Here’s our recommendation for Day 26:
‘The Blair Witch Project‘ was at least partly responsible for three trends (or the resurgence thereof) in the modern horror film genre:
- Viral advertising
- “Steady cam? What’s that?”
- Found footage
In late 1998, advertisers and marketers were still just starting to understand the term “viral marketing”. They’d always known that the best advertisement for a product was word-of-mouth, but how could they get people talking about their products?
The producers of ‘Blair Witch’ nailed it. Their use of websites to help spread and lend credence to the legend of the Blair Witch was pretty much genius. The fact that they never said it was all just made up was even more so.
People went nuts and flocked to the tiny town of Burkittsville, Maryland, if for no other reason than to be part of the “mythology”.
The film was made by piecing together amateur footage, actually shot by the cameras that the actors in the film used. For every person that went to Maryland in search of the Blair Witch, another got motion sickness in the theater from the shakiness of the camera.
This has now become a staple in action and horror movies, even though they’re not done in first person. The main reason is the filmmakers feel that this helps give a “documentary” feel to the movie, adding to the realism. The second reason is that they’re jerks.
This movie also jump-started the “found footage” craze that we can’t seem to get away from. While this also added to the realism of the movie, at least the first few hundred times, now it’s just tired and worn out.
It’s also one of the most successful horror movies ever that doesn’t show an actual monster. Noises and darkness are all you get – and for us, they’re enough.