The Blair Witch Project

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INTERVIEW: The Blair Witch Legacy Creator Jason Hawkins

INTERVIEW: The Blair Witch Legacy Creator Jason Hawkins

This is a fan-made film and will not be available for purchase or digital viewing.
I had an opportunity to discuss some elements of The Blair Witch Legacy with Jason Hawkins. Hawkins also has aspirations to make his own Friday the 13th fan film and says he has it “if people got behind it…….I already worked out how it would go”. As The Blair Witch Legacy is a fan made film, Hawkins and his crew cannot gain financially from its release. However, as you see in my candid interview with Hawkins, he has plans for the film.

House of Tortured Souls: The Blair Witch Legacy is a ‘fan film’, are you a fan of the Blair Witch franchise (this would include all 3 films currently released) and/or the Blair Witch folklore?
Jason Hawkins: I am a fan of the Blair Witch films. I saw the first one in theatres when, like a lot of people, I wasn’t sure if what I was watching was legit or not. I suspected not, but the film was so well put together, and the marketing campaign so well thought out, that I was able to suspend disbelief enough to get caught up in the story and really enjoy it. As a child, I had seen a lot of the docu-films like The Legend of Boggy Creek and such, so I think I was ready for a film like this. I’ve revisited The Blair Witch Project multiple times over the years and find that it still holds up well. The second film Book Of Shadows my hopes were high. I think I’m one of the few people who thought the film was decent. It’s not excellent, and there’s a lot going on that misses the point, but I thought (when I was watching it as a stand-alone style film) that it holds up in a video store rental kinda way. The third film…I was curious. More than I was excited. I think the reaction to the second film really hurt the release of the new one. I didn’t enjoy the third film in the way I hoped I would. To me, they erred in making it a ‘Hollywood Movie’ filled with the same type of things horror fans complain about on a regular basis. The premise was solid, the idea was there, but the execution was not. I felt it was ‘Oh look, pretty teens go into the woods….oh look the cliché black best friend character…oh look” it was filled with things that took me out of the realism. There was never any doubt that we were watching a ‘Hollywood Film’ from the beginning. It was missing that ‘what if’ factor of the original film. It should have come off as a raw Indie. I think that’s the major differences between the original and the follow-up films. We love the original because of what it is- the underdog's story. The filmmakers were not Hollywood cookie-cutter characters. They looked, acted, felt like real people - because they were. In our film, we wanted to get back to basics, back to a film that feels like it could have been shot with regular people on consumer level equipment – because it was. We embraced that and worked to make it feel exactly like what it is …. a found footage film.

HoTS: Being a fan of the film, how did you produce the budget for the film? Was there an Indiegogo campaign? Investors?
JH: We actually worked with a pretty small budget, even by Indie standards. Being a fan film, we knew we couldn’t profit off of it, and we’ve done our best to be very respectful of the intellectual properties, which would have made going to an investor difficult. With limited options, we decided to make this film directly out of our own pockets and funded all aspects of it ourselves. There was talk of an Indiegogo, but we felt with the right people and the right approach we could pull this off ourselves. The money hunt, particularly for indie artists, is a constant struggle. It’s very, very difficult to get films made, even when you have a solid track record and I didn’t want to wait 5 years…… 10 ….maybe never making this film. I’ve seen too many filmmakers with great ideas wither on the vine and never get their made because they don’t have the budget. We worked with what we had, took advantage of our skills and decided to make the film with a budget we had.

HoTS: Where did you find your 3 lead actors – Samantha Marie Cook, Cody Epling, and Jason Reynolds- and what was it like working with them?
JH: We originally posted the project under a code name The March Project intending to cast and shoot in spring. Record rainfall flooded a lot of our locations and caused some conditions that we decided might be hazardous, so we delayed. We had begun the audition process by accepting video auditions. From those we culled the list down to the top 2-3 we wanted to see them in person for each character. We bought these actors in and really put them through their paces. They still didn’t know what they were auditioning for, what the film was about or anything. We narrowed down our choices and invited the actors to join the film, finally telling them what it was and what our goals were. Sam was our first choice and Cody had actually auditioned for a different character but came on as the character we see in the film. (In fact, most of the characters you see in the film had auditioned, didn’t get the role they were after but were offered a chance to come back and be in the film and its supporting character). Jason I had known for a while, having worked with him on a few other projects and training MMA with him. He’s a friend and I wanted somebody who was comfortable in the deep woods and also they were familiar with the way I work. Working with them was hell on earth – I’m kidding of course. We had multiple meetings before film dates, to get everybody comfortable around each other and to work on building the sense of camaraderie that you hopefully see and feel in the film. The characters came together well, and once the weather cleared we moved to shoot. The first few days didn’t go as smooth as we wanted, but it was a great bonding experience and we decided to start over, scrapping the first few days of footage. The trials and tribulations of filming a project like this brought them together in a stronger way, and when we started again, they were on point. It’s hard to believe now that none of them had ever met before we started casting, they seem like old friends.

