Wednesday, October 28, 2015

everyday is halloween

movies that scared the pee out of me: the blair witch project [1999]

much has been made, and derided, about the blair witch project that we lose sight of its extremely effective form of advertising.  the 'net was a fairly young thing at the turn of the millennium.  social media didn't exist yet.  so when the filmmakers created a website -- still up and running here -- and the mythology of the blair witch to correspond with the story of three missing film students whose equipment is recovered under mysterious circumstances they did something special.  the filmmakers use the web to amp the scare factor for a low budget horror movie.

i'm not even talking about the whole found-footage style of filmmaking that has been hugely influential on 21st century horror movies.  i mean the story of the blair witch and how that story was introduced to the public, how that story invested viewers of the film to the plight of the film students, so it was hard to tell if the pic was a documentary or fiction.

easy to lose sight of such power of the early 'net.  going viral is every youtubers dream today.  but a generation ago -- that is scary realizing the blair witch project is nearly a generation old -- the backstory  of the witch and the missing students shot like a rocket.

i think the movie is still very well done.  the film is raw energy and suggestion.  a couple of images have become iconic.  i recall in 1999 - 2000 when a local car dealership used black&white found footage like material in their commercials.  remember back then that technique was like a shot of adrenaline in a rather moribund entertainment environment.

so yes, the movie scared me but its mythos evidenced via the 'net was even scarier.  brilliant marketing ploys coupled with a collective imagination who wishes for the remarkable and the macabre.  and for a while it was more than remarkable.  it was, to quote a tag line from a critic at the time, scary as hell.



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