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|~ Samara taunting her victims prior to their deaths.|
|“||She never sleeps.||„|
|~ Aidan describing Samara's curse.|
She has popularised the "stringy long-haired ghost" trope in Western cinema although the trope has long existed in Japanese culture. She was portrayed by Daveigh Chase and by Kelly Stables and Bonnie Morgan in the subsequent sequels.
In 1970, a woman named Evelyn Osorio was held captive in the basement of a sexually perverted priest named Burke. Burke raped her under captivity which eventually impregnated Evelyn. Evelyn escaped captivity after eight and a half months and fled to a Christian hospital to give birth.
Evelyn soon gave birth to a baby girl named Samara, who ceased to cry and was born with strange supernatural abilities. It is unknown where these abilities came from since both of her biological parents were fully human but it was most likely that she was a human incarnation of a demonic spirit that resided within the waters, which Evelyn lived in constant fear of. Shortly after her birth, Evelyn claimed to hear voices in her head telling her that the only way to get rid of the evil spirits residing within Samara was by drowning her. Whether these voices came from her conscience or from Samara telepathically telling her to do so is unknown. Evelyn eventually decided to drown the baby girl in the fountain outside the hospital but a group of nuns caught her in the act and seized the baby away. Samara was put up for adoption whilst her mother was institutionalised.
Eventually, Samara was adopted by Anna and Richard Morgan, who were prize-winning horse breeders in Moesko Island. A book dedicated to Samara, which was written by Evelyn, was stored in the basement of the Morgan ranch despite Samara having little memory of her own biological mother. Anna loved Samara dearly as if she were own child due to her several miscarriages between 1963 to 1969 and Samara loved her back in return. As Samara grew up, she developed strange supernatural powers known as nensha, which enabled her to unintentionally burn gruesome images into her parents' minds whenever she was around.
Having no knowledge over her powers, her powers unintentionally spiralled out of control as Samara grew up. This caused her to be the perfect scapegoat by the local community who blamed her for the island's misfortunes such as not being able to catch enough fish etc. Anna also slowly became mentally unstable and insane from the gruesome images that were burnt inside her head everyday and their relationship became to sour. Living as an outcast, Samara spent most of her time alone on the swings outside the Morgan ranch. Ironically, she developed a phobia of water despite the fact that her biological father was a sea demon.
Eola Psychiatric Hospital
Anna consulted Dr. Grasnik, the local doctor, about the gruesome images in her head but being unable to help her, Dr. Gransnik referred both Anna and Samara to Eola Psychiatric Hospital. Under 24/7 surveillance, Anna was treated for depression and suicidal thoughts whilst Samara's powers were observed by a psychiatrist named Dr. Scott. During her stay in Eola Psychiatric Hospital, Samara was unable to sleep and displayed her nensha by burning images onto transparent film which Dr. Scott uses as evidence for her powers.
Dr. Scott records the psychiatric session on camera and asks Samara on how she was able to perform her powers but she gives cryptic answers such as "I see them... and then... they just... are." He also presumes that Samara doesn't truly want to hurt anyone with her powers but Samara sinisterly confesses to him that her powers are too strong and that she won't stop hurting others, indicating that she is slowly becoming psychotically insane. The recording abruptly ends on static and it was presumed that Samara killed Dr. Scott with her powers. The footage of the psychiatric session eventually becomes missing and it was probably because her parents, especially Richard, would be reminded of the pain Samara inflicted upon them. His murder was further hinted when Samara mentally compares him to be a centipede, viewing him as a pest that needed to be exterminated.
The Horse Epidemic
To prevent Samara from harming anyone else with her powers, her father Richard locked her in the upper level of the horse barn with only a TV set to entertain her. Samara struggled to fall asleep every night due to the noises that the horses made. In a fit of psychotic rage, Samara burnt gruesome images into the minds of the horses and drove them to commit suicide by causing them to jump off a nearby cliff. The mass suicide was considered to be an epidemic and the Morgans later became the centre of unwanted media attention. According to several news reports, about 36 horses were killed in this bizarre mass suicide. The horse barn was quarantined by the authorities but none of them were aware of Samara's presence. Depressed over the loss of her horses, Anna was sent back to Eola Psychiatric Hospital.