HoTS: You shot on location in both Oregon and Maryland, was the Burkittsville location welcoming of another Blair Witch film?
JH: Soooooo…..we didn’t actually go to Maryland. We wanted to sell the illusion that we did, much as they sold the illusion of the ‘Black Hills’ in the original. We went to the airport, whole bit, but never actually went to Maryland. I had scouted locations for a few months and done my best to match them up with some of the towns woods in Maryland. We put that in the credits just for fun, and to see if anybody would know the difference. Is that a spoiler? I’m not sure, but it’s a factual statement that the people of Burkittsville have come out with negative responses to the Blair Witch films- in our movie when Sam says “I know, it’s all on the Thrillist website”, she’s telling the truth. The Thrillist website does cover the negative reactions of the people of Burkittsville about The Blair Witch Project. A lot of what we did was very meta –we heavily mixed in fact and fiction. In fact, sometimes you’d hear statements on set such as “wait, is this real real or film real?” and sometimes the answer was simply yes, yes it is.

HoTS: What other film projects can I observe your work in?
JH: I like to stay busy and am almost always working on something, or developing the next project. Over the years I’ve done multiple feature films, including All American Bully with Adrienne King (from the original Friday the 13th), 15:Inside The Mind of a Serial Killer (which is getting re-released soon), and The Devil Knows His Own with Eileen Dietz (from The Exorcist and many more), as well as several short films. Like a lot of indie artists, we’ve had ups and downs with distribution. My films can be found on Redbox, iTunes, Amazon, Walmart and many outlets around the world. Many would call that success, and I suppose it is, but getting distributors to actually pay you for your work is another story entirely. In fact, that’s an entire article unto itself…

HoTS: What is the plan for The Blair Witch Legacy? Will you be submitting it to festivals?
JH: This is actually a pretty complex question. We knew going into this that we couldn’t profit off of someone else’s intellectual property. We are not the copyright holders, and our film is able to exist through the grace of Lionsgate. They have allowed people to play with the Blair Witch universe in the past – these are dozens of fan shorts, fake documentaries, etc, much the same as fans have been allowed to play in other rich, layered, universes such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and so on. So, knowing that, we made the film by fans, for fans. We have submitted to multiple festivals and conventions, where we’ll be showing exhibition screeners of our film. Currently, there are close to a dozen that will be showing it or trying to work it into their schedule. However, I try to make sure every move I make in regards to film and my career is with a reason. I like to say “No move without purpose” and try to make sure every move is to advance and with purpose. I didn’t just make a fan film. I made a fan film in a popular universe to draw more attention to what we do, and send up a flare in the direction of Lionsgate- “hey look at us. We love the franchise. There is hope for it. Let US make the next one.” How cool would it be to get their attention and have them look at our project? I’ve already worked out most of the details for a sequel, and I really believe the franchise can be given new life and reach new audiences worldwide. And I want to be the one to do it. No move without purpose.

Keep up to date on screenings and festivals showing The Blair Witch Legacy, through their Facebook page and watch for future projects from Jason Hawkins.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
Blair Witch Experience

Blair Witch Experience

The Blair Witch Project_Quote / Fair use doctrine.
That's the simple yet chilling premise of The Blair Witch Project, one of the most successful horror movies of all time.

It started with a website showing news articles about the missing students and footage of police and search parties looking for them. “Missing” flyers were distributed at festivals where the film was shown. The Sci-Fi Channel aired a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch and the students who had gone into the woods to find her. The movie was number two at the box office for the first several weeks after its release and the story's momentum persisted. Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard, and Mike Williams were all listed as “missing, presumed dead” on movie databases and the Frederick police department was flooded with calls from people asking why more wasn't being done to find the students.

While watching The Blair Witch Project, you see enthusiasm turn to despair and curiosity to fear. Hunger, exhaustion, and paranoia sharpen the senses until innocuous things piles of rocks, stick figures, and handprints on a wall invoke terror in the actors and the viewers. The found-footage style of the movie makes the viewer assume the role of the characters as they trudge disoriented through the woods and barrel screaming down the stairways of a decrepit abandoned house.

Blair Witch Experience, a weekend-long camping trip started in 2013 by Blair Witch aficionado Matt Blazi, takes things a step further, letting attendees visit the filming locations in chronological order.

