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I would like to say that as a kid I enjoyed watching Tom and Jerry; however, the channel it was available on only showed it during the daytime, when I was in school. I kept asking my mother for DVDs of the show, but she refused my request given the violent nature of the show.
Over time, my house has gotten pretty messy. We had too many items of clothing and boxes of stuff that we mostly didn’t need. My mom finally decided to clean out the house, having me help her. We got through a majority of the rooms and had garbage bags full of stuff to donate. We had one room left; the media room. While she cleaned off a desk, I attempted to clear out a closet. Removing most of the clothing revealed a stack of wooden boxes in the back of the closet.
Curious, I opened the box, revealing a collection of VHS tapes. A lot of great movies were in the collection, from classic Disney movies to the Godfather trilogy to Gone With the Wind. I kept searching through the collection until I came across something I would have never expected: a copy of Tom and Jerry’s 50th Birthday Classics on VHS! Surprisingly, the copy was unopened, still in its original case and plastic wrap.
I asked my mom, “Hey, where did this come from? I don’t remember you buying this.”
My mom then got a shocked expression on her face and hung her head. She proceeded to explain that it was a gift from my aunt that was supposed to be given to me on my 7th birthday. I asked why I didn’t ever receive this gift.
My mom then explained that shortly before my birthday, my aunt was involved in a robbery. She elaborated that two crackheads entered her home and started taking some of her belongings. My aunt woke up and noticed two men wearing sheets over their heads.
The men ran to her and beat her senseless. Her face was bloody and bruised and she had a really hideous black eye.
There was even a claim that a lock of her hair was ripped out. The men then forced her to lay down on her stomach and proceeded to behead her with a tactical axe. My aunt was discovered by my mother the next day, and she called the police. While she waited, she looked around the house for clues. On the kitchen table was a wrapped present. The tag indicated that the present was for me. Sure enough, the present was the Tom and Jerry VHS. My mom kept it hidden from me until I found it for myself.
I was horrified by the story, but I was just happy that I was able to watch a cartoon I’ve been interested in for so long! We continued cleaning and finally finished. Around 5:30 or so, my mother left to go on a date with the man who is my current stepdad.
I knew she was staying overnight, and being an only child, I had some time to myself. I played my Xbox for a while, but I was quickly becoming bored. Then I remembered my brand new VHS of Tom and Jerry. I opened the packaging and took the tape out of the case. The tape was in mint condition with the original label and rewound to the beginning.
I popped the tape in and the FBI warning came up as normal. I watched the first episode on the tape, and the nostalgia rush was intense. I hadn’t watched this show very much as a kid and the network quit showing it a while ago.
The video was rolling very smoothly and then in the middle of the second episode, the screen went black. A new title card then appeared. It had a gray background with a shadow of a guillotine and in red writing “Death of the French.”
I found this hilarious given my family’s French descent, so I kept watching. It was a normal episode where Tom, Jerry, and Nibbles were musketeers.
In the episode, the King has tasked Tom with keeping the noise down so the he could sleep; the King said if Tom woke him up, he would have Tom sentenced to death. Tom gave a saluting gesture and the King went to sleep. The episode continued as usual, but something didn’t seem right. I rewound the tape and looked closer. What I found was very disturbing.
The violence was more detailed and gory than I could ever remember it. For example, there was a part where Tom used a knife to stop Jerry from running away by holding the knife on Jerry’s tail. Instead of holding Jerry down, the knife completely chopped off Jerry’s tail and blood started dripping out of it.
It wasn’t exactly gushing, but a trail of it was created as Jerry ran away. In the next shot, his tail was back to normal. Events like this kept happening with things like Tom’s tail getting chopped off, Tom’s eye being gouged out with a cork, and even Tom being split in the half, showing photorealistic insides. At the end of the episode, the King is awoken and Tom is taken for execution.
The next shot showed Jerry and Nibbles walking down an old-fashioned French street eating sausages and cheeses when they hear the sound of a crowd chanting. The camera goes to Jerry’s point of view as he looks above at a guillotine. I was told by a friend that normally, you only saw the blade come down and heard the sound of it banging against the wood, then it cut back to the mice.