Trapped in the Well
Anna was eventually released from the hospital five days later and as a way to relieve themselves from the recent tragedies, the family decided to travel to Shelter Mountain Inn for a vacation. Whilst Samara stood besides a well in Shelter Mountain Inn, Anna finally snapped and suffocated her with a black, garbage bag and threw her down the well, in order stop her from mentally tormenting her and the horses. Anna later became horrified by her actions and committed suicide by jumping off a nearby cliff out of remorse. Meanwhile, Samara tried to crawl out of the well but broke her fingernails in the process as a stone lid slowly covered the top of the well, sealing her fate. She eventually died due to hypothermia and starvation after spending 7 days in the well. After Samara died, the horses in the Morgan ranch returned to normal but Richard decided to stop breeding them. She was about 12 years old at her time of death. Meanwhile, the rest of the citizens on Moesko Island seemed to be relieved that they won't have to encounter Samara's troubling presence ever again. Dr. Grasnik even admitted herself that "things have been better" ever since Samara's death.
Many years after Samara was thrown into the well, a set of rental cabins were built in Shelter Moutain Inn. Cabin 12 in particular was built directly above the well, where it contained a TV set and a blank videotape inside. Meanwhile, Samara returned to the living world as a vengeful ghost with long black hair concealing her hideously waterlogged face which had the ability to frighten people to death. Seizing the opportunity to unleash her murderous agenda upon humanity, Samara burnt gruesome images, mainly flashbacks of her life, onto the blank videotape.
The blank videotape was also cursed as a result of the mental transfer and it was heavily implied that her vengeful spirit resided within the contents of the videotape itself. It was highly likely that Samara intended to wipe out the entire human race by spreading the tape which was alluded during one scene in the tape where humans were compared to swarming maggots. Anyone who viewed the cursed videotape would receive a phonecall from Samara warning them that they will die 7 days after their initial viewing of the tape. The only way to survive was to copy and pass the tape to somebody who has never seen under the 7 day deadline. During the 7 days, the victim would experience supernatural symptoms of the curse such as random nosebleeds, having their faces blurred in photographs, being able to predict their own deaths, drawing images of Samara mindlessly etc.
If the victim fails to meet the requirements of the curse, the image of the well, which was also the final scene of the cursed videotape, will be suddenly displayed on a nearby TV set. Samara would crawl out of the well, walk towards the TV screen and emerge out of the screen and crawl/teleport towards her victims, where she frightens them to death via a heart attack. This causes her victims' bodies to gruesomely distort and the last moment of terror they experience when they see Samara's true face was left permanently on their faces post-mortem. It was heavily implied that Samara would emerge from a reflective surface or kill her victims in their subconscious state if there was no TV set in the victim's surroundings on the 7th day.
One weekend, a group of high school students, including Katie Embry and her boyfriend Josh and her friends Scott and Stacey, travelled to Shelter Mountain Inn for a vacation. They stayed in Cabin 12 where they planned to record a football match but this was proven to be futile due to the poor reception at Shelter Mountain inn. One of them later discovered the blank videotape and tried to record the football match with this tape. To their horror, they discovered that the cursed videotape played instead and they later receive a phonecall from Samara warning them about their 7 day deadline. They believed that it was merely a prank call but nevertheless fled Cabin 12 without paying for their stay out of fear.
Everyone Will Suffer
After 7 days, Katie pretended that nothing ever happened by inviting her best friend Becca to a sleepover at her house. Whilst switching channels on Katie's TV set in her bedroom, Becca eventually began discussing about an urban legend surrounding the cursed videotape. Katie was horrified by Becca's prior knowledge of the cursed videotape and how it has reached the status of an urban legend.
Suddenly, they hear the phone ring downstairs and both of them initially believe that Samara was calling them. However, it was revealed to be Katie's mother and after having a brief conversation, Katie witnesses the TV in the living room turn on by itself on static. She turns it off but it turns back on again on static, leading her to ultimately unplug the TV. However, Katie notices a dark shadow fleeting by the kitchen window on the TV reflection as the door of the refrigerator in the kitchen behind her opens by itself. Katie calls for Becca upstairs but hears no response. Running upstairs, Katie notices water leaking out of her bedroom, indicating that Samara has already crawled out of the TV set in Katie's bedroom and was waiting for her to meet her doom.
Opening the door, Katie screams at the sight of seeing the dreaded image of the well being displayed on her TV screen. An unseen force (presumably Samara's point of view) rushes towards her face, which causes it to bloat and distort by itself and Katie ultimately dies of a heart attack. Samara presumably places Katie's corpse into a bedroom closet for others to find whilst Becca witnesses the whole ordeal, which traumatises her to the point that she needed to be institutionalised. Later in the night, Katie's mother Ruth discovered her daughter's corpse in the room, with her mouth gaping wide open and her bloated face gruesomely distorted with fear at the exact moment of her death.
On the same night and time of Katie's death, her boyfriend Josh mysteriously committed suicide by jumping off from the balcony of an apartment building whilst Stacey and Scott were killed in a bizarre car crash. This can raise possibilities that Samara gained omnipresent abiltiies after being resurrected as a vengeful ghost, making it impossible for her victims to run away from. In addition, Samara also paralyzes her victims when they attempt to flee from her.
The Cycle of Death
Katie's death captured the attention of her aunt Rachel Keller, who was a troubled Seattle journalist. Rachel's psychic son Aidan also claimed to predict Katie's death through his drawings of Katie being buried underground days before her actual death. At Katie's funeral, Rachel's sister Ruth informed her that none of the doctors she spoke to could explain why her daughter died of a sudden heart attack despite being a healthy teenager. Rachel soon quickly realises that Katie didn't suffer from an ordinary heart attack when Ruth reveals to her the disturbing nature of Katie's corpse, particularly her face. Rachel meets Katie's surviving friends at the funeral, who suspect that the recent deaths were all linked to the cursed videotape. After looking through Katie's distorted photographs, Rachel travels to Shelter Mountain Inn and secretly watches the cursed videotape.Rachel receives a phone call from Samara warning her about her 7 day deadline, much to her dismay. She takes the tape home and shows her ex-boyfriend, Noah, a professional video analyst, the tape. Noah was initially skeptical of the curse and commented that it resembled a "student film" but nevertheless requests Rachel to make a copy for him for further study, which Rachel complies to doing. Both experience supernatural symptoms throughout the week and after Rachel shockingly discovers her son Aidan watching the tape in the middle of the night, Noah eventually believes her. They search for clues within the cursed videotape, leading them to investigate the history of Moesko Island and the infamous mass suicide of the Morgan ranch horses.
Rachel sails to Moesko Island whilst Noah searchs Anna's medical history for clues, where he discovers missing medical footage. On the ferry, Rachel's cursed presence accidentally provokes a horse into committing suicide. The horse leaps off the ferry and is horrifically mangled to death by the propellers of the ferry below. She later visits the Morgan ranch and meets Richard, who appears to be agitated after she mentions the cursed videotape and the possibility that Anna's missing daughter Samara may be responsible for unleashing the curse. Rachel also watches the missing medical footage which was revealed to be the psychiatric session between Dr. Scott and Samara in Eola Psychiatric Hospital. Richard strikes her in the head for reminding him about the horrors Samara had inflicted upon him and eventually electrocutes himself in the bathtub to end it for good.
Noah arrives in time as Rachel panicks over the sight of witnessing Richard committing suicide. They search for more clues in Samara's former room on the upper level of the Morgan horse barn, which ultimately leads them to travel back to Shelter Mountain Inn. They discover the well beneath the floorboards of Cabin 12 and find Samara's corpse, which rots when exposed to light. Rachel attempts to appease Samara's restless spirit by giving her a proper burial.
However, her son Aidan warns her that "Samara never sleeps", alluding to the neverending nature of the curse. Rachel realises that Noah is next to die as she rushes towards his apartment. Meanwhile, Noah witnesses his TV turn on by itself on static but after turning it off, the image of the well suddenly appeared on the screen. Noah shockingly watches Samara, the girl he thought would never come back into the real world, emerge from the well and crawl out of the TV screen. He tries to escape from her but Samara teleports next to him, causing him to fall backwards onto the glass shelf behind him. Bloodied and bruised from the glass shards, Noah tries to crawl away from her but Samara paralyzes him in the spot and forces him to look upon her hideously waterlogged face. Noah screams as he ultimately dies of a heart attack and Samara moves his corpse in a chair for Rachel to discover. Rachel soon realises that she was too late to save him as she discovers his gruesomely distorted corpse. Enraged, Rachel destroys the original copy of the cursed videotape at home but realises that she had previously copied the tape and passed it to Noah, hence saving her life. Rachel makes a copy for Aidan as she places the copy on the shelf of a video rental store, which could only be seen in the deleted scenes of The Ring. Since Aidan was still alive in the sequel, it was safe to assume that a customer bought the copy of the cursed videotape, watched it and was killed by Samara 7 days after.
Six months later, a subculture known as Rings, which was dedicated to the cursed videotape, has risen in popularity but this cult-like fame comes with a price as countless people across the nation are dying under mysterious circumstances in relation to the cursed videotape.
