Red Mist is a controversial real-life bootleg tape featuring an unaired episode of the popular Nickelodeon series SpongeBob SquarePants. Like the long-lost yet recently discovered "Suicide Mouse" tape, Red Mist was purportedly created by a now-imprisoned Scottish animator for the series who intended to pass the tape off as the season four premiere episode instead of "Fear of a Krabby Patty" and feature the death of Squidward.
Description of the tape
Red Mist begins with Squidward preparing to practice his clarinet in his room as SpongeBob and Patrick play merrily outside. Squidward wraps his mouth around the clarinet and is only able to play one note before being interrupted by someone knocking on the door. He walks down and opens the door and discovers that a traveling salesman is at his door. The salesman, a Scottish fish, asks if he could have a moment of Squidward's time. Squidward tells him that he isn't interested and slams the door in the man's face, walking back to his room. The salesman begins knocking again, and Squidward opens the door angrily. The salesman, looking very upset, tells Squidward that "the red mist is coming" and precedes to walk off, confusing Squidward. Squidward walks back to his room and finally begins playing the clarinet. After performing several off-key notes, SpongeBob and Patrick begin laughing outside, interrupting Squidward yet again.
Squidward walks over to the window and shouts at the two, telling them he needs to practice for a concert he will be performing at. SpongeBob and Patrick both apologize tearfully and walk back to their respective houses. Squidward, unsure of himself, walks back and begins playing his clarinet again, this time uninterrupted.
The scene then fades to red over the course of twelve seconds and, perhaps by glitch, the same scene is repeated once more which is somewhat common in rough cuts of animation. However, this time, Squidward's eyes have been replaced with new and more realistic eyes with red pupils, clearly not real but more realistic than CGI, TV or animated. The audio is also completely absent from this scene, save for occasional clicks.After the repeat of the previous scene, a new scene begins with the same red eyes, but at the theater where Squidward is playing his clarinet. The frames in the animation skip every four seconds, but the sound remains synced. After an unruly performance of a song he dubbed "Red Mist", SpongeBob and Patrick are seen in the crowd booing Squidward, very uncommon for them. The scene pans to reveal the same Scottish salesman sitting next to them, also booing, as Squidward walks back to his home with his head in his tentacles. What's odd is that the scene actually shows him walking to his house, with nothing happening in the background, for three minutes and fifty seconds before abruptly cutting to red for another twenty seconds, just as he arrives at his house.
A new scene appears, back to the original cartoon eyes, with Squidward sitting in a chair in his room that night, with a blank look on his face for roughly thirty seconds before starting to sob softly. Again, the audio is completely missing for most of the scene, until the sobbing begins. This is when the sound of a slight
breeze through a forest can be heard in the background. It also begins very mildly zooming in on Squidward's face, only noticeable if you compare ten seconds of frames side by side. The sound of him sobbing can suddenly be heard, very loudly and severe as the screen twitches in on itself briefly. The salesman's laughing can also be heard echoing in the background.
After another thirty seconds, the screen blurs and twitches violently and a single frame flashes over the screen. Upon pausing it exactly on the frame, the viewer can see a real-life photo of a deceased six year-old boy laying in the forest in his underwear, whose face has been mangled, eye has been popped, and stomach cut open with entrails laying beside him. Next to him, the shadow of the photographer is clearly visible with part of the photographer's hand appearing to the right of the screen.
After this photograph is seen, it cuts back to Squidward sobbing, much louder than before with what appears to be blood running from his eyes instead of tears and the sound of the salesman still heard. The sound of the wind in the forest is also played at a much louder volume, but now with the sound of branches snapping and the screams of a young boy heard. After twenty more seconds, another single frame appears, this time of an eight year-old girl in the forest laying on her stomach in a pool of blood, with her back cut open and entrails piled on top. The shadow of the photographer is also visible.The scene reverts back to Squidward, now with the same realistic red eyes from before, completely silent and no longer sobbing. The sound of the forest can no longer be heard. Another three seconds later and it cuts back to the sobbing, this time piercing loud and with the sound of the forest heard. The screams of both a young boy and young girl can be heard mixed together as the song "Amazing Grace" plays on both the clarinet and the bagpipes. During this, seven frames are seen in black and white of the boy from the first photograph laying in the woods. Over the course of the seven frames, the hand of the photographer reaches in and grabs the boy's entrails, as his remaining eye focuses on the man's hand and even blinks once.
It cuts back to Squidward again, this time staring at the viewer as the sound of the salesman echoes "DO IT" and "the red mist is coming" repeatedly. After forty seconds of this, the camera quickly pans out to reveal Squidward holding a realistic gun, looking as though it were Photoshopped into the scene. Squidward lifts the barrel into his mouth and fires, with blood shooting out from his head.
Delivery of the tape
On November 7, 2004, after the initial animation of the storyboards were completed in Fife, Scotland, the tape was delivered to the lead animators and sound editors at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, California during the middle of the night. The tape was taken into the editing room where it was watched by said animators and editors, as well as two sixteen year-old interns. The tape, which was supposed to feature the rough cut of the season 4 premiere "Fear of a Krabby Patty", instead began with a title card using the name "Squidward's Suicide". While thrown off at first, the animators continued watching, discovering the tape had been heavily tampered with as some sort of dark joke.
As a result, four animators (Barry O'Neill, Grant Kirkland, Jr., Alyssa Simpson and Jack Gallistan) were sent to the hospital while one editor retired (Fernando de la Peña) and one intern (Jackie McMullen) committed suicide. The tape was then sent to the police, who determined that it had been made by Andrew Skinner, a disgruntled animator from Fife, Scotland who as a result has since been charged with nine counts of murder, including the murder of the two children seen in the tape. Oddly enough, after going through the data on the VHS, police discovered that the last edit to the tape had been made exactly twenty four seconds before it was watched by the SpongeBob staff.
One copy of the tape was made (before the police confiscated the original) by Chaz Agnew, the writer of this article and the sole surviving intern from that same night. Agnew has made various attempts to distribute copies of Skinner's tape and hopes to secure clearance rights to release it on several online auction websites soon.
A Sony Betamax tape also marked "Red Mist" was discovered in a warehouse in Mideastern Canada on August 12, 2016. It was found by Marcus Andrews, who then reported it to Nickelodeon. The tape was also brought in to Chaz Angew, the intern who wrote the account from Squidward's Suicide. They had to hunt for a Beta VCR in decent condition, but they were able to find one at a nearby Goodwill. When the tape was watched, it was in poor condition. The tape was then cleaned for a few hours, and the quality vastly improved, although still quite low for a Beta, which was supposed to be better than any other videotape at the time. The tape fit exactly to the reported contents.