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 »

Have you ever flipped your TV to a movie and been delighted it was one of those presentations with facts that pop up on the screen? If so, you might want to know about a new site just launched that provides that sort of presentation all the time.

The site is called Yeah! and is run by AMC Networks, which own AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and IFC Films. Basically, the site allows you to stream movies like Scream, Reservoir Dogs, 300, The Terminator, Clerks, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pulp Fiction, and This is Spinal Tap. Along with each film are 400-500 pieces of new, original context and facts that appear on the screen during the film. Check out a video and read more below. Read More »

The horror genre is obviously great for instilling lifelong phobias in little kids or giving your date an excuse to snuggle in closer during the scary bits. But did you know that all that terror can also do wonders for your waistline? So claims one recent study, which found that 90 minutes of a scary movie could burn as many calories as a half-hour walk.

I can’t promise you that the research is scientifically sound and peer reviewed and all that stuff, so you should take the results with a grain of salt. As far as excuses to go to skip the gym and catch up on American Horror Story instead, though, you could do way worse. Hit the jump to read more and find out exactly which titles offer the best non-workouts.

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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 »

blair_witchers

It’s a couple of weeks over ten years now since The Blair Witch Project proved to be a strange freak of box office nature. Back at it’s release on July 30th 1999 the film was given a crazy leg-up by its accidentally wonderful online marketing and a public desperate to buy into something spiritual-mystical, however crazy. We also shouldn’t underestimate the voracious appetite of the dedicated horror audience, of which I would suppose I am a member, and our never-ending desire for something new, fresh or exciting.

The sequel, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, was an entirely different beast to the original, eschewing the Last Broadcast-style handicam aesthetic for something in the vein of classical narrative film stylings. Personally, I thought it was conceptually a far more exciting film than the first though somewhat hampered by its lackluster realization. I do still relish the irony, though, that this second film was directed by Joe Berlinger, typically a maker of documentaries.

So, which way would a third Blair Witch film go? Back to the faux-doc approach of part one? Or further into the potential of ‘traditional’ film language?

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Filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez would like to release an extended director’s cut of The Blair Witch Project, but Lionsgate isn’t interested.

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