However, this time, the blade didn’t fall. Instead, the shot went to Tom being brought to the guillotine by two guards and the King. The crowd kept yelling, and I even heard phrases such as, “Kill him,” and, “We want blood!” I could then see Tom physically becoming enraged and started resisting the guards, kicking one of them in the knee. The crowd went insane yelling even louder, and the King yelled, “End it! Do it now!” Two men then appeared dressed as old-fashioned executioners, masks and all.
They ran up to Tom and proceeded to beat him into the ground. Looking closer, you could see Tom’s face bloody and bruised and even a lock of hair was pulled out. After a good beating, Tom was forced to lie down inside of the guillotine and was immediately beheaded. His body was still visible while his head disappeared into a basket.
Blood was realistically spewing from the neck; it started strong then proceeded to just drip from the neck. The next shot was a close-up of Tom’s bloody and beaten face in the basket. Tom’s eyes were blinking for a few seconds as the camera zoomed out, but the blinking stopped. The shot cut to the mice and just like in the episode, Nibbles says, “Poor, poor pussycat,” and him and Jerry continue eating and walking.
The shot went back up to the guillotine, which now had blood all over its bottom. From the basket, a spirit of Tom was rising up. The figure was bleach-white and Tom’s eyes were blank and not blinking from what I saw. The spirit rose outside of the frame, then the episode cut into static.
The static lasted for a few seconds and now the portion playing was from another episode in which Tom goes to heaven. Tom was still bleach-white and his eyes were still blank. It cut to the portion where Tom tries to sneak past the ticket collector. The ticket collector catches Tom and calls him out on the horrible things he’s done to Jerry. The ticket collector says that Tom doesn’t receive forgiveness from Jerry, he will go to Hell. When the ticket collector said that Tom would go to Hell, the ticket collector’s voice turned very deep and demonic. The voice gave me chills just listening to it.
The tape then went black, and I could hear the sound of what might’ve been Tom asking Jerry for forgiveness, but sped up. I could then hear the sound of a bell ringing very loudly then the demonic ticket collector say, “I’m sorry, Tom.” An image finally showed Tom falling down into a pit.
He was still bleach-white, but this time, his eyes were red with no pupils. Finally, Tom lands in a cauldron and he does a very falsetto, spine-chilling scream. The devil (aka Spike the bulldog with horns) starts laughing, but his original laugh was deepened and slowed down. The devil also used the pronged end of his pitchfork to shove Tom deep into the cauldron.
Instead of pushing Tom in, however, the pitchfork stabbed Tom and all of the holes created by the pitchfork were visible. Tom also appeared to have his skin progressively burned and peeled off, revealing realistic muscle and tissue underneath. I rewound the tape to the beginning and noticed that the episode started at 11:34
At this point, I’ve had to stop the video. I immediately ejected the tape and placed it in the case. I placed the case on top of the desk in the media room. I had trouble sleeping that night, so I stayed up the rest of the night playing League of Legends, hoping it would get my mind off the horrifying, childhood-ruining tape! At about 3 AM, I attempted to sleep again and succeeded. The next day, I decided to find the tape so I could finish the footage just out of curiosity.
I looked on the desk and around the media room, but I couldn’t find it. I found out that my mom donated the tape along with all the others to a Goodwill. I drove to the Goodwill, and it was already sold. It was sad that I lost such a rare tape. Fortunately, I was able to distract myself with my video games and working on projects for school that I was safe from nightmares; however, my sleep cycle was severely disturbed for about 2 months.
I was very tired and my grades dropped from A’s to B’s and C’s. Normally, I wouldn’t find something like this all that disturbing, but it was just very disturbing and creepy how similar Tom’s death was compared to my aunt’s death. The fact that the episode was set in France, my family’s country of origin, didn’t help to suppress the memories. I still picture Tom’s death in my head and get chills from it. My mom doesn’t believe me, but I am still hunting for the tape. When I get it back, my mom will see the horror for herself.