When life imitates art: How killer Luka Magnotta was inspired by the film Basic Instinct.

This post deals with murder and animal cruelty and might be triggering for some readers.

Luka Magnotta loved movies, so much so he left home aged 16 to try to become an actor.

But there was one movie he loved more than most, one that even his mum knew was his favourite because he bought her a key chain featuring the two main stars as a present one year.

Basic Instinct is an erotic thriller, starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. Released in 1992 it follows the murder investigation of a wealthy rockstar of which Catherine Tramell (Stone) is the prime suspect.

Here’s the trailer to the new Netflix series on Magnotta. Post continues after video.

Video by Netflix

In 2012, Magnotta’s love for the Academy Award winning film was used as gruesome inspiration during the brutal murder of Jun Lin, who Luka is convicted of killing and dismembering.

The crime and Magnotta’s preceding crimes against cats which he uploaded online, are the subject of a new three-part series on Netflix called Don’t F***With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer.

It follows the investigation into Magnotta which was first started by a group of self confessed “internet nerds” who tracked him down after witnessing him suffocating two kittens on camera.

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University student Lin Jun was murdered by Luka Magnotta in 2012. Image: YouTube.

They feared he would progress to murdering people, and they were right.

And as the murder of Jun Lin unravelled, the eerie similarities to Magnotta's favourite movie were chilling. Here are the ways the killer orchestrated the murder to resemble elements from the movie.


Magnotta claimed a man named Emmanuel 'Manny' Lopez was the mastermind behind the murder of Jun Lin, and first started talking about him 18 months before the killing. He told his mum Manny was a sex work client of his that was a little bit too obsessed with him.

"Luka told me Manny would follow him, he was a stalker. He continuously moved and had changed his phone number...he would say 'I have connections you'll do what I say'," his mum recalls in the Netflix documentary.

When his mum came across one of Magnotta's cat murder videos - this time of a python being allowed to feast on a kitten - she called him straight away and he told her he was "forced to do it by Manny." He claimed Manny was selling and making money off animal torture videos on the dark web.

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Luka Magnotta's mugshot. Image: YouTube.

Detectives would later tell the court that Manny didn't actually exist, and was a figment of Magnotta’s imagination created in order to give him a defence in case he was caught.

In Basic Instinct, Catherine’s former fiance was called Manuel Vasquez… or Manny for short.

The lawyer.

In 2011, again - 18 months before the murder - Magnotta sought the services of attorney Romeo Salta.

He called him and told him he "had to see him straight away, it was a matter of life or death and he had to see me," Salta recalls.

One of the first things he said to Salta after entering his office was, "you kinda look like Michael Douglas," which is something Salta had heard once or twice before.

Douglas, is Sharon Stone's co-star in the film Basic Instinct.

Lawyer Romeo Salta and actor Michael Douglas. Image: Netflix.

Magnotta told him about the accusations against him of being a cat killer, and once again blamed Manny for the murders. He sent Salta numerous emails detailing the 'abuse' he'd received at the hands of Manny. Building up his alibi and defence long before Jun Lin's death.

The murder.

In May 2012, an 11 minute video was uploaded to a gore website. It was titled 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick and depicted a naked male tied to a bed frame being repeatedly stabbed and then dismembered. Authorities say a longer version of the film showed acts of cannibalism.


The way the victim Jun Lin is restrained on a bed, with his hands tied to the bed posts with white string, and the way the murder is carried out - with Magnotta straddling his victim - is exactly like the murder scene portrayed in Basic Instinct. 

The detailing of a poster from the 1942 film Casablanca placed directly above the bed in Magnotta's crime, is eerily reminiscent of the stain glass window placement in the movie.

Basic Instinct
The murder scene from the movie Basic Instinct. Image: Netflix.

The weapon.

In Basic Instinct, the murder is carried out with an ice pick.

Magnotta modified a screwdriver to look like the same weapon - even going as far as to paint the weapon silver.

The modified screwdriver as shown in Don't F***With Cats. Image: Netflix.

The interrogation.

In the interrogation holding room, CCTV shown in the Netflix series shows Magnotta sitting with one leg folded over the other.

He asks for a for a cigarette.

Magnotta and Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell. Image: Netflix/Basic Instinct.

In the movie, Sharon Stone's character says "killing isn't like smoking, you can quit." Magnotta uses a line almost exactly the same in a letter he wrote, which read: “Killing is different than smoking… with smoking you can actually quit.”

Magnotta's crime from the pre-planning, to the act itself, to his interrogation after the fact, was all an homage to his favourite film.

A sick twisted example of life imitating art.

During his trial, the crown drew on the comparisons to Basic Instinct, also raising the point that one of Magnotta's aliases was named Kirk Tramell - the same surname as Stone's character, Catherine Tramell.

On November 16, 2014, Magnotta was found guilty of first degree murder, and was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of Jun Lin.

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