Have you ever wondered what a gun could do to a shiny new Macbook? Or what it's like to put a Barbie doll under a hydraulic press? Aside from asking yourself why you were imagining those things in the first place, wonder no longer: YouTube has you covered.
The internet has come to play host to a cultural phenomenon uniquely representative of our times: Destructive videos. That is, videos with the entire aim of showing you what destroying one thing with another thing looks like. And this is a legitimate form of entertainment.
It is almost always fun to see things blow up, which is why big-budget films spend tons of money on explosions of all kinds. Footage of a bridge being blown up is most likely found in a box-office blockbuster. That of a bridge being built, however, is more likely to be a documentary (read: boring).
That principle has been taken to its logical conclusion on YouTube. Imagine any one thing destroying another thing – like say using boiling crayons to ruin an iPhone 6 – and a video of it probably already exists. And, in all likelihood, it would have a few million views too.
Entire YouTube channels are dedicated to this phenomenon, with the creators using the funds they earn presumably from advertising to buy more stuff that they can destroy.
One such channel on YouTube is 'HowToBasic' with over 7 million subscribers.
Most videos start off with a benign enough plot, such as explaining how to fix a door. There’s nice generic music playing in the back, but things take a turn for the deranged soon enough. The video below is a demonstration of how to dry a water damaged iPhone. It has nearly 4 million views at last count.
'HowToBasic' has been around since 2011 and continues to enjoy its popularity.
This year, a channel called the 'Hydraulic Press' which started in late 2015 has become quite popular. On this channel, all kinds of things are crushed under a hydraulic press. The channel is run by Lauri Vuohensilta, a 29-year-old student and competitive powerlifter from Tampere, Finland. In an interview to Vice magazine Vuohensilta wrote: “I like to crush things just for fun and I am also quite curios to see what happens to diffrent things under the press. (sic)”
This channel’s latest video, put up a day ago, shows "exploding stuff" being crushed by the press and has already got over a million views. Vuohensilta takes requests on what should be crushed but sometimes also just uses objects lying around. Rubber duck, phone, fruit, nothing is off limits.
Here is one of a Barbie doll being crushed, it has nearly 2 million views and was among his first.
Hydraulic Press isn’t alone in finding glee in destruction, another channel, 'Tito4re' relishes pouring molten copper over things. The channel welcomed the new year by pouring molten copper over a cake.
But to be fair this channel also puts out instructional videos for anyone with access to molten copper.Around since 2007, it has about 200,000 subscribers.
'Cut in Half' is the latest kid on this twisted block. Started in February this year, here "Everyday things cut in half with a little help from a 60,000 psi waterjet." It though is a bit meek as far as this genre goes.
This video from a week ago, has about 300,000 views of a laptop being cut in half.
A channel called 'FullMag' with nearly 2 million subscribers destroys things using explosives and heavy artillery. In April last year they destroyed a $10,000 Apple watch which got the channel some media attention. The destruction of the Apple Watch wasn't just one video, there was a week devoted to destroying several watches in creative new ways.
iPhones, Macs, iPads all find their way here to be destroyed in magnificent ways.
A similar channel called 'TechRax' destroys new Apple gadgets. iPhones are a favourite target of this genre of video.
In an interview to Gizmodo, Taras Maksimuk the man behind the channel said about destroying the Apple watch, "This is one of the biggest risks I’m taking here. But my top five videos helped me earn a lot. If this can reach out that far, it’ll be worth it."
In this video, a then newly released iPhone 6 model is boiled with Coke. The video has over 22 million views.
There's also the 'Blendtec' channel that, well, blends stuff. A promotional channel for Blendtec blenders, it has nearly a million subscribers and is among the oldest, starting out in 2006. The host, Tom Dickson, makes it look like a wholesome cooking show, cracks some jokes and then gets down to work.
What's black, rectangular and turns dusty when you push a button?
An iPhone in a blender.
This video from April 4 demonstrates the joke on a brand new iPhone SE.
Not just Youtubers, photographers are also beginning to join this new art form, Deep Fried Gadgets anyone?
The driving logic here seems to be, the more coveted an item, the more views its destruction draws.
Part nerdy, part disturbing and seemingly entirely dominated by Caucasian men, this wildly popular destructive phenomenon is a lucrative space worth considering, depending on your appetite for destruction.