Reaction videos

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Reaction videos (blue) and screamers (red) in analytics.

After the end of 2005, screamers and shock sites gradually transitioned from sending chain mails to reaction videos where people recorded themselves reacting to videos, animations, and more. This idea was intentionally made for people to record themselves getting scared or horrified by screamers and shock sites. These are very popular on many video-sharing sites, such as YouTube. In other words, screamers and shock sites are the first kick-starters to ever take off the trend. This article is about the history of how it happened.


In summary, reaction videos are a type of online video content where individuals or groups of people record their live reactions while watching a particular video or media. These videos have become increasingly popular on various social media platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch. Creators of reaction videos react to viral videos, music videos, movie trailers, and other content. The popularity of reaction videos can be attributed to their ability to elicit emotional responses from viewers and serve as a form of social commentary. Reaction videos come in different styles, ranging from over-the-top reactions to more analytical commentary. Some creators prefer to react in an exaggerated manner, while others provide more thoughtful and insightful commentary. Reaction videos can serve as a way for viewers to experience a video without actually watching it themselves, allowing them to see how others perceive the content. Despite their popularity, reaction videos have also faced criticism for their lack of originality and potential copyright issues. Some creators may use copyrighted content without permission, which can lead to legal issues. Additionally, some people view reaction videos as unoriginal, as the creators are simply reacting to someone else's content rather than creating their own.

In screamers

Reaction videos with screamers are a subgenre of reaction videos that involve tricking viewers into thinking they are watching a harmless or amusing video before suddenly showing them a startling image or loud noise, often called a "screamer". The purpose of a screamer is to shock and scare the viewer, often resulting in exaggerated or comedic reactions from the person watching the video. Reaction videos with screamers gained popularity in the early 2000s with the rise of internet pranks and viral videos. These videos often follow a formula where the person filming themselves reacts to a video or image on screen, while the viewer can see the same video or image. The viewer is led to believe they are watching a normal video, but at a specific moment, the video cuts to a startling image or sound, such as jump scare or a loud noise, often accompanied by flashing lights or other visual effects. This sudden change is intended to startle the viewer and evoke a reaction, which can range from shock to fear to laughter. Creators of these videos often use a variety of tactics to lure the viewer in with a seemingly innocent clip, such as a cute animal video or a funny prank, before building up tension with ominous music or a countdown. The tension is then released with a sudden jump scare, usually accompanied by a loud scream or other startling sound effect. These videos often feature people's reactions to the screamer, including screaming, jumping out of their seats, or throwing their devices in fear.


The use of screamers in reaction videos has been around since 2002, with the first known example being "What's Wrong With This Picture?" One of the earliest reaction video featured a blonde woman trying to find the problem with the image before an eyeless woman suddenly appeared with a loud scream, scaring her away. This video was even featured on America's Funniest Home Videos, with host Tom Bergeron reacting to the screamer as well.[1] As time passed, numerous screamers were featured on the show and even prompted a screamer reaction contest held by Jeremy Winterrowd in 2007, titled "Winterrowd Prank Contest". The contest invited people to record their reactions to one of his screamers and submit them to Jeremy. The submissions chosen by Jeremy were uploaded to the contest's channel, prankcontest, where they were publicly voted on by viewers. The winner of the contest received a $100 cash prize.[2] More recently, a lost screamer in Super Mario 64 called the Big Star Secret gained attention in 2020 after being hunted by the Lost Media Wiki community, though the hunt eventually proved unsuccessful.[3]

The Maze reactions

Main Article: The Maze#Reactions
A video of a boy named Justice playing The Maze was the first screamer reaction that became popular online.