Meanwhile, an Oregon teenager named Jake, whose friends are fanatical followers of Rings, joins the subculture. His friends were curious to know what happened on the 7th day since all of them copied and passed the cursed videotape to someone who has never watched it before the 7 days passed, for the sake of not wanting to be killed by Samara. They order Jake to not copy and pass the tape to somebody else since they wanted to know what he witnessed on the 7th day.
However, Jake secretly copies the cursed videotape and passes it to his best friend Emily and tells her that the tape was merely a "home movie". To his surprise, Emily closed her eyes during her viewing of the tape, leaving Jake to be unable to fulfill the requirements of the curse. Jake accepts his defeat as he immerses in his subconscious state in the dimension of the cursed videotape. Suddenly, Samara crawls out of the well in the dimension and attacks and kills him as Emily watches and screams . Later, Rachel and Aidan move to Oregon to forget about Samara but as they try to adjust in a new state, Rachel was informed of a recent murder in a local town. She unzips the body bag of the murder victim and discovers Jake's gruesomely distorted corpse. Samara suddenly emerges from the body bag and proclaims "I FOUND YOU" as Rachel was now forced to relive the nightmare she tried to erase. Deciding to make Rachel her new mother since her previous mothers have tried to kill her, Samara possesses Aidan but struggles to emulate him. Rachel notices that Aidan is experiencing severe hypothermia and takes him to the hospital with the assistance of Max Rourke, her fellow co-worker at her new job in Oregon.
Under the possession of Aidan, Samara kills a nurse named Dr. Temple by forcing to inflict a fatal injection on herself and escapes the hosptial and arrives to Rachel's house. Max becomes shocked over how fast Samara/Aidan arrived home and tries to capture an image of Samara through the camera. Samara, however, kills Max and leaves his gruesomely distorted corpse in his pick-up truck. Rachel attempts to exorcise Aidan by drowning him in a warm bathtub, releasing Samara's spirit out of his body. Samara manages to regain entry to Rachel's house through a TV set and Rachel decides to sacrifice herself by allowing Samara to take her into the dimension of the cursed videotape. Rachel is dragged into the well and looks up and realises that the well was open the entire time, allowing Samara to freely roam in the living world. She attempts to escape the well but Samara crawls towards her in a inhumane fashion. Rachel manages to crawl out of the well and before she closes the well with the stone lid, Samara shouts in a deep, demonic voice "MOMMY!", to which Rachel replies "I'M NOT YOUR FUCKING MOMMY!". Rachel seals the well shut with the stone lid, leaving Samara trapped and all alone in the darkness of the well.
In the 2017 sequel film Rings which was supposedly set 13 years later, Samara was revealed to be alive and albeit more powerful than ever. In addition, it appears that Samara adjusts herself to the time she lives in by spreading her curse via online means.
On an airplane bound for Seattle, two college-aged passengers each discover the other has watched Samara Morgan’s cursed videotape and they realize that their seven day deadline is over. The airplane malfunctions as they attempt to flee from Samara, who eventually causes the plane to crash. Two years later, college professor Gabriel buys an old VCR once owned by one of the passengers, discovering the videotape inside. Elsewhere, Julia sees her boyfriend Holt off to college, but becomes concerned when he falls out of contact. She inspired to find him when a panicked girl, Skye, contacts her asking for Holt’s whereabouts. Julia meets Gabriel, following him to a private area of the college where a number of students are involved in an experiment involving the cursed video, watching and filming themselves, before passing the task to another person, called a “tail”.
Julia recognizes Skye, who takes her to her apartment to have her watch the video, but Holt contacts Julia, warning her not to. Julia locks herself in a side room as Skye is murdered by Samara. Holt arrives shortly after. Unwilling to let Holt die, Julia watches the video, experiencing a vision of a door, and a mark is burnt on her hand. Turning to Gabriel for help, he notices Julia’s copy of the video is larger than usual. She watches it, discovering new footage hinting at the fate of Samara’s body. Gabriel sends them to the town where she was cremated. He later realizes the mark on Julia’s hand is Braille, translates it, and goes to warn them.
Arriving in town, Julia and Holt travel to a church, exploring the graveyard for Samara’s stone. They find an unmarked tomb, but when they break in, they find it is empty. Julia and Holt are caught but are taken to a blind man named Burke, who claims Samara’s body was entombed by the local priest but a flood came shortly after, leading the town to bury her out in a field. He also notes Julia’s mark. Heading out of town, Julia and Holt are stopped due to a car crash and learn Gabriel was involved. He tries to warn Julia of his discovery but is fatally electrocuted by a falling utility pole. Haunted by the ghost of Samara’s mother Evelyn, Julia and Holt return to town.
