Did hear about the cursed video tape? If you watch it, you’ll die in 7 days.

Fans of supernatural movies will remember the mega-blockbuster Ring that starred Naomi Watts as no-nonsense journalist, Rachel. This 2001 movie broke the barriers between Eastern and Western supernatural thrillers and launched a strong Eastern horror subculture in America.

Ring begins with two girls laughing, but the laughter grows silent as they start to talk about a “cursed videotape.” If you watch it, you’ll die in 7 days. One of the girls is Rachel’s niece, and the investigative reporter is pulled into a search for answers that not only threatens her life, but the life of her son.

I would highly recommend the movie to fans of the supernatural, but believe it or not, the cursed videotape is not a unique plot device. It’s also an urban legend that’s been around since the 1970s.

Before the Ring , the cursed video tape was a popular urban legend. The general storyline is this:

Collected from the Internet:

A group of high school girls has a slumber party one weekend. They decide to go rent a video. When they arrive at the rental place, they can’t decide on what they want to watch. They decide to ask the lady at the desk.

The group asks the woman what they should watch. She has just the video they need, if she can find it. The girls notice a blank tape laying on the counter and ask her about it. The employee states that it’s a homemade movie and not for rent.

The employee can’t find the tape she wants to give them at the counter, so she goes to the back to check. While she is in the storage room, one of the students steals the tape. The clerk emerges and takes the girls to the cash register.

They arrive back at their house and the thief reveals her handiwork to the others. They ridicule her for wasting her time and stealing the tape, but they are curious as to what it contains.

They insert the video into the VCR and the power goes out… except for the television and VCR.

A homemade video plays live footage of a black woman being burned at the stake. Those who are burning the woman accuse her of practicing hoodoo. The woman shouts a curse that everyone who watches her suffering will be dead within 2 days. She claims they will die in the same manner she does.

Within 2 days, all the girls who watched the tape are dead. One died, burned alive, while swimming in a pool. Another died while ice-skating at a local rink.

Variations of the urban myth will sometimes say the girls are in college. Sometimes they steal the tape, thinking it’s going to get the clerk in trouble, and they can blackmail her. No matter their age or intent, however, the outcome is always the same.

The infamous “cursed video tape” has been utilized as a plot device in several mediums.

  • Christopher Fowler used one in Rune in 1990.
  • The 1983 movie Videodrome also had a secret videotape that gave the viewer a brain tumor that caused hallucinations.

 

 

 

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