In Knives Out, investigators were trying to watch a video cassette of a security camera. It suddenly (maybe with a little help) caught fire and went out of order.

How was this achieved by Marta or was it just by mistake/luck? Was it tampered with before the investigators came and by who?

  • It ejected the tape and smoked a bit - I wouldn't say it caught fire. It wasn't tampered with since no-one knew Marta had been caught on it other than her.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 16:04
  • @iandotkelly how the incriminating part got ruin?
    – Ori Marko
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 16:59
  • 1
    It wasn't ruined by the machine ... she took a fridge magnet and rubbed it over the cassette while she was walking with it. You see her pocket the magnet as she hands the cassette back.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 17:35
  • I do think we are meant to assume that Marta did something to eject the tape. She's seen playing with the controls of the player as they fast forward the tape. It's not clear what though.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 17:37
  • It doesn't matter the VCR smoke or not at that time. The smoking thing only bring more tension to the film.
    – jw_
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 4:05

1 Answer 1


While she was holding the Play and Fast-Forward buttons, we are explicitly shown that Marta hits the Eject button. This is when the tape ejects and the player starts smoking, which the security guard blames on the VCR. That act doesn't necessarily damage the tape in any way, but Marta takes the tape out and holds onto it, and we see later that she also takes a fridge magnet from the security room. After Wagner takes the tape from her, we see her put the fridge magnet back into her coat, implying that she used it to wipe the footage (The security guard indicated in the prior scene that a magnet would destroy the tape footage).

  • 1
    That's a good answer, just why player starts smoking?just by mistake/luck/intentional damage/unknown?
    – Ori Marko
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 14:50
  • 2
    The security guard indicates that the smoking tends to happen for the VCR from time to time. It is presumably a mix somewhere of Marta doing something that the player isn't meant to do, and the player itself being old and having problems, but we aren't told any more explicitly than that. The VCR was definitely not likely to be sabotaged ahead of time or anything like that, since Marta didn't know she'd been caught by the security camera (She'd forgotten when Harlan told her to turn). And nobody else had a reason to sabotage it.
    – Mr Nick
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 15:10

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