The Luigi Death Stare Explained

Mario Kart 8 Road Rage set the Internet Ablaze

Luigi doesn't just want to beat you; he wants to destroy you. Rizupicorr

The Luigi Death Stare is an internet meme based on the angry expression of one of the playable characters in Mario Kart 8.  The meme was inspired by a short video clip from the game in which Luigi glares at an opponent he is passing while the Chamillionaire song Ridin' plays.

The Beginning of the Luigi Death Stare 

Mario Kart 8's racers have inexpressive faces, but somehow, Luigi's generally dour expression takes on a disturbing malevolence as his head slowly rotates to watch a competitor go by.

This was discovered soon after the game's release by a gamer playing with MK8's highlight-reel feature, which allows you to replay and share races.

The player uploaded a video to youtube, Waluigi vs. Luigi 1, that was a slow-motion clip from the game in which as Luigi passes Waluigi the camera zooms in on his look of apparent loathing. When the same video, set to music and titled "Luigi Ridin' Dirty - Death Stare in Mario Kart 8,"  showed Luigi glaring while Chamillionaire sings, "They see me rollin'/They hatin'/Patrolling/ They tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty," it tickled the Internet funny bone, resulting in millions of views for the 24-second clip. The Luigi Death Stare was born. 

The Craze

Within a few days of Mario Kart 8's release, a LuigiDeathStare forum was created on Reddit, gaining far more subscribers than Reddit's Mario Kart forum. Subscribers contributed links to both straightforward videos and animated gifs from the game as well as edited takes and weird take-offs.

The meme was so popular that it even made FOX news. This was a considerable surprise to the original "Waluigi vs. Luigi 1" uploader, who drily notes in the video's description: "Somehow this started a meme. I'm so sorry."

The Mechanics of the Death Stare

Luigi is not actually making an angry face. The Death Stare phenomenon is simply a result of the way characters in the game turn their heads and their eyes in order to stare at passing characters they have just attacked or been attacked by.

Luigi's expression could probably most accurately be described as one of concentration, but when using the highlight-reel features' ability to play races in slow motion, these neutral expressions and smoothly rotating heads become hostile and arrogant.

Oddly enough, Luigi is not actually the angriest looking racer in MK8; that would be Wendy O. Koopa, who keeps a remarkably hostile expression on her face at all times, whether she's passing by or just waiting for the race to begin. Perhaps Luigi became the center of the meme simply because he generally plays an affable and somewhat inept sidekick for Mario. You expect a Koopa to throw you a dirty look, but Luigi's hostility is surprising. It is the mild-mannered milquetoast revealing the rage buried deep within. He really looks like he wants you dead. 

The Experience

If you'd like a solid Death Stare experience, one YouTuber made a Ridin' video entirely out of Luigi confrontations. Enjoy.