2017's trip took place on October 20th and 21st. The first stop was the Burkitsville Cemetary in Burkittsville, MD. We saw the scenery and various gravestones from shots in the beginning of the movie and the sign for historic Burkittsville. The sign was stolen and put back up several times since the original movie came out. It was left down last year, anticipating the release of the latest Blair Witch movie but put back up since then and was the site of the first of many group pictures for the trip.

Next was the Knights Inn in Knoxville, MD, where the actors spent the first night of filming. Matt Blazi even rented room 118, the same room where Heather, Josh, and Mike stayed.

After that, we went to the locations where Heather interviewed locals about the legend of the Blair Witch. The Silver Rail Diner had closed since the filming of the movie, but people were waiting when we arrived. Susie appeared in The Blair Witch Project, holding her toddler daughter Ingrid, who became distressed when Susie told the story of the witch and covered her mother's mouth to make her stop talking. Susie eagerly told us about the circumstances of them being included in the filming, and she and Ingrid took pictures with fans and thanked everyone for their support of the film. We also visited Stupp's Market, where a man was filmed explaining the story of Rustin Parr murdering children under the influence of the witch, and Staub's Country Inn. Staub's is now a lawn and garden supply store, but we were graciously welcomed into the building by the proprietor of the business.

Susie and Ingrid reenacting their interview in front of the Silver Rail Diner.

Susie and Ingrid reenacting their interview in front of the Silver Rail Diner.

From there, we went to the woods.

Everyone met at Black Rock Mill in Seneca Creek State Park. We headed up the same road that took Heather, Mike, and Josh into the wilderness, but before we got too far we were halted by a bloodcurdling cry of “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!” and a figure running past us wearing all white with a white stocking cap distorting its features. It was a stuntman from the scene where Heather, Josh, and Mike ran through the woods and Heather saw something that terrified her and made her scream “What the fuck was that?!”

Suitably freaked out, we went to the rock in the river where Heather interviewed two fishermen who begrudgingly told her the story of Robin Weaver, a girl who was abducted by the witch. Two men were fishing off the rock when we got there. It was Ed Swanson, one of the fisherman from the original movie, and Dan Karcher, the social media director for Haxan Films, the movie's production company. We also met a woman named Ingrid, who lived around Seneca Creek State Park. She let Heather, Mike, and Josh into her house to use her phone one rainy night during filming when they lost contact with the rest of the crew. Her hospitality earned her and her husband a section in the movie's “special thanks” credits. We were rejoined by Susie, Ingrid, and director Eduardo Sanchez. The meeting had special significance because that was the first time Eduardo had seen Susie and Ingrid since the filming twenty years prior.

Director Ed Sanchez talking to Susie and Ingrid for the first time since the filming of The Blair Witch Project.

Director Ed Sanchez talking to Susie and Ingrid for the first time since the filming of The Blair Witch Project.

We went back into the woods with Ed Swanson, Dan Karcher, and Eduardo Sanchez. We stopped at Coffin Rock, the site where, according to Blair Witch lore, a group of men was found ritualistically slaughtered and a part of the woods where Heather, Josh, and Mike found piles of rocks on the ground and in makeshift baskets in trees.

Stickman Forest

Stickman Forest

The final stop for the first day is the “stickman” woods. Replications of the movie's simplistic but sinister totem hang from tree branches and vary in size. Eduardo made the biggest one last year, about seven feet long, but decided to outdo it this time. He, Ed, Dan, and several fans constructed a stickman that was almost as tall as a tree and required seven people to pick it up and lean it against a tree to support its weight.

The first day of the trip ended with Matt Blazi being named by Eduardo, Ed, and Dan as an honorary member of Haxan Films. It was a fitting gesture to recognize a fan who is so dedicated to the movie that he turns his love of it into a one-of-a-kind experience for so many others. The attendance of the trip grew from three people its first year to almost 20 this year and included attendees from all over the country and even Europe.

Matt Blazi being honored as a member of Haxan Films by Ed Karcher.

Matt Blazi being honored as a member of Haxan Films by Dan Karcher.

The second day of the trip involved going to the site of Rustin Parr's house. The actual house was destroyed in 2004 when Hurricane Sandy hit. All that remains now is some foundation and debris. Attendees combed through the tall grass to find bricks and stones. They found the corner where Mike stood unresponsive to Heather's shrieking. The spot is overgrown and almost unrecognizable but still evocative of the grim final shot of the movie.

All directors aim to make their movies seem real to their viewers but none were as convincing, both within the context of the movie and without, as Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez with The Blair Witch Project. Blair Witch Experience enables fans to immerse themselves in the world of the film and become part of it physically as well as emotionally.

