The Blair Witch Project

It’s hard to overstate the impact of The Blair Witch Project. These days, movies like it are a dime a dozen. Online viral marketing? Pretty passé. But fifteen years ago, a found footage movie marketed primarily through the Internet was not only radical, it was revolutionary. On a budget of just $25,000, the film grossed $250 million worldwide, making it the most profitable film in the history of cinema.

For those of us who were lucky enough to be a part of it, the impact of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez‘s film is a door into our own pasts. For those who may not have been there — who didn’t experience lining up for screenings and the confusion over what was real and what wasn’t — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has created a short little documentary about how The Blair Witch Project changed movies forever.

Below, watch a video about The Blair Witch Project history and read a first hand account of what it was like on the ground floor. Read More »

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1999′s The Blair Witch Project wasn’t the first film ever to utilize the found-footage format, but it definitely went a long way toward popularizing it. Since then we’ve had more found-footage horror movies can we can count, and it’s only very recently that the trend has shown any sign of slowing down.

All of which means that any film in the format released today is gonna have to work a bit harder to feel fresh. Even if it’s by the guy who helped make the subgenre what it is in the first place, Eduardo Sánchez. The Blair Witch director is back this fall with the found-footage Bigfoot movie Exists, and it feels, well, like a lot of other things that have copied Blair Witch in the past 15 years. Watch the Exists trailer after the jump.

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I liked the original V/H/S because it was a small, weird collection of shorts. The sequel, V/H/S/2, is bigger and much more bold than the first, with bigger scope and some ideas that are far more weird. It doesn’t have quite the same sense of intimate disquiet, but it has some much more monstrous action. The chapter co-directed by The Raid director Gareth Evans is worth the price of admission alone.

We saw a red-band trailer not long ago, and now there’s an all-ages look at the film. This one is good for those who don’t want to see too much of the film’s gore before sitting down to the actual movie. The beats in this trailer are pretty similar, but because it can’t go all-out with the nasty stuff, there’s a restraint with respect to spoilers. If you just want to get a basic idea about the film, this one is the way to go. Read More »

‘V/H/S/2′ Red-Band Trailer: Blood and Mayhem

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Anthologies of any kind run the risk of unevenness, just because they’re composed of so many disparate parts. But the red-band trailer for V/H/S/2, at least, looks consistently terrifying. It’s two minutes of great, gory scares, with tons of blood and a smattering of nudity — which means, yes, that it’s very much NSFW. Watch at your own risk, and get an eyeful of some new pics, after the jump.

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Whether you like to be scared, grossed out or just made to scream at the top of your lungs, you’re going to love S-VHS. The film, a sequel to 2012′s VHS, once again is an horror anthology, loosely linked by the story of a two people watching random VHS tapes, all of which include some of the most horrifying, disgusting and terrifying imagery imaginable, all from different talented genre directors.

Directors Gareth Evans (The Raid) & Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre), Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch ProjectLovely Molly) & Gregg HaleJason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun), Adam Wingard (You’re Next, A Horrible Way To Die) and Simon Barrett (You’re Next, A Horrible Way To Die) have taken the formula from the first film, streamlined it and pushed the envelope even further. What remains is not only a horror anthology better than the original, but proof positive this franchise has some serious legs.

After the jump, watch our video blog review which contains no spoilers. Read More »

The horror anthology is alive and ready for round two. V/H/S 2, a sequel to this year’s horror hit V/H/S, has just been announced. The film will retain the same producing team (including the people behind Bloody Disgusting) and at least one of the original directors (You’re Next director Adam Wingard), but most of the creative roster is brand new.

At the top of the new list is Gareth Evans, the director of The Raid, who’ll co-direct a segment with Timo Tjahjanto. Also directing for the film is Eduardo Sanchez, a co-director of The Blair Witch Project, who’ll co-direct his V/H/S segment with producing partner Gregg Hale. They’re joined by Jason Eisener (Hobo With a Shotgun) and Simon Barrett, Wingard’s writing partner who’ll be making his directorial debut. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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No, the guy who co-created Facebook does not have anything to do with The Blair Witch Project. That’s Eduardo Saverin. Eduardo Sanchez is the guy who co-created the horror genre as we know it and the fact that more people today probably know Saverin than Sanchez is kind of insane.

Sanchez, along with Daniel Myrick, co-wrote and directed The Blair Witch Project, the 1999 blockbuster that changed the face of movies forever. It not only ushered in a mega-low-budget model of filmmaking, it was one of the earliest examples of online viral marketing and, of course, begin a trend of found footage films that’s still going strong twelve years later.

Unfortunately, after the $250 million smash hit, Artisan bastardized the property with Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which had very little to do with the original and was only a moderate success. Sanchez and Myrick have been sitting on their own Blair Witch sequel idea ever since and, in a new interview, Sanchez says “We’re as close as we’ve ever been to making it happen” but that it’s all up to Lionsgate, who now owns the rights.

After the jump, read more of Sanchez’s quotes and reminisce about the legacy of The Blair Witch Project. Read More »

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