Danny and Michael Philippou were always getting into some sort of trouble. The pair of Australian brothers found their time best spent doing things they weren't supposed to, leaving some sort of destruction in their wake. Almost like an international version of Jackass, these boys and their friends documented all of their debauchery, with enough roof climbing, board-smashing, and wrestling-move reenactments to leave you wondering how they made it past 18. The more bruises, the better.
Even though everyone has to grow up sometime, the Philippous have found the best way to continue beating the shit out of each other and their buds. The two have teamed up with more people as crazy as them to form RackaRacka, a rapidly growing YouTube channel that brings action-packed choreography inspired by pop culture — from Mortal Kombat to your favorite comic book heroes — to life, with some special effects blood and gore thrown into the mix. Their videos, some with shotguns, others with Nerf guns, and many featuring Ronald McDonald, have earned over 1 million views apiece, with their latest masterpiece going on 7 million and counting. The group is turning mayhem into magic, and we want to know just how they're doing it.
Maxim spoke with co-creator Danny Philippou on how RackaRacka came to be, how much work goes into their videos, and what to expect in the future from the daredevil filmmakers.
You’ve been in the YouTube game for about two years now – how did it all get started?
RackaRacka was originally created just to serve as a backup for my Facebook videos. At the time I was creating a lot of content for my profile and everything kept getting stolen and re-uploaded with no credit so that's why we opened RackaRacka, to stop that from happening.
Where do your ideas come from? Is it too obvious to guess you draw from things trending at the time?
We actually tend to avoid anything that's trending. We usually make things for something after their viral buzz has ended. Mortal Kombat X came out months ago, but it wasn't until now we got the idea for the ‘Fatalities’ video. We just shoot whatever excites us at the time.
Ronald McDonald is a big player in your videos. Has McDonalds ever approached you with a serious lawsuit?
We thought that would be the case but it turns out McDonalds doesn't really care. At the end of the day, it is marketing for them, we're reaching an audience they'd never be able to reach and if you look past the fact that Ron is a women beating, serial killing, drug addicted pedophile, he's actually a really nice guy.
Your newest video, 'Real Life Mortal Kombat Fatalities,' has only been out for a week and has climbed to over 7 million views. What’s the process for creating such a gruesome video?
We were more comfortable with "crossing the line" with the violence because everybody already knew what they were in for. We were able to be as brutal as we wanted to be. This one was a bit of a longer process than usual because it was difficult finding people that we could murder and bury without their families or friends asking questions.. [laughs] No, the most important element for this video was actually the special effects, we wanted all the violence to be as practical as possible. I wrote out what I wanted to happen and then we approached our homies in the makeup field to build and apply the effects. This video wouldn't have been anything without them.
Do you recruit your friends to take a beating or is it professionals doing the work?
We've just got a lot of really cool friends that aren't afraid to take a bit of a hit. [laughs] We've worked with a stunt team for about 5 of our 40 videos, but mainly it’s just us.
You clearly have a lot of potential. Do you see yourself expanding RackaRacka to a larger scale?
The main goal here is to be making films for the cinema. All the RackaRacka projects are just practice before we’re skilled enough to take on the big leagues with both feature films and television. It’d be cool to merge both worlds though.. one day we’ll get there and it’ll be worth the wait.