei’s friend, wanted to borrow the sword. Thinking that Caoyuan would only use the sword as weapon in the game, he lent it. He didn’t know that the sword was about to become a merchandise. Caoyuan had sold the Dragon Sabre and when Chengwei found out, he was not very happy about it.
Caoyuan offered to give the money he earned from selling the sword but Chengwei couldn’t be reasoned. Instead, Chengwei went to Caoyuan’s home and stabbed him in the chest while he was sleeping. Chengwei was arrested and charged with murder.