The scenes on social media are grisly. A body dangles out of the trunk of a sedan, dribbling purple goo. Another is draped across a basketball hoop with a net that has been stained lilac. A third splutters in a bathtub covered in dusky handprints.
The liquid splashed across these tableaus is not blood. It is an extremely purple milkshake from McDonald’s.
The social media reaction has come about in recent weeks since McDonald’s released the Grimace Shake as part of the Grimace Birthday Meal, a menu item that highlights a purple, bloblike supporting player to the brand’s signature clown, Ronald McDonald. The limited-edition beverage has become a key ingredient in a TikTok trend in which users concoct elaborate horror scenes — with Grimace as the implied assassin.
Each video begins with a TikTok user pretending to give an upbeat review of the shake. It then cuts to a shot of the person doused in the beverage — sometimes appearing dead, other times zombified — to flickering lights and eerie music.