Happy 10th Anniversary, “Blair Witch Project”!!!

posted by moviebuff82 on July 17, 2009 at 7:40 am

On July 14, 1999, a little film called “The Blair Witch Project” premiered in limited release in several indie theaters around the country and the world. It would be two weeks before the movie went wide and word of mouth spread like wildfire. The film, made on a ultra-low budget, went on to make hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office worldwide and even more when it was released on VHS (in a 2-pack combined with a Blair Witch mockumentary) and DVD.

It would go on to be the most successful indie movie made by Artisan Entertainment (before Lionsgate bought the company) at the time. More than a year later, a sequel was made, and was more like a horror action film than the home movie horror that its predecessor was. It bombed at the box office, with the lack of stars from the original and the creators who made Blair Witch what it is today. Without Blair Witch, there wouldn’t be a “Cloverfield”.

Comments (9)

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on July 17, 2009 at 8:45 am

The author of this post says “Without Blair Witch, there wouldn’t be a ‘Cloverfield.’” Does the author have any proof to this, or is this just more fanboy conjecture?

From everything I have read, seen and heard, Cloverfield’s development had no influence from Blair Witch, in inspiration or anything else. The basic concept of the movie came from a visit to a toy store in Japan when J.J. Abrams was promoting MI3, and he saw all the Godzilla toys in the store. He thought it would be great if America had its own Godzilla-like monster. Other movies that helped inspire Cloverfield include Escape from New York (the film’s poster shows the head of the Statue of Liberty laying in the middle of a Manhattan street), Them! and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. And the film’s handheld camera style is not influenced by Blair Witch but from the millions of user-submitted videos on sites like YouTube. Unless, of course, the author is subliminally suggesting we wouldn’t have YouTube if it weren’t for Blair Witch. :)

KingBiscuits on July 17, 2009 at 9:29 am

I hated both Blair Witch and Cloverfield. Blair Witch is nothing more than fanboy hype over an iconic image, some random chat and a bunch of nothingness. Nowadays, it’s just a dramatic version of The Room.

As for Cloverfield, it’s just a ripoff of Godzilla made by television people that only did well because of fanboy hype.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on July 17, 2009 at 10:20 am

I think it’s safe to say though that the success of The Blair Witch Project did lead to a modern resurgence of similar spooky flicks. Not that I think it was all that wonderful of a motion picture, but I think that it is a noteworthy piece of work.

CSWalczak on July 17, 2009 at 11:58 am

I suppose it is because I am “getting on” as they say, but I did not like “Blair” at all, and as soon I saw the previews for “Cloverfield” I knew I did not want see it; I really dislike that amateurish-looking, jerky camera work. I also think that the original posting’s relationship the purpose of this website is a little tenuous.

jaxsunst on July 17, 2009 at 2:16 pm

The genious in Blair Witch was the pre-release marketing. I remember the hype that led up it. I thought it was great, but you have to watch it in the context that it was intended. The acting was very good and was believable if you look at it from what they were trying to do. It is still one of my favorite horror flicks.

monika on July 17, 2009 at 2:49 pm

The pre-release marketing did a tremendous job in convincing/nearly convincing viewers that the story and film were in part or in whole real. I went opening night to a theatre packed to the rafters and proceeded to be frightened out of my wits. Friends who worked at the cinema I saw the film at (Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas) said that many people left the auditoriums to either vomit or pass out. It was an incredible spectacle that I don’t think could ever be replicated.

To this day, a decade later, I cannot think of the basement scene at the end with the guy in the corner without my skin crawling!

carolgrau on July 17, 2009 at 9:23 pm

They probably got sick from the movie, what a piece of garbage, I feel sorry for anyone who would get scared at something thios dumb.

John Fink
John Fink on July 18, 2009 at 9:18 am

Blair Witch I think was the birth of viral marketing, between the website and the mythology associated wit the film. The film its self is pretty good, but I see why people dislike it, but we haven’t seen anything like it since (maybe that’s a good thing). I think that ended a certain era of indie film (DIY film getting a wider release – Clerks and Blair Witch I think were the golden age so to speak of this type of indie filmmaking). The DIY style films now get online distribution and perhaps a token release at the IFC Center (see Hannah Takes the Stairs), although there have been a few exceptions – I think the current release Humpday which opened to strong numbers last weekend may get a decent art house release, but it not likely it’ll be at your local AMC or Regal.

moviebuff82 on July 19, 2009 at 8:03 am

When I went to the Clifton Commons to see a movie the weekend that Blair Witch opened wide, the manager of the theater notified moviegoers that The Blair Witch Project was all sold out. Good thing I saw the movie a few weeks later on vacation in Kennenbunkenport, ME at a local theater in Maine. It was an OK theater, with a small crowd, but I enjoyed the movie with dad and was the second scariest movie of 1999 (alongside The Sixth Sense). Hopefully they get a Blu-Ray version of the movie, although the film was shot mostly in a 4:3 aspect ratio rather than widescreen since it was first shot on tape then transferred to film. And the audio was mostly analog Dolby. I even bought the soundtrack to the movie, which contains soundbites from the film and a great selection of indie rock music. The website was also innovative too, way before social networking sites took notice of viral marketing.

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