When I tasted Grimace’s Birthday Shake this month at McDonald’s, I liked it. It was good! My only gripe was that its blueberry-blackberry flavor is a little on the mild side; otherwise, it’s a perfectly pleasant novelty. I never knew it would become the stuff of horror.
TikTok users are filming their own taste test videos of sorts (a perfectly typical use of the short-form video social media platform). But they’re not just ordering the Grimace Birthday Shake to see how it tastes. Instead, young people have evidently started a trend that takes an innocent McDonald’s promotion and turns it into a cinematic nightmare, blending absurdist humor with horror visuals. If you haven’t seen these videos yet, brace yourselves—you’re probably not ready for them.
I was first made aware of this new TikTok trend from a compilation video posted to Twitter (which has since been deleted from the platform). The gist: TikTok users are using Grimace’s Birthday Shake as sort of a prompt for a mini horror movie.
The videos usually start with something innocuous like, “Today, I’m giving Grimace’s Birthday Shake a try.” Then the subject will tip the shake at the camera and say, “Happy birthday, Grimace!”
But then there’s a jump cut, and the next shot shows the user apparently unconscious, covered in purple shake, most often pretending to be... dead. I know, major plot twist. Like something out of The Ring.
Here at The Takeout, we eat a lot of popular foods on video, but we typically do not die a horrible death at the end. I have always wanted to be in a horror movie, though. I might have to be content with the fact that I was a background actor in one of the Transformers movies, which is frankly not far off.
I do have to warn you: If you’re not into campy horror movies or absurdist humor, these videos probably aren’t for you, because they get extraordinarily dark. Fortunately, absurdist humor is one of my absolute favorite styles, so I’ve been consuming these clips with utter glee.
Popular TikTok user Matt Shaver put up a Grimace video that’s currently at 12.3 million views, and this one gets pretty dark. (Again, maybe not a great idea if horror movies really get to you.)
And yet other videos, like this one from @beansicle1, turn into a serious group effort. It begins with the classic boys’ night out, everyone drinking shakes, when all mayhem breaks loose and everyone’s convulsing in a ditch, covered in purple goo. That’s the best way to make summer memories, right?
If you want to uncover the entire treasure trove of videos, all you have to do is search TikTok for the search query “Grimace” and you’ll be able to browse the shenanigans for as long as your heart desires. There’s a lot of them.
Obviously, there’s no way on earth McDonald’s could have been prepared for a social media response like this. Imagine debuting a purple shake and a cutesy marketing campaign, then finding out all of TikTok is equating your new product with horrific deaths.
Naturally, McDonald’s put up a response video... on TikTok. The official video has words on screen that read “Meee pretending I don’t see the Grimace shake trendd,” with Grimace covering his poor innocent eyes, shielding himself from the terror of TikTok masses. The caption reads, “woww lots of peoplee r tryingg the grimace shake.” (Grimace can’t type well because his hands are big and furry.) Hey, Grimace, don’t let it get you down. It could have been worse—at least TikTok users weren’t giving themselves uncontrollable diarrhea with your shake. That would be true horror.