Check out Matt Blazi's Blair Witch Experience on Facebook.
Posted by Laura D. James in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, 0 comments
EDITORIAL: In Defense of: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

EDITORIAL: In Defense of: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Hello, horror fiends. In my new series “In Defense Of...”, I look at movies often loathed, you know, those fugly, redheaded, stepchildren in the genre. But are they really worth the hate? After all, a lot of now classic horror films were once looked down upon by other like-minded genre fans. Day of the Dead (1985) is a prime example. So all I ask is your time and open mind because you never know, you might just see a movie in a totally new light.
Oscar nominated director Joe Berlinger seemed like an interesting choice when it was announced he would helm the sequel to the mega hit The Blair Witch Project. Berlinger is known for award winning documentaries such as Brother's Keeper and the hugely successful Paradise Lost trilogy. He is currently directing a project about Ted Bundy (Zac Efron is slated to play Bundy).

Opening Statement or Sequels Don't Always Suck

For my first film, I want to look at the ill-fated sequel to the smash hit The Blair Witch Project (1999). Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was looked at by many fans as a quickly slapped together film to keep the Blair Witch money train chugging along. But it's really not the cinematic turd we unfairly dismiss it as. I’m going to use the term ballsy a lot because that is exactly what the Joe Berlinger was when attempting to tackle the sequel to the huge runaway hit the first Blair Witch was. He could have taken the easy route and simply sent another batch of kids in the woods screaming and looking into the camera and sobbing etc., but he didn’t. Instead, he chose to take the template of the first film and do what a good sequel should do, which is expand the mythos and take the series in a different direction.

Studio Interference

When defending Blair Witch 2, you have to have some context. The director’s vision of Blair Witch 2 is totally different than what we see in the final product all thanks to studio interference. For example, key scenes were re-arranged along with additional violent scenes, etc. It was further confused by adding Book of Shadows to the title when, in fact, there is no book in the movie. That, my friends, was - you guessed it - the studio suits’ bright idea and not the director’s. On a side note, I’ve heard of fans making their own “director’s cut” versions using details from the shooting script and listening to the commentary. (SERIOUSLY, the commentary is amazing. You must listen to it. ), and (surprise, surprise) it's much better. Sadly, the odds of seeing an official director's cut is slim because Artisan (now Lions Gate) doesn’t really do a lot to cater to fans. Even The Blair Witch Project (1999), a film that put them on the map, didn’t get a tenth-anniversary release because I guess they figured why bother.

What Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Got Right

After viewing last year’s stinkfest which was Blair Witch, it only reinforced the idea that Blair Witch 2, for all its flaws, at least attempted to explore interesting themes and ideas. Not only does it all but ditch the whole found footage concept, which is pretty ballsy in and of itself, it is a clever take on Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. Each character in Book of Shadows represents an aspect of the film. Jeff is the opportunist cashing in on the film; Kim is the goth girl who was drawn into the film’s dark themes and subject matter; Tristine and her husband are the brainy skeptics; and Erica is the Wiccan who found the film to be offensive to the witch community. Again this is so much more interesting than simply another batch of kids going off into the woods... God, I hate Blair Witch (2016).
In short, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is much more lofty than the remake/rehash we got last year. With the filmmaker's background in documentary film, he explores blurring the lines between fiction and reality and the very real danger in doing so. Also, the cliché imagery throughout is purposefully placed because the young people are so steeped in media that it’s the only way they relate to things once shit gets weird. The fact that The Blair Witch Project exists (in the sequel’s context) as a work of fiction rather than a part of its own universe is another incredibly ballsy move and helps to further echo its core theme while also giving an interesting slice of meta. Its cast is solid and the pacing moves at nearly breakneck speed. It also has a pretty good soundtrack which is now nostalgic for people of my generation.

Closing Statement or Before You Pass Judgment

I'm the first person to admit Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is flawed largely due to studio tampering, but it doesn’t deserve the 4.0 rating on IMDb! It attempted to give the audience something a little more challenging than simply a run of the mill cash grab remake (which, AGAIN, Blair Witch (2016) totally was) by introducing interesting themes and concepts. Thankfully, I’m not alone in my respect for this film, and it seems other fans are coming out of the woods and proudly reclaiming Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. I still hold out hope that Lions Gate will release a director’s cut to allow fans to see the film as the filmmaker intended.
Michael Vaughn is a published genre writer and has appeared in Fangoria, Scream (UK) in print as well as sites like FilmsinReview.com. He also owns the blog “Gorehound Mike's Weird Cinema”. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema, which compiles over 300 reviews spanning films from all over the globe and covering multiple genres.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Blair Witch (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: Blair Witch (2016)

The Blair Witch Is Back

By Dixielord

In 1999, movie making changed forever. A new subgenre of horror was born, the found footage shay cam film. It ushered in a wave of jiggly screens, bouncing videos and migraine headaches. It was a hit movie, and filmed in a way that way too many people believed it was real. It was The Blair Witch Project. Now, fifteen years later, a sequel is being made.

