One of the defining moments in every movie fan’s life is when they first saw The Blair Witch Project. Whether it was in a dark cinema or at home, alone or with friends, your life was not the same from that moment on. Years on, whenever the name is mentioned, chills still tingle down your spine. This movie is considered to have revived the horror genre. Apart from the movie itself, what brought on that status, are the chilling facts connected with the movie production. Very creepy stuff happened during the filming, taking the scare-o-meter beyond our imagination.
Here are some details and facts compiled by Diply, that will renew your goosebumps:
1. Heather Donahue and her two co-stars Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard, were reportedly proclaimed missing or deceased. As a result, Heather’s mom indeed received countless sympathy cards from people believing her daughter WAS actually dead or missing!
2. As part of the whole idea, the authors of the movie led the three co-stars to believe that the Blair Witch was a real legend during filming, letting on just that the film was going to be fake. The actors found out that the legend was fake and created by the authors only after the release of the movie.
3. In order to not get really lost while roaming through the forest, the three co-stars kept in touch with the directors via radio. Still, they did go astray on three separate occasions!
4. The film was made on a very low budget. The producers cut costs wherever they could, including returning one of the cameras the actors used. The store where they bought it gave them a full refund.
5. There are countless stories from the movie industry on how directors and producers torment actors. The Blair Witch Project is no exception. The three actors were made to eat less and less every day and became hungry. This was done in order to create tensions and drama between them – hunger is a real stress inducer.
6.One of the most memorable scenes is when Heather, Josh and Michael discover they ended up where they started, after walking all day. Their reactions were indeed authentic – they were really pissed to have spent the day for nothing.
7. There was no actual movie set in the production process, which means no stage direction, help or similar. So when the actors wanted a break, they simply used a code word – “taco”.
8. Another scene that is remembered well is the one when they’re sleeping in their tent and the tent suddenly shakes, leading the actors to near maddening scare! This was of course not in the script, making their reactions true and genuine. The director came up with the idea during filming and he was the one that did the shaking.
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9. Another thing staged by the directors were the interviews with the townspeople, already coached by them. The actors did not know that. Their facial expressions and reactions in these segments are totally spontaneous.
10. The final scene was so scary for Heather that she kept hyperventilating and crying long after the filming of it was done. Truthfully, there is not a single person in the world that saw that scene without jumping off his/her seat!
11. One of the things that made the film what it was were the props. Most of them are the real deal. Heather finds teeth near the end, supposedly Josh’s – real. One of the directors got them from his own dentist. The hair? Also real – it came from Josh!
12. As part of the elaborate ruse concocted to promote the movie, the actors went into hiding prior to the premiere. This was done to support the premise of the movie, that they really died. They were also listed as “missing, presumed dead” on their dedicated IMDb pages.
13. Principal photography took only 8 days. During that period just 19 hours of footage was made. In the editing process, it was cut down to the 90 minutes that redefined the genre.
14. A fee of $1,000 a day was initially paid to the three actors, Heather, Josh, and Michael. But, the movie became a big hit, earning a lot of money. Reportedly, Michael said that he ended up making about $300,000 in the end.
15. One of the scariest scene for Michael was the one with the sound of children coming from the forest. The sound itself was a recording made of kids playing near the house of the mother of one director. Then during filming speakers installed secretly in the forest replayed the recording.
16. The film garnered somewhat of a cult following. Fans traveled to the actual forest in Maryland trying to discover the legend of the Blair Witch, deeply persuaded it was real.
17. During pre-production, actors got an outline of the plot and mythology behind it, laid out on only 35 pages. There were no dialogue lines. Everything they say is improvised. Additionally, they had almost no idea what would happen during filming. This brought about real genuine reactions of shock, fear and terror.
18. One of the many records the movie broke was “Top Budget: Box Office Ratio” from The Guinness Book of World Records. The production costs of the film were $60,000, but it ended up making around $250 million. That’s a return on investment ratio of more than $4,180 for every of $1 spent.
19. A sign appears at the beginning of the movie, welcoming you to the town of Burkittsville. It was stolen numerous times, a weird tradition that started on the film’s opening night.
20. The marketing campaign for the film can be described as near perfect, although at times it was taken a bit too far. In promotion of the movie on the famous Cannes Film Festival, the filmmakers put up “missing” posters around the Croisette. This attempt to draw interest to their movie backfired in a way. Just recently a real kidnapping was conducted, so the filmmakers were instructed to remove the posters, as it was deemed to be to offensive.
21. The three actors, Heather, Mike, and Josh had strict instructions in regards to which trails to follow and what directions to take, which they got from the movie crew. It was done to make sure that each night they would end up at a designated camp site, i.e. the “film set”.
22. During 1999 and 2000, the film took the world by surprise and made a huge fan base. They came in droves to visit the Maryland forest of the movie’s filming locations. This in turn scared away all of the hunting game. The local hunters were not happy, but the deer and moose were thankful.
23. All the actors got a brief course on camera usage before the actual filming began. Josh, however, did not master the art of focusing on time. That is the reason why his interview with Mary Brown, from the first days of filming, is grainy, at times out of focus and murky.