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The Disturbing Urban Legend Behind Luther: The Fallen Sun's Red Room

"Luther" is about more than just keeping Idris Elba busy in between interviews where people ask him if he's going to be the next James Bond. It's also about terrifying viewers with "Black Mirror"-meets-"Sherlock"-type storylines about how someone real nasty is gonna get 'em.

"Luther: The Fallen Sun" is no exception. The detective's first feature-length adventure pits him against sensationally wealthy internet weirdo David Robey (Andy Serkis). While most rich internet weirdos are content to hang out all day playing Club Penguin or owning Amazon, Robey occupies himself with a more visceral hobby: Torturing people to death on a live stream from his Norwegian murder office, AKA "The Red Bunker."

"The Red Bunker" felt a little familiar to a certain sect of nerds with a taste for creepy urban legends, thanks to stories about "Red Rooms" that have been circulating on forums for years. The concept is pretty much beat-for-beat the same as the one from "Luther: The Fallen Sun." With the right connections and access to the dark web, enthusiasts can check out live webcam videos of people getting all messed up in a Red Room, a cozy little sadism nook with, presumably, pretty decent wi-fi. Is it real? No. But could it be real?

Also probably no.

Luther's Red Bunker is awfully familiar

First, some context:

According to the folks over at Digital Spy, the legend of "Red Rooms" is a sort of legacy hybrid of two online scary stories, and sadly, neither one of them is Candyman. The first is the great snuff film freakout: The Reagan-to-Clinton-era assertion that there were videotapes of murder and torture making the rounds. Maybe you'd never seen one, but your cousin totally did, or at least he knew someone who did, and so on. The second was an urban legend from Japan, in which a computer virus would drive folks mad — quite mad — and cause them to splatter their insides all over their outsides, turning their rooms all red in the process.

Like their predecessors, stories of Red Rooms tend to be heavy on colorful imagery and light on receipts. The lack of evidence isn't a coincidence. Digital Spy goes on to point out that the dark web, while great for buying and selling exotic fish, isn't really built for Zoom meetings. There are technical limitations that would keep any would-be movie monsters from live streaming. 

Skipping the dark web and just murdering someone on Facebook Live, meanwhile, wouldn't just mean getting caught, it would also mean getting locked out of your account and never getting to see any of those hilarious Minions memes that your mom shares ever again. The cost is simply too high.