Okay, it's a second sequel if you count Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which didn’t follow the story line of the first film and may or may not be considered canon depending on which day of the week you ask the creators. But now we have a true sequel, following the storyline of the first film.

The plot of Blair Witch (2016) concerns the brother of Heather (Heather Donahue) from the original film. After scouring the Internet, he finally finds what he believes is evidence to the location of his missing sister.. Gathering a group of friends and video equipment, they trek into the woods in search of Heather. Instead of his sister they find, just like in 1999, the Blair Witch.

Sadly, however, the 2016 version doesn't have much of the magic of the original. Found footage and shaky cam is no longer a novel device but a pain in the ass. Plus, for a POV movie, there are times when you wonder just where the fuck the footage is coming from; there are some shots that are just not possible from one of their headsets. But that's a small nit picky point. I do think the film would have been better to just forget the shaky cam and go with a traditional steady-cam film. Too many times the quick spins were near nausea-inducing, and the dark scenes did little to build suspense.

Which is my biggest qualm with the film. For a movie like this to work, there has to be a build up of tension. The first film, at least for me, managed to build a sense of fear as Heather, Josh, and Mike wandered lost in the woods. When Josh disappeared, we had no clue what happened; in the new film, even with the black outs, we see way too much. We aren't left to wonder if Josh was taken by the witch? Did he just get lost?Kill himself? Here we see the victims dragged away. It's good for a quick jump, but nothing else.

There was also the decision to show the witch. And of course we have to make her creepy and inhuman looking so we can use the CGI budget. So they add to the back story, and now the witch has been hung from a rack so we have a witch that could give Slenderman a boner. To their credit, the witch does look creepy and inhuman and she's limited to a few quick views. So while it's somewhat effective the addition just seems cheap and unnecessary.

A haunting scene from Blair Witch

One of the more haunting scenes in Blair Witch
Photo credit Lionsgate films. Fair use doctrine.

But I wanted to try and review this on its own merits and haven't seen the original since it's first release. So I'm going to try and limit it to what I liked and disliked in this film. The main thing that killed my enjoyment was the pacing. The beginning was just too ungodly slow. Slow isn't always bad. If you are building tension or developing characters, slow can be good. But an hour in I still didn’t feel like I knew anything about these characters. Nothing beyond the stereotypical horror movie tropes anyway. Then once things become strange, they try to build that tension too fast - people disappearing, people reappearing, people getting lost - all in compressed time. Add to it headache inducing camera work and shifting perspectives that went on too long before the pay off.

The Blair Witch is back

The Blair Witch is back!
Photo credit Lionsgate films. Fair use doctrine.

There was also way too much time at the beginning showing the cast goofing off. There was no real reason for this, it didn’t tell us much about the characters and didn't advance the story, It seemed like nothing more than filler to pad out the length.

Once you get close to the end, the action, and tension does finally ramp up. The POV camera works to the films advantage during the chase and hunt through the cabin. The confusion and claustrophobia starts to make the viewer uneasy (and not just in the tummy), but only the cabin scenes had this effect. The filmmakers tried for a claustrophobia-inducing tunnel scene, but it failed pretty miserably for me. The camera shots, from wherever they came from, made the space look too open. Film is all about illusion and those shots broke the illusion. To see claustrophobia done right check out The Descent or Crawl or Die, where you literally feel suffocated.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say, even though it felt like a cheap rip of the end of the original Blair Witch, it did manage to build up my level of dread. There's also the hint that the entire film was some type of paradoxical time loop. Which doesn't really do anything for the film, but it doesn't really detract from it. It's more of an Easter egg than anything else. So let’s call it a push.

So my final verdict? The last 20 minutes or so is serviceable and even scary at times. Sadly it takes way too long to get there and very little tension is built up along the way. It copies a few of the more well known scenes from the original, which is good for a nostalgic “ha”. While casual horror fans might enjoy it, most horror fans will be bored to tears before the action starts. As slow and plodding as the original was, it held me. That's not the case here. I definitely don't see Blair Witch (2016) having anything like the cultural impact of the original. And they didn't even try to convince us it really happened.

The Blair Witch was directed by Adam Wingard (You're Next, The Guest) and stars Callie Hernandez (From Dusk til Dawn:The Series) and James Allen McCune (The Walking Dead). I really wanted to like it but unfortunately I just found it too slow, and the pay off, while not horrible, isn't worth the wait.

