Several years back, I used to work part-time at the local video store in our small town. We weren’t a large chain store, but privately owned. A small store like those old places you used to see all the time that sold porn magazines and videos.
Of course, our store was no different. At first I was a little nervous working there, but I soon got used to it. It was one of those stores where the posters had been stuck to the glass for so long that they’d faded and lost all colour.
After I’d been working there for a while, one of my colleagues who’d been working there for years said to me, “Hey, you ever seen this video?” He showed me an old VHS with an image of a girl in school uniform on the front.
To tell you the truth, I had seen the video before. Not the contents, but it was popular with the customers who often borrowed it. I’d seen it come and go so many times that I remembered it easily, and I used to think it was strange that such an old porn film was so popular with customers even now. I wondered if maybe the older customers didn’t or couldn’t watch DVDs instead.
“Oh yeah, that one. A lot of people seem to borrow it. Is it famous?” I asked.
“Right?” he said. “I haven’t seen it myself. Maybe it’s a sleeper hit that no-one knows about yet. Do you wanna borrow it and watch it together sometime?”
To be honest, I wasn’t that interested in it, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to watch an old film once in a while, so I agreed.
I went to my colleague’s house two days later to watch the video in question. Although, as I suspected, it was boring as hell. I mean, it was so old. There was a story, I guess, with some delinquent getting into fights and making out with his girlfriend, but it was very 80s. The girl wasn’t even good looking, and I had no idea why the video was so popular.
“Wow, it’s even more boring than I thought,” I said and we fast forwarded through it. Before long the scene suddenly changed, and something on screen drew my attention.
The camera shook like a handheld, and a young boy was running desperately from it. He looked Southeast Asian, and his leg had already been injured by something. The cameraman caught him and then hacked him to pieces with a small machete. At first the kid screamed, but then he soon fell quiet.
“Huh? What the hell is this? A horror film? All of a sudden?” my colleague said.
“Looks like someone recorded over the film halfway through,” I replied.
“Shit. What the hell. There’s no way this could be real, right…?”
The scene continued, focused on the remains of the kid who’d been hacked to death. I couldn’t look at it any longer, so we fast forwarded through the rest. Then, about 10 minutes later, the tape changed back to the original film.
Neither of us knew what to do. “Is this for real?” “It’s an actual snuff film!” At some point we realised that the customers who were borrowing this film must have known about it. We considered calling the police, but in the end we didn’t. It didn’t look like it was filmed in Japan, and judging by the quality and the age of the VHS itself, it took place several decades earlier, at least. Plus there was still a chance that someone was just playing a prank and had recorded over it with a real horror movie instead.
I quit my job not long after, and I don’t know what happened to the video after that. Several people came in to borrow it in the brief period before I quit, and nobody ever once complained about the contents of the video. To tell you the truth, there were several videos that looked dull on the outside, but people borrowing them with surprisingly regularity. I was too scared to ever check any of them for myself though.
I still hear the screams of that boy as he was being attacked in my nightmares, even now.