31 Days Of Hallowe'en: The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Welcome to JOE's 31 Days Of Hallowe'en. For each and every day of October, we'll be bringing you a horror movie to tuck into for the lead up to the big night. It could be new, old, an undiscovered gem, or a classic you'll have seen a thousand times. No matter what it is, we guarantee you that it is brilliant, and it is SCARY.
For Day 19, we're looking back over 1999's landmark moment in modern horror, The Blair Witch Project.
Over the last 18 days, we've recommended horror film after horror film, giving descriptions of the plot, why they deserve your time in the lead up to Hallowe'en, and what it is about them that makes them stand out above other horror movies.
When it comes to The Blair Witch Project, we could do the same thing.
We could talk about how it single-handedly (for better or for worse) revitalised the found-footage format of movie-making. We could talk about how the movie cost $60,000 to produce, and ended up making just shy of $250 million at the box office, making it pretty much the most profitable movie of all time.
We could talk about how when they made the movie, the actors didn't know day-on-day what the co-directors had in store for them, so more often than not, they were honestly reacting to unknown horrors descending upon them in the darkened woods. We could talk about the legacy it left behind, the poor sequel and the slightly better but still not great second sequel.
We could talk for days about any aspect of The Blair Witch Project, but instead we'll talk about what happened the first time we seen it in the cinema, and what happened when the movie ended.
Clip via Albin H-L
18 years ago, I headed out on a first date, and having heard of this new horror movie that nobody could stop talking about, I decided we should go see The Blair Witch Project.
A horror film was decent first date stuff, expecting a few arm-grabs during the scarier parts and then to laugh about it afterwards.
Instead, I found myself getting increasingly freaked out the longer the film went on. At one point, I had completely forgotten I was on a date, and when the girl grabbed my hand during the movie, I involuntarily let a little scream out and jumped a clear two feet out of my chair.
And then Heather and Mike find the house, and inside they can hear the screams of Josh. They venture inside, looking inside room after room for their missing friend, his screams still filling the abandoned forest. And then... well... if you've seen it, you know what happens next. If you haven't seen it yet, I won't spoil it for you here, but I couldn't move.
The end credits began to roll, my date asked "Are you ready to go?", but I couldn't respond. I was pinned to the chair in a panicky horror, and I was waiting for my heart to steady before I stood or tried to respond.
We didn't have a second date, but as a horror hound, I had finally encountered a scary movie that may have bettered me. To this day, 18 years later, I have only been able to watch The Blair Witch Project all the way through one more time, and that time, once again, my body broke out in goosebumps and a flight-or-fight response kicked in, every inch of my body screaming out for me to turn the movie off or run out of the room.
But I couldn't. Again, The Blair Witch had me in her grasp.
I haven't been back to the forest for a third time.
Check out our previous recommendations below: