Seven Days

Did hear about the cursed video tape that will kill you in seven days?

Supernatural movie fans will remember the blockbuster The Ring, which starred Naomi Watts as a no-nonsense journalist named Rachel. This 2001 movie broke the barriers between Eastern and Western supernatural thrillers, and created a strong Eastern horror fan base in America.

The Ring begins with two girls laughing, but the laughter grows silent as they start to discuss a “cursed videotape.” If you watch the tape, you’ll die in seven days. Believe it or not, the cursed videotape is not a unique plot device. It’s an urban legend that’s been around since the 1970s. Long before The Ring, the cursed video tape was a popular urban legend.


The Story

A group of high school girls held a slumber party one weekend, and decided to rent a movie. They couldn’t find anything that interested them, so they decided to ask the clerk. The girls ask the saleslady for her recommendation. She said she had just the video, if no one else had checked it out. The girls noticed a blank VCR tape lying on the counter and asked about it. The employee stated it was a homemade movie and not for rent.

The saleswoman couldn’t find the tape behind the counter, so she went to check in the other room. One of the girls slipped the homemade tape in her purse when no one was looking. The clerk emerged with the tape, and the girls checked it out.

They arrived at the house, when the thief revealed her handiwork. The other girls ridiculed her for stealing, but they were all curious as to what it contained. They inserted the video into the player and the power went out… except for the television and VCR.

A homemade video played live footage of a black woman being burned at the stake. Those burning her are loudly accusing her of practicing witchcraft. The woman shouted a curse that everyone who watched her suffering would be dead within two days. She claimed they would die in the same manner she did.

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


The History

Variations of the urban myth sometimes describe the girls as being 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 stories.

  • Christopher Fowler used one in Rune, in 1990.
  • The 1983 movie Videodrome, had a secret videotape that gave the viewer a hallucination-inducing brain tumor.


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