The first screamer reaction to gain widespread attention was that of a boy named Justice, who was playing The Maze at a desk on February 8, 2006.[4][5] After Regan MacNeil appears on the screen, the boy screams, hits the screen repeatedly, and runs up crying to his stepfather, Chad, who was recording him. The video was initially uploaded to YouTube by OUTLAW713 on February 21, 2006, but it was mistakenly attributed to CantWeAllJusGetAlong, whose version received around 32 million views at its peak. However, both videos were later removed by YouTube. Despite being the first famous screamer reaction, the most viewed reaction was uploaded by nalts on June 28, 2008, which has accumulated 43 million views to date. Even then-Disney stars Miley Cyrus and Mandy Jiroux recorded their reactions to the screamer, which they uploaded to their channel "mileymandy" and had received 7.8 million views as of November 2021.,[6][7]

On television, The Maze was popular enough to be featured twice on America's Funniest Home Videos when it was hosted by Tom Bergeron. Saturday Night Live also parodied the Scary Maze Game reactions in one episode, "I Didn't Ask For This."[8] In the skit, a man played by Bobby Moynihan is shown playing The Maze, with slight differences on the walls at the end. Shortly after, an inverted picture of a vampire woman appears with a loud scream, causing the man to scream, punch the monitor once, stand up next to the wall, and say in front of the camera, "[crying] Why, why did you do that? That's not funny at all!" The man is then shown urinating in his pants at the end of the video.

In shock sites

See Also: 2 Girls 1 Cup

Reaction videos used the 2 Girls 1 Cup trailer as one of their first topics.[9] The earliest reaction was first uploaded by fartenewt to YouTube on September 22, 2007.[10][11] The video, which features three people, has received around 15,000,000 views as of now. The channel shortly created a website,, for users to upload their 2 Girls 1 Cup reactions to the site, but it quickly went down in less than 4 months. Family Guy also parodied[12] reaction videos in one of the episodes, Back to the Woods. The episode features Brian asking Stewie to watch the shock video, which Stewie refused. After Stewie finally agreed to do so, Brian proceeds to record his reaction, which he responds to with disgust, shock, and surprise.

Shock site hoaxes have begun to appear as they use reaction videos as evidence. One of the examples is 3 Orangutans 1 Blender, a video that claimed to depict abused orangutans being tortured. The earliest reaction video of this was uploaded by Persephone Rose to YouTube on January 26, 2008. Another video was later uploaded to YouTube, by user Damonico.[13] The hoax gained attention when it was featured in one of Unnus Anus' videos, where they discuss "2 Girls 1 Cup", though Mark and Crank did not investigate further on the supposed shock video.


  2. prankcontest April 3, 2007 – via YouTube. Archived from the original
  3. "Little brother getting scared. Late reaction" April 3, 2007 – via YouTube. Archived from the original
  4. NACIÓN GAMER. (2021, October 9). "Leyendas del Gaming: Scary Maze, la broma más cruel del viejo Internet". MARCA. Archived from the original.
  5. Witney S. "Editorial: Why Your Trailer Reaction Videos Are Stupid". Crave. Archived from the original.
  6. C, J. (2008, August 3). "Miley Cyrus Coaches Mandy Jiroux In Scary Maze Game". Archived from the original.
  7. "‘El Laberinto’; juego que aterrorizó a toda una generación en internet". (2019, October 26) Elhorizonte. Archived from the original.
  8. "I Didn't Ask for This - Saturday Night Live". YouTube (August 16, 2013)
  9. Diebelius, G. (2017, February 28). It's Been 10 Years Since 2 Girls 1 Cup And It's Still As Shocking As Ever. Metro.
  10. Hester H. (2014) "Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex" (p. 50) Albany, New York: SUNY Press
  11. Middleton J. (2016) "Documentary's awkward turn : cringe comedy and media spectatorship" (p. 125) London ; New York : Routledge
  12. Diebelius, G. (2017, February 28). "It's Been 10 Years Since 2 Girls 1 Cup And It's Still As Shocking As Ever". Metro. Archived from the original
  13. 3 Orangutans 1 Blender REACTION VIDEO!!

See also

External links



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