While Holt makes inquiries about Evelyn’s fate, Julia goes to the church following her visions. She discovers a hidden chamber beneath the bell tower and finds evidence that Evelyn was imprisoned there whilst pregnant, held in captivity by the priest for over nine months after being raped before she and her newborn daughter were found. Julia visits Burke and explains her findings. He suddenly attacks her, revealing he was not only the priest but Samara’s biological father, blinding himself to escape the reach of his daughter’s powers. Julia pushes him down the stairs and is drawn to his bedroom, discovering Samara’s skeleton hidden behind a wall. Burke tries to choke her to death, but a swarm of cicadas fly in, summoning Samara through Julia’s phone. Samara then removes Burke’s blindness so she can kill him. Holt arrives, having discovered the truth, and together, he and Julia cremate Samara’s corpse.
Shortly after, Julia and Holt return home. While Julia is in the shower, Holt notices a voicemail from Gabriel, who warns him of the Braille. Holt translates it, discovering it means “rebirth”. Julia coughs up a string of hair, from which a fly is born. She gazes into a mirror and sees Samara in the reflection. Julia’s copy of the video suddenly is sent to everyone on her contact list and soon goes viral online.
Samara is notable for her child-like, disturbing lullaby which she often sings to express her misanthropic and nihilistic views. She sung the lullaby before being thrown in the well. It also can be heard in the tape.
Round we go
The world is spinning
When it stops
It's just beginning
Sun comes up
We live and we cry
Sun goes down
And then we all die
- Dr. Scott- Killed by Samara's powers.
- 36 Morgan ranch horses- Leapt off a cliff to their deaths.
- Anna Morgan (indirectly)- Leapt off a cliff to her death.
- Katie Embry- Killed directly by Samara.
- Josh Turnadot- Jumped off an apartment balcony to his death.
- Scott Monroy- Killed in car crash.
- Stacey Miller- Killed in car crash.
- Unnamed Shelter Mountain innkeeper (deleted scenes)- Killed directly by Samara.
- Ferry horse- Mangled to death by the ferry propellers.
- Richard Morgan (indirectly)- Electrocuted himself in bathtub.
- Noah Clay- Killed directly by Samara.
- Unnamed video rental store customer (deleted scenes)- Killed directly by Samara.
- Numerous (possibly thousands) of viewers in Rings- Killed in multiple ways ultimately by Samara.
- Jake- Psychically attacked and killed by Samara.
- Dr. Emma Temple- Injected air into her veins.
- Max Rourke- Killed directly by Samara, under the possession of Aidan.
- Carter- Killed directly by Samara.
- Two unnamed female plane passengers- Killed directly by Samara.
- Thousands of other plane passengers- Killed in plane crash.
- Skye- Killed directly by Samara.
- Gabriel- Electrocuted by falling utility pole.
- Burke- Killed directly by Samara.
- She is noteworthy amongst other horror villains since she wields no distinctive weapon, often kills her victims off-screen and her killing methods are purely psychological in nature rather than physical and remain completely enshrouded with mystery and speculation.
- Samara's name means "protected by God" in Hebrew, alluding to her biologically supernatural origins. Noah, the name of one of her well-known victims, was also Hebrew in origin and interestingly, a Biblical figure named Noah appears in a narrative that mainly involves a great flood (a nod to the recurring theme of water in the films). Coincidentally, the cause of this Biblical great flood includes the creation of the Nephilim, who were reportedly half-human and half-demon like Samara.
- Although Samara and Sadako are very similar and have similar tragic backstories, Samara is far less sympathetic, as she only wants to kill for the sake of being evil while Sadako sometimes displays mercy, attempted to revert to her kind-hearted self and even resurrects some of her victims.
- Another theory about how Samara kills her victims is that she mentally projects all of the images from the cursed videotape into the victim's mind all at once, causing an intense mental overload which literally causes them to internally explode, leaving their external body seemingly rotten and "dried" out as a result of the overload. This is why the victims receive a heart attack before dying, their mouths are horribly disfigured despite no sign of physical attack and a series of screenshots from the cursed videotape briefly flash moments before he/she dies.
- In a deleted scene, local fishermen tell Rachel an alternate version of Samara's beginning. They claim that Samara is Richard and Anna's biological child, and that a doctor from overseas helped them get pregnant. It is assumed that made deals with demonic forces as the fishermen tell Rachel that Richard and Anna often "messed with nature" before they finally gave birth to Samara.
- Samara's alternate fate was much more brutal than the one shown in the official film. Whilst suffocating Samara with a black garbage bag, Anna striked her head with a rock several times before throwing her inside the well.