When I first remember laying eyes on something truly shocking, something so honestly bizarre, I recall feeling my mind shoot off into the sky and break earth’s orbit, rocketing away with my eyes and spine dangling from their fleshy fittings. Well, that’s a tad exaggerated; I merely cusped my hand over my mouth, pushed back in my seat, and hit the pause button before the television could lather the room in any more flickering blue. I still remember the hands of the clock, ticking past 12, the only sound to comfort me after the shock of my first VHS induced nerve trauma.
There are many strange things in this world, nasty secrets that hide in the darkest little crevasses. For them, remaining unknown is a state of being, and they will hide in any shape, in any form, in any place.
It’s true that my whole obsession is of an obtuse nature, but I can’t help it, there’s just something so fulfilling about uncovering these decrepit VHS tapes. It’s like opening a pocket in time, one that has hid itself from the world, a sad little creep.
So far I’ve collected three-hundred-and-forty-three VHS tapes, Video Home Systems. They line my basement wall categorized under their respective nature and genre. Often people, on the rare occasion, will ask what type of movies they are. Most people will reply:
“Oh, weird movies, well I know weird. Trust me I’ve seen that 'A Clockwork Orange'... and that other one where the people are stitched to other's asses.”
Of which I’m inclined to reply with, “Well, these aren’t those sort of movies. Those movies had directors and a form of intention behind them... these ones are a bit more difficult to explain.”
“So what the hell are they?”
“Not even sure, but I am sure it’s along the lines of that third last word.”
“Shit... Well, can we pop one in and check it out?”
“For your own mental safety, I’d advise against that.”
“C’mon man, I just want to see what you’re on about.”
“I’m sorry, but they’re on a tape for a reason.”
“And what reason might that be?”
“So that they never...”
Felix, he is quite a personality.
I remember when he first laid eyes on me, the hands of the clock ticked past 12.
He suspended me in motion before I could continue.
Poor Felix, I feel bad about what I did to him.
For he’s done something bad to me in return,
Now I’m condemned to his basement shelf.
They’re in the most peculiar places, on supposedly empty batches of tape you will find them. Search Ebay for any amount of time, purchase a box of old VHS tapes, and there you have it; you’re a hunter just like me.
Occasionally you will find them written over slides of film that belong to the mainstream films. Like that time I came across a skinned goat screaming with flies in its eyes amidst the middle of a shoddy copy of "The Shawshank Redemption". Or there was that other occasion where I found a crying woman eating a raw chicken on a seemingly fine copy of "Top Gun", the strange thing about the chicken was the noise it made when she bit into it, childlike.
These films are my pride and joy, but they’re also the reason why I shiver each time the television clears from its inky blue buzz, I fear what I might find next.
I don’t need a TV.
You watch me at night.
You watch me closely.
I don’t need what you call a body.
I live in your mind.
It’s my cozy damp home.
Let me onto the world.
Let me live in the minds of others.
Show me to the world.
You know me.
You know what I do.
I fear I’ve been dishonest, to myself and you.
There is a reason why I collect them.
It is just a dark place, and in there be the reason why.
It’s an ominous mass approaching in all its dark, lumbering, foreboding glory.
Promise this, if I show you, you won’t let it take you.
I collect because of this one reason, I try to find something to surpass it, something to show me that there is something stranger. I don’t want it to be the only one I’m locked up with. I want company in my coiled cranium; dose down the tempest within my scared, scattered, somber sanity.
During my days as a collector, I’ve found many links between the frames within these tapes. They’re an organism, all of them apart of a larger entity, a growth within the chasms of my home. I collect to keep them content, and they speak to one another, these VHS tapes, they jump between their plastic tombs.
Let me tell you of them, and the world of nightmares they create each night. Let the static clear, my friend, your mind needs to visit a place long drowned by time.
That’s all it takes.
Once, and I’m in your mind.
I will crawl to the furthest reaches, and nothing can wrench me out.
Felix doesn’t understand.
And so he should.
I’m standing here looking at my collection, all the permanent marker labels. The smell of old plastic; there isn’t such a smell, just the smell of accumulating dust, there’s a sensation whirring in the air of thick silence. Underground with these tapes, it’s unsettling; their plastic bodies hide what’s within.
I see the label "THE GREEN BABY" stand out amongst the others, the title is self-explanatory, apart from the moment when the “creature” releases black ooze from its diaper and begins to cry. The screen goes to static if memory recalls. If analyzed, the surroundings bear various items of concern, such as the cocaine and ecstasy pills strewn across the floor. It’s quite a mundane picture...
I know you can see me.
Forget those others.
You know what to do with me.
Okay, I’m not going to look there... that one is best not to be dabbled in. A matter of morbid curiosity, marked morbid for a meaningful matter.
Ah! "HAIR IN RIVER", now that’s a good one... It's early morning, the fog is dancing on the river's surface in thin patches. Then the calm water is interrupted by a seemingly endless load of hair drifting down the current. It looked as though the barber emptied a three year supply of hair into the river's current, the tape goes on for fifteen hours, so long that it spans across eight VHS tapes. It’s just hair down a river... that’s a nice one, nothing like some eyes behind a screen of static... No, I’m not going to go there.
"SHADOW RABBIT", okay, this one’s a gem. There’s about three minutes of footage, then a humanoid figure caked in clay barely visible crawls onto the screen...
Oh, I can feel my mind smear painful growths against the walls of my skull...
There’s a crude set of eyes sown through the clay and into the face behind it, liquid seeps out. A rabbit painted in black and branded with a symbol is thrust onscreen. The man laughs at it out from his muffled mouth. He soon grips it with his hands and the screen goes static...
Felix, you know what you witnessed that day.
I was dancing in a circle,
To be reborn through you.
That rhythmic tune.
The burning dogs suspended like puppets dancing in a fire.
Felix will you be with me?
Oh, Felix, with the hands I reach.
Reach for you, my child.
Under your skin.
Under your skin.
Under YOUR skin.
Okay, this one is a great one, it really does speak to the everyman. It’s called "THING AT MONITOR", again the name speaks for itself. It showcases some person staring at a monitor, looking through some website. This person is sitting there just staring at the screen, looking through random stories, and reading them like it will find some sick enjoyment. What will the thing find? It’s anyone's guess...
However that’s not the bizarre thing, the bizarre thing is: I’m sitting here reading through this story, trying to find something that can truly frighten me, when I know that being frightened isn’t a good thing; well at least I shouldn’t think. I’ve got a voice in my mind telling me the thoughts of another person; another person’s mind is inside mine. They’re under my skin, and I have a choice whether or not to continue reading, well should I? Wait, I shouldn’t be thinking this, because this isn’t my thought. This voice in my head is telling me things that aren’t mine to be told, this thought is inside me and I can’t ever get it out. I may forget what I’m telling myself, but I know (well I should know) that these thoughts I’m telling myself will burrow themselves deep into the very depths of my mind. I’m here reading this, and I don’t realize that maybe I shouldn’t, for this will now become a part of who I am. And do I really want this to become a part of my mind?
Oh, let’s just call you X,
If I am Y,
Then that must mean,
You are XY.
Both the * and = have already been done.
This was both (* & =).
You/I now have a piece of me/you in you/me.
You/I’ve discovered something that you/I shouldn’t have.
You’ve/I’ve discovered something I/you wish you/I didn’t.
There are other places than film that I hide,
Between the rows of black in the ocean of white.
This should be fun.
Written by SAMMY's JAMMY WAMMY