61 Days of Halloween: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Introduction

An introduction to the concept of 61 Days of Halloween as well as past films discussed can be found here.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

To kick off this year I figure I’d go with a film I know and like, one I would gladly revisit anew for the purposes of this piece. The first thing that should be mentioned with regards to this film and myself is that I was fairly young when it first came out, and I first viewed it. Therefore, I fell for the marketing ploy hook, line and sinker; meaning, I fell into the trap that this was real footage. That made my first viewing of the film particularly intense, and perhaps the most affecting fright I ever felt.

Between that time and when I revisited it anew, I learned the truth. I came full circle with my reaction. At first, of course, I was quite angry. However, when it came time for me to see it again I took it as it really was- as fiction. I would’ve likely seen through the ruse the first time had I looked into the film more, but I hadn’t. This was one of the few real instances one can have of “seeing it again for the first time.” I knew a lot of the beats and took it all in, and it’s impressive how well it works, especially the performances. Due to the fact that there’s a brief period of expository information, and much walking and arguing, it can be easy to miss the set-ups and escalation.

I won’t spend too much time discussing it as the progenitor of many found footage films since, save to say that a lot of the shots are clear (barring the running sequences of course) and there’s escalation, pay-off, focus on character/performance, and, perhaps most importantly, it cares about explaining where the footage came from and why it was shot.

It’s a film that mixes sources of footage and has a respect for the process of filmmaking. It’s intelligent enough to be clearly edited, but it doesn’t go too far. Far too often in new-age found footage there’s too much “Hey, look this is real raw footage!” scenes clogging up the first act. By switching cameras and stocks the film spices up the beginning without wasting too much time. Having come full circle with it, it’s a film I’ve really come to admire a whole lot. It’s films like this one that make me come back to the found footage approach as tired and low-percentage as it’s been. The Blair Witch Project is a truly great film, that I just had to add to my collection. Being lost can be truly terrifying whether something is after you or not, few films exploit it as acutely as this one.

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61 Days of Halloween 2013: Introduction

Prologue

I figured this year I’d change things up, oh-so-slightly. Rather than have the following intro bulk up the beginning of each post I’d have it in its own post. Not only that I figured I’d also have a huge list of the films included in the past for two reasons: one, so you all can have easy access to the titles featured previously and, two, so I don’t accidentally repeat one. Enjoy and look for 2013’s first title later today. I also hope to have much more than last year’s offerings, and ideally a post a day. Subscribers be prepared to occasionally get a few notices a day as some regular site features will continue as per usual.

Introduction

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

2012 (31 Movies, 1 Retrospective)

Call of the Cthulhu
The Crazies
(2010)
The Children (1980)
The Children (2008)
The Other
The Mist
A Nightmare on Elm Street
(2010)
Case 39
Devil
Zombieland
A Haunting in Connecticut
Survival of the Dead
The Last Exorcism
Paranormal Activity
Frozen
Daybreakers
House
(1977)
Cat in the Brain
Vinyan
The Sinful Dwarf
The Final Destination
Village of the Damned
(1960)
Children of the Damned
The Final
Girl vs. Monster
Trick ‘r Treat
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
(1974)
House of Long Shadows
Friday the 13th Part 2
Friday the 13th Part 3
Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter
Friday the 13th Part 6
A Nightmare on Elm Street
, the Series Revisited

2011 (47 films, 1 list)

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
Mother’s Day
Genesis
Aftermath
Crawlspace
Hatchet for the Honeymoon
It! The Terror from Beyond Space
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Children of the Corn
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice
The Video Dead
The Prowler
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering
Masters of Horror: Family
The Evil Dead
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror
Satan’s Little Helper

Masters of Horror: Pick Me Up
Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
Teeth
Masters of Horror: The V Word
Halloween (1978)
Halloween II (1981)
Child’s Play
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Child’s Play 2
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Halloween Resurrection

The Amityville Horror (1979)
Tremors
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Amityville II: The Possession
Halloween (2007)

Top Evil Kids in the Children of the Corn Series
Amityville 3D
The Curse
Homicidal
The Stuff
Santa’s Slay
Die, Monster, Die!
Freaks
Vampire Circus
All the Colors of the Dark
A Blade in the Dark

Silent Feature Sunday: Nosferatu (1922)

While I do watch many new films, and have annual awards and will discuss current cinematic topics. Part of my desire to create my own site was to not have an agenda forced upon me that was not my own. This allows me to discuss films from all periods of history whenever I see fit. Recently my Short Film Saturday posts have been running toward silents more often. I questioned this tactic for a second until I realized that if I really do hope to encompass all of film history then the silent era most definitely should not be ignored. If you mark the silent era from the birth of film (1895) to the first talkie (1927), and I realize it could be argued that the silent era stretched a few years beyond that, and also that there were experiments with sound very early; that’s still 27% of film history at current which was entirely silent. Therefore a weekly post (or, however often I put it up) is not out of line at all mathematically or otherwise.

The good news is that many silent films are available to watch online, and are in the public domain. So I will feature some here.

Nosferatu (1922)

While 61 Days of Halloween is going on this will be a horror-themed post as well. This will allow me to see some horror silents I’ve not yet viewed. However, I figured I’d start with a staple. I must admit I’m not a huge fan of this film. However, I do like it. It’s not quite another Freaks for me, I like it better than that. It’s just quite meet the hype when I saw it, which was a while ago. Next week, however, I will have a film I love…a lot. Regardless, enjoy and may the horror begin!