4/10 stars

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 1 comment
THIS JUST IN: Blair Witch (2016)

THIS JUST IN: Blair Witch (2016)

Witch?? Did Somebody Say Witch?

By Jonathan Patrick Hughes

The Blair Witch Project 05In the summer of 1999, Artisan Entertainment, Haxan Films, and directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick introduced us to a new breed of terror, a film so astounding it made the hairs stand up on the back of our necks and ran shivers down our spines. That film was The Blair Witch Project.

The Blair Witch Project 02The film was made on a micro budget for $22 thousand dollars (the cost of a brand new Ford Taurus at the time) and shattered the box office with a whopping $248 million dollars and became marked as one of the scariest films ever made. Even though this was the second attempt at using found footage material (The Last Broadcast being the first), the film managed to breathe fresh air into the horror genre and start what is now known as the found footage trend.

The Blair Witch Project 01
The Blair Witch Project 03
The Blair Witch Project 04

The Blair Witch Project tells a story of three film students who head to a forest in Maryland to do research on The Blair Witch, the town’s local legend, and are never heard or seen again until one year later when all their footage is found. The Blair Witch Project shocked audiences having them think that the film was actual footage and the movie was real.

The Blair Witch Project 06

Within a few days of its initial release, we learned that it was indeed fake, but that didn't stop the film from being undeniably horrifying. The film opened our eyes and put us in situations we were never in before, and that was the genius behind this dark and eerie tale.

Blair Witch 2 04One year later we were introduced to its sequel also known as Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. The film was directed by Joe Berlinger, who is known for his documentaries such as The Paradise Lost Trilogy (Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996), Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000), and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)), which documented the tragic stories on the West Memphis Three, and METALLICA: Some Kind of Monster, which was based on the lives of the band as they fight to stay strong and get through the hardest times while recording one of their studio albums known as St Anger.

Blair Witch 2 03
Blair Witch 2 01

Blair Witch 06Blair Witch 05Blair Witch 2 to me is viewed more as a stand alone film or a tribute rather than a straight up sequel to The Blair Witch Project. BW2 may not be as effective as the original, but it is still a solid piece of sweetness to sink your teeth into, especially around Halloween.

Since the films have made such an impact all over they also released 3 games for PC that takes us further into the legend as well as the story of Rustin Parr who apparently was possessed at one time by Elly Kedward who was also known as The Blair Witch herself. Rustin Parr claimed to have murdered 7 innocent children in his basement. The children were forced to stand in the corner and face the wall as he killed them off one by one. The games themselves weren't nearly as imaginative as the films were but they still managed to sell quite a few pieces.

Blair Witch Vol. i: Rustin Parr
Blair Witch II: The Legend of Coffin Rock
Blair Witch Vol. III: Die Elly Kedward Sage

For over a decade we have heard rumors after rumors that another sequel was being written by the original creators, and after awhile it was almost as if everyone just gave up hope and figured it was never gonna happen. That was until this past weekend at the San Diego Comic Con when we learned that on September 16, 2016, we will be heading back into the black hills forest only to witness the next installment of true evil herself: The Blair Witch.

Blair Witch 03
Blair Witch 02

The dynamic duo of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, who are the creative geniuses behind (You're Next, A Horrible Way To Die, and The Guest) unleashed their big surprise and told us that their next film, originally titled The Woods was indeed fake and that the real title is in fact Blair Witch. The team successfully managed to keep this a dark secret for nearly three years and I, for one, am overjoyed to hear this news. If anyone can tell us a true visionary scary take on one of our favorite witches, its these guys. The film was shown to a wide audience over the weekend of the con, and everyone is talking about how impressive it is and how it is a trip back to the highly effective scares and pulse-pounding moments of the original. I am ready to witness the newest entry to The Blair Witch Legacy. Blair Witch will hit cinemas on September 16, 2016, and will go head to head with the very much anticipated Rob Zombie film known as 31. Who is ready for one Hell of a cinematic weekend???

Blair Witch 04

Posted by Jonathan Hughes in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: JULY

HISTORY OF HORROR: JULY

By John Roisland & Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in July. Click on thumbnails for full images.

