Time again for Way Back Wednesday hosted by A Well Read Woman. This meme is usually about those books we’ve read that have had a big impact on us or were memorable. But this week, I’m going to go off script a bit and share my memories of a short film that, quite frankly, scared the tar out of me as a young viewer.
The film in question is called Recorded Live and it aired on HBO between movies back in the early 80’s. (They also aired music videos back in the time before we had MTV. I recall watching the video to We Are the World on HBO. Yes, I’m old.)
I believe I only saw the short film once but it was enough. I didn’t recall much of it, beyond the fact that our hero is on the run from what I thought was reel to reel tape. It chases him all over a deserted building and eventually catches up to him. He’s enveloped in the tape and eaten. The tape then rolls back onto the reel and giggles, waiting for its next victim.
For many reasons, this little eight minute film bothered the fire out of me. In my memory, it was creepy, dark and scary in a way I imagined Stephen King books would be when I first came across them years later. The image of the guy being eaten up by the tape was, quite frankly, disturbing.
Fast forward many years later and thanks to the power of Google and YouTube, I found the short film and watched it again. Looking at it now, I can see it’s meant to be a funny little homage to horror films. I watched all eight plus minutes of it a few weeks ago and I haven’t had any nightmares of being pursued by video tape (turns out it was film pursuing the guy, not audio tape). I admit I feel a bit silly at having been so scared of it back then (and for years in between) seeing it now.
I will admit I am fascinated by the film now. The idea of some kind of evil contained within the tape — and one that lures people into a trap so it can feed on them. It’s kind of weird, wild and disturbing stuff. You can see why this might mess with the mind of a kid under the age of ten.
I’m including the YouTube version of the film below so you can check it out for yourself.