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Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf is a comedy song portraying the actor Shia LaBeouf as a cannibal. The song inspired several photoshopped images and animated GIFs of LeBeouf after it began circulating on the microblogging site Tumblr in April 2012.
On March 3rd, 2012, musician Rob Cantor, a member of the indie rock group Tally Hall, uploaded a song titled “Shia LaBeouf” to his SoundCloud page named after the American actor. The song detailed a terrifying encounter with a blood-soaked cannibal Shia LaBeouf in the woods in the manner of in an early 1900s radio drama.
Running for your life (From Shia Labeouf.)
He’s brandishing a knife. (It’s Shia Labeouf.)
Lurking in the shadows, Hollywood superstar Shia Labeouf.
Living in the woods, (Shia Labeouf.)
Killing for sport, (Shia Labeouf.)
Eating all the bodies, actual, cannibal Shia Labeouf.
You’re walking in the woods.
There’s no one around,
And your phone is dead.
Out of the corner of your eye you spot him,
He’s following you
About 30 feet back.
He gets down on all fours and breaks into a sprint.
He’s gaining on you.
You’re looking for your car,
But you’re all turned around.
He’s almost upon you now
And you can see there’s blood on his face!
My god, there’s blood everywhere!
Running for your life
(From Shia Labeouf.)
He’s brandishing a knife.
(It’s Shia Labeouf.)
Lurking in the shadows
Hollywood superstar Shia Labeouf.
Living in the woods,
Killing for sport,
Eating all the bodies
Actual, cannibal Shia Labeouf.
Now it’s dark and you seem to have lost him,
But you’re hopelessly lost yourself.
Stranded with a murderer,
You creep silently through the underbrush.
A-ha! In the distance,
A small cottage with a light on.
You move stealthily toward it,
But your leg! AH! It’s caught in a bear trap!
Gnawing off your leg,
Limping toward the cottage,
Now you’re on the doorstep,
Sitting inside, Shia Labeouf.
Sharpening an ax,
But he doesn’t hear you enter,
You’re sneaking up behind him.
Strangling superstar Shia Labeouf.
Fighting for your life with Shia Labeouf,
Wrestling a knife from Shia Labeouf,
Stab it in his kidney.
Safe at last from Shia Labeouf.
You limp into the dark woods,
Blood oozing from your stump leg.
But you have won.
You have beaten Shia Labeouf.
-EXTENDED LYRICS FOR ‘SHIA LABEOUF LIVE’ -
Wait! He isn’t dead! Shia surprise!
There’s a gun to your head and death in his eyes.
But you can do jiu jitsu… body slam Shia LaBeouf.
Legendary fight with Shia LaBeouf.
Normal Tuesday night for Shia LaBeouf.
You try to swing an axe at Shia LaBeouf.
But blood is draining fast from your stump leg.
He’s dodging every swipe, he parries to the left.
You counter to the right, you catch him in the neck.
You’re chopping off his head now….
You have just decapitated Shia LaBeouf.
His head topples to the floor, expressionless.
You fall to your knees and catch your breath.
You are finally safe from Shia LaBeouf.
On April 18th, 2012, Tally Hall fan site Hidden in the Sand posted a link to the song on their Facebook fan page.The same day, the song was reposted to Reddit, BoingBoing and ComicBookMovie.com. The Tally Hall fan wiki created a page with the song’s lyrics as well. Within 36 hours, the song had been played more than 14,000 times. On April 29th, The song was posted on Tumblr by Sarvel with the description “I searched Shia LeBeouf in SoundCloud and found this," gaining more than 80,000 notes in 48 hours. On April 30th, the “Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf” single topic blog launched, featuring photoshopped images and animated GIFs inspired by the song.
The same day, a post was submitted to political site Democratic Underground by forum member Generic Brad, who asserted that several mentions of Shia LeBeouf on Wikipedia described him as an “actual cannibal.” Also on April 30th, YouTuber namefriend uploaded an animated music video for the song, which featured a bloody Shia LeBeouf hunting down a cartoon character with a Tumblr logo for a head. The video was shared on the viral content site BuzzFeed, Gawker, the World of Warcraft Wyrmrest Accord forums and /r/Music.
Remixes and parodies of the song have been found on YouTube and SoundCloud, where a dubstep version of the song posted on April 30th saw more than 26,600 plays in its first 24 hours. Additional images and GIFs relating to the song have appeared on Tumblr with the tag “#actual cannibal shia lebeouf.” As of December 2012, a Facebook page for “Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf” has received more than 1200 likes. There have also been dozens of questions on Yahoo! Answers asking whether or not LaBeouf really is a cannibal.
Celebrities such as Rob Lowe have even acknowledged the song, calling it “absolute genius.”
This song is absolute genius. Enjoy. http://t.co/YjUDRRKN1f— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) January 15, 2014
On October 21st 2014, Rob Cantor released a music video for a new, extended version of the song, now called “Shia LaBeouf Live”, complete with an orchestral arrangement in honor of the meme’s popularity each Halloween season. The video depicts a “live” stage performance of the song featuring a men’s chorus, children’s choir, string quartet, and interpretive dancers; some of whom adorn a giant Shia LaBeouf head. The video ends with a single audience member clapping alone in the dark auditorium. As the camera pans, we see it is Shia himself dressed in a tuxedo and mimicking the popular Citizen Kane clap.
In a Washington Post interview with Rob Cantor on May 2nd, 2012, the songwriter revealed the inspiration behind the song was “nothing but the sheer silliness of imagining Shia LaBeouf, face and clothes smeared with half-dried blood, terrorizing helpless victims in a dark wood…It was more that his name, when whispered really intensely, just made me giggle.” Cantor explains it was originally written in hopes Funny or Die “would want to use the song in a video featuring the actual LaBeouf. But that didn’t happen.”
On Halloween, 2013, Shia first acknowledged the song via a tweet saying: “You beat me. #HappyHalloween” followed by a link to the song on SoundCloud.
The Howard Cantour Theory
In December 2013, Shia released online a movie he wrote and directed called Howard Cantour.com and was immediately criticized for plagiarizing a 2007 comic by Daniel Clowes called “Justin M. Damiano” from the anthology “The Book of Other People” which was followed up with weeks of bizarre behavior by LaBeouf, most of which mocked the plagiarism claims.
But in February 2014, a fan of Rob Cantor’s pointed out that Rob’s middle name is Howard. Could the character name of “Howard Cantour” be inspired by Robert Howard Cantor, the man who wrote a song about Shia LaBeouf? It’s just a theory, but it’s certainly plausible.
washingtonpost.com – The Shia LaBeouf cannibal song: The story behind the viral track
Twitter Screenshot – A fan points out the similarities of Howard Cantour and Robert Howard Cantor