July 1 - 7

 

July - Trilogy of Terror-1975 Karen Black07/01/1942
Karen Black (actress in many horror films) born

 

July - Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window (1954)07/02/1997
James Stewart (actor in Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo (1958)), (b. 1908)

 

July - Day of the Dead07/03/1985
Day of the Dead released theatrically

 

July - Silent Hill 3 video game07/03/2003
Silent Hill 3 released on the PlayStation and PC in Japan

 

July - Adam Brooks07/03/????
Adam Brooks, known for Astron-6, Manborg, and Father's Day, born

 

July - Scary Movie 207/04/2001
Scary Movie 2 released theatrically

 

July - Battle Royale II07/05/2003
Battle Royale II: Requiem released theatrically

 

July - Janet Leigh07/06/1927
Janet Leigh, actress in Psycho, born

 

July - Blood Feast07/06/1963
Blood Feast released theatrically

 

July - The Descent07/06/2005
The Descent released theatrically

 

July - The Mummy's Ghost07/07/1944
The Mummy's Ghost released theatrically

 

July - Scary Movie07/07/2000
Scary Movie released theatrically

July 8 - 14

July - The Raven07/08/ 1935
The Raven released
theatrically

 

July - Phantasm 207/08/1988
Phantasm 2 released
theatrically

 

July - Dark Water 200507/08/2005
Dark Water released
theatrically

 

July - Dean Koontz07/09/1945
Dean Koontz (writer Phantoms (1989), Odd Thomas (2013)) born

 

 

July - Fred Gwynne07/10/1926
Fred Gwynne (actor in The Munsters (1964) and Pet Sematary (1989)) born (d. 1993)

 

 

July - Michael Rosenbaum07/11/1972
Michael Rosenbaum (actor in Urban Legend (1998) and Cursed (2005)) born

 

July - Tod Browning07/12/1880
Tod Browning (director of Dracula (1931) and Freaks (1931)) born (d. 1962)

 

July - Lon Chaney, Jr07/12/1973
Lon Chaney, Jr. (actor in Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) and The Wolfman (1941)) dies (b. 1906)

 
July - Michelle Rodriguez07/12/1978
Michelle Rodriguez (actress in Resident Evil (2002) and The Breed (2006)) born
 

July - Halloween: Resurrection07/12/2002
Halloween: Resurrection released theatrically

 

July - Stellan Skarsgard

Image courtesy WireImage.com

07/13/1968
Stellan Skarsgård (actor in Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)) born

 

July - Sid Haig07/14/1939
Sid Haig (actor in The Brotherhood of Blood(2007), The Devils Rejects (2005),
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)) born is born

 

July - The Chronicle07/14/2001
The Chronicle premieres on television

July 15 - 21

 

July - Larry Cohen07/15/1941
Larry Cohen (writer, director, producer known for of Phone Booth (2002), A Return to Salem's Lot (1987), The Stuff (1985)) born

 

July - Kingdom Hospital07/15/2004
Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital ends its run on television

 

July - The Fly07/16/1958
The Fly released theatrically

 

 

July - Jaws: The Revenge07/17/1987
Jaws: The Revenge released theatrically

 

 

July - Eight Legged Freaks07/17/2002
Eight Legged Freaks released
theatrically

 

 

July - Prom Night07/18/1980
Prom Night released theatrically

 

July - Aliens

07/18/1986
Aliens released theatrically

 

July - Arachnophobia07/18/1990
Arachnophobia released theatrically

 

 

July - Hideo Nakata07/19/1961
Hideo Nakata (director of Ringu (1998), Ringu 2 (1999), and Dark Water (2002)) born

 

June - Tales from the Crypt (original)07/19/1996
Tales from the Crypt ends its run on television

 

July - The Frighteners07/19/1996
The Frighteners released theatrically

 

July - The Breed07/19/2001
The Breed released theatrically

 

July - The Conjuring07/19/1964
The Conjuring released theatrically

 

July - The Devil Rides Out07/20/1968
The Devil Rides Out released theatrically

 

July - Dracula07/20/1979
Dracula released theatrically

 

July - Castlevania Dracula X07/20/1995
Castlevania: Dracula X released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in North America

 

July - The Haunting07/20/1999
The Haunting released theatrically

 

July - Jeepers Creepers07/20/2001
Jeepers Creepers released theatrically

 

 

July - Castlevania Dracula X07/21/1972
Castlevania: Dracula X released
on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan

 

 

July 22 - 28

 

July - James Whale07/22/1889
James Whale (director of The Invisible Man (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)) born (d. 1957)

 

July - The Hills Have Eyes07/22/1977
The Hills Have Eyes released theatrically

July - Orca07/22/1977
Orca released theatrically

 

July - Jaws 3-D07/22/1983
Jaws 3-D released theatrically

July - The Devil's Rejects07/22/2005
Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects released theatrically

 

 

July - Castlevania Chronicles - Japan07/23/1993
Castlevania Chronicles released on the X68000 in Japan

 

 

July - Chris Sarandon07/24/1942
Chris Sarandon (actor in The Sentinel (1977), Fright Night (1985), and Bordello of Blood (1996)) born

