Was alleged Canadian “psycho killer” Luka Rocco Magnotta inspired by Hollywood? That’s a growing question fueled by multiple clues surrounding the grisly murder of a Chinese student.
The fact that Magnotta — a porn actor — allegedly filmed himself killing and dismembering 33-year-old Lin Jun (林俊), and made a series of other online videos, further suggests a fascination with film.
A chillingly direct Tinseltown link is also being probed: Canadian police say they are studying whether the 29-year-old could have been responsible for a grisly killing near the iconic Hollywood sign.
The head, hands and feet of 66-year-old Hervey Medellin — dismembered like the Chinese student — were found in the Hollywood Hills in January, on a hiking trail leading up to the sign.
Police “know that Magnotta was on the US west coast” at about the time of the killing, Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere said on Thursday, adding that it was not clear if he stopped in Los Angeles or another coastal city.
Movies referenced by Magnotta in his various online appearances include American Psycho and Basic Instinct, while Brad Pitt’s head-in-a-box scene in Se7en also springs to mind.
The music playing in the background of the horrific Montreal murder video — easily viewable online as recently as this week — is from the 2000 serial killer movie American Psycho.
In the film, a wealthy New York banker, played by Hollywood A-lister Christian Bale, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from co-workers and friends as he acts out gratuitous fantasies.
They climax in a notorious scene in which Bale’s character uses an axe in the frenzied slaughter of a colleague, set to the Huey Lewis and the News song It’s Hip to be Square.
In the video, Magnotta appears to be filming himself on the night of May 24 to May 25 killing Lin with a pickaxe, to a soundtrack of New Order’s True Faith, which plays over the opening credits of American Psycho.
One of the videos of Magnotta which has surfaced since the slaying became public is entitled “Luka Magnotta Official Theme Song,” and is set to the tune of True Faith.
There is also a chilling similarity with Oscar-winning 1992 movie Basic Instinct starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone.
The movie opens with a graphic sex slaying, where the killer and victim — tied up on a bed, like in the alleged Magnotta video — have sex before the victim is slaughtered with an ice pick.
In another telling link, the -Canadian is reported to have used the pseudonym Tramell when boarding a Berlin-bound bus in Paris — the same surname as Stone’s character in Basic Instinct.
The idea that Magnotta may have been inspired to kill by movies is hardly new: The life-imitates-art copycat theory is widely cited for a murderous spree by two Oklahoma teenagers in 1995 after watching Natural Born Killers.
In that case, writer John Grisham was a friend of one of the victims and accused director Oliver Stone of being irresponsible, arguing that filmmakers should be held accountable for their work when it incites violent behavior.
Magnotta was arrested in Berlin on Monday, after being spotted in an Internet cafe reportedly looking up online articles about himself following a 10-day international manhunt.
German prosecutors said on Thursday he would likely be extradited back to Canada by the end of this month to face charges of murdering Lin, believed at one point to have been his lover.
Various parts feared to be of Lin’s corpse have been found — his torso in a suitcase near Magnotta’s home, and hands and feet sent to Canadian politicians and two schools. Police believe Magnotta may have eaten some body parts.
The head has not yet been found, fueling speculation it is still in the mail.
Some have linked the killing to the 1995 movie Se7en in which Pitt and Morgan Freeman play two detectives hunting a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.
The film ends with the grisly discovery of a head in a cardboard box.
In the real-life case of the decapitated head found near the Hollywood sign, Los Angeles police are said to be cooperating with their Canadian colleagues in investigating whether Magnotta could have been involved.
In Montreal, Lafreniere said police were tracing Magnotta’s movements at the time.
“We know that our suspect [Magnotta] was someone who traveled a lot. We are trying to retrace his route, see where he went. It’s not easy,” he said.