 

 

July - Ileana Douglas07/25/1965
Illeana Douglas (actress in Cape Fear (1991) and Stir of Echoes (1999)) born

 

 

July - Michael C. Williams07/25/1973
Michael C. Williams (actor in The Blair Witch Project) born

 

July - Night of the Seagulls07/26/1976
Night of the Seagulls released theatrically

 

 

July - The Amityville Horror07/27/1979
The Amityville Horror released theatrically

 

 

July - Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan07/28/1989
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan released theatrically

 

July - Deep Blue Sea07/28/1999
Deep Blue Sea released theatrically

 

July 29 - 31

 

July - Zombi 307/29/1987
Zombi 3 released theatrically

 

July - Cherry Falls07/29/2000
Cherry Falls released theatrically

 

July - The Blair Witch Project07/30/1999
The Blair Witch Project released theatrically

 

 

July - Mario Bava07/31/1914
Mario Bava (director of Black Sunday and The Girl Who Knew Too Much) born (d. 1980)

 

July - Invisible Agent07/31/1942
Invisible Agent released theatrically

 

July - Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man07/31/1951
Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man released theatrically

 

July - The Lost Boys07/31/1987
The Lost Boys released theatrically

 

July - Buffy the Vampire Slayer07/31/1992
Buffy the Vampire Slayer released theatrically

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Lovely Molly (2011)

MOVIE REVIEW: Lovely Molly (2011)

By Amy Mead

Lovely Molly movie poster

Directed by: Eduardo Sanchez

Starring: Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, and Alexandra Holden

Lovely Molly begins with a girl filming herself apologizing to everyone for her actions and attempting to slit her throat on camera... The next time we see this girl, it is on her wedding day and she seems much happier.

Soon after her small, quiet wedding, newlywed and former junkie Molly Reynolds moves into her childhood home with her new husband Tim. All too soon painful and terrifying memories begin to surface and Molly becomes haunted by some unseen event of the past and strange things are happening in the house.

Something tragic happened to Molly and her sister Hannah in this house and it's almost as if Molly's presence in her father's old home has awakened something. It's never outright spoken but it is alluded to several times that maybe Molly and Hannah were molested and/or beaten by their father, who was apparently, a very sick man. It is also hinted at that perhaps Hannah was forced to murder him to protect Molly and herself.

Something ominous, mysterious, and increasingly terrifying is taking shape, and taking hold of Molly. And whatever it is seems bent on destroying the life that Molly has worked so hard to rebuild after her addiction and multiple relapses. A malevolence seems to be stalking her, building in its intensity and shredding her fragile hold on sobriety and sanity, endangering all those she cares about. And herself.

Her husband Tim's work often takes him away for fairly long stretches and Molly is left alone in the old isolated house. She begins hearing things. Voices and whispers and footsteps, which sends her into a rapid decline of madness, psychosis, and depravity. She claims her father is still in the house and that he talks to her.

Every aspect of her life is soon affected by these events. She loses her job after being shown by her boss some CCTV footage of herself in what looks like a full on sexual assault...but she is completely alone.

Every day, Molly's behavior becomes more and more erratic. Culminating in violence and murder and a very unnerving final image and the disappearance of Molly.

The audience is left to wonder if these things were actually happening to Molly or if it is all a product of a delusional and broken mind...

 

There is much to like as this film as there is to NOT like but surprisingly, I rather enjoyed it. I am generally not a fan of what can be considered lazy, haphazard filmmaking but there was just something about this and Sanchez's direction that really worked for me. There is a feeling of intense creepiness and for the entire run of the film, I found myself unable to relax. Most of that, however, is due to the acting talent of Gretchen Lodge who truly shines in the titular role.

Love it or hate it, I am a huge fan of The Blair Witch Project, so when I heard about this newest Eduardo Sanchez film, Lovely Molly, I was totally in. And much like with The Blair Witch Project, I was sucked right into the storyline and spent more hours than I care to admit trying to decipher any and all hidden meanings within the film. Sanchez made me feel as though there were many.

Many people have railed against this film because of the open ended climax that leaves much to the viewer's interpretation but I rather enjoy all the questions I had in my head after the credits rolled. Every time I watch the film, I find something, some little tidbit, that I missed on the first couple of viewings. This is definitely one I couldn't get out of my head and I have watched it several times just trying to catch all the little nuances and subtleties within the film.

While I really enjoy this creepy little horror mystery and found it to be right up my alley, it is definitely not for everyone. If you did not enjoy any of Eduardo Sanchez's other horror efforts, you might do well to stay away from this one.

I give it 7/10 Horse Head Demons

Posted by Amy Mead in MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 0 comments