Legendary horror author Stephen King reveals that he was too afraid to finish watching The Blair Witch Project when it first came out.
Stephen King reveals that the horror movie that he was too scared to finish watching was The Blair Witch Project. Released back in 1999, The Blair Witch Project was a massive success and is largely credited with reviving the found-footage filming technique that would later be adapted in similar titles like Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield. While considered a “sleeper-hit” in the horror genre, the movie grossed nearly $250 million worldwide on a budget of under $500,000, which made it one of the most successful independent films of all time.
Centered on three student filmmakers in the Black Hills of Burkittsville, Maryland, the events of the film play out in the style of “recovered footage” as the students uncover the legend of the Blair Witch. When the movie first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999, it was accompanied by a promotional marketing campaign aimed at selling the “documentary” as real. Also credited as one of the first widely released movies marketed on the internet, The Blair Witch Project‘s marketing featured faux police reports and “newsreel-style” interviews with the goal of finding the “missing” students, who were marked as either missing or dead, even on their own IMDb pages. That marketing style really paid off as the film frightened critics and audiences alike, going so far as to frighten the “King of Horror” himself.
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As told on Dread Central, during an episode of Eli Roth’s History of Horror, King revealed that the horror movie he was too scared to finish watching was The Blair Witch Project. King first saw the film in the summer of 1999 in the hospital after he was struck by a minivan while walking on the side of the road. This event would later be quite influential on his own work, but at the time, it seems that the pharmaceuticals he was prescribed may have also played a factor in his fear of The Blair Witch Project. King explains:
“The first time I saw [The Blair Witch Project], I was in the hospital and I was doped up. My son brought a VHS tape of it and he said, ‘You gotta watch this.’ Halfway through it I said, ‘Turn it off it’s too freaky.”
In today’s pop culture, The Blair Witch Project has achieved meme-like status and has been referenced and parodied in countless films and TV shows; however, at the time it was released, the movie was quite groundbreaking in the way it was filmed and presented to the public. Considered one of the best horror movies of the 1990s, it spawned sequels and other adaptations, as well as helped pave the way for other similarly shot films. The fact that the movie even managed to scare King is a testament to the success of the marketing campaign and overall “documentary-like” style.
King is no stranger to the horror genre. Having written over 80 novels that all deal with horror in some fashion, King is a master of the genre and knows a thing or two about what makes a story scary. His books have gone on to frighten generation after generation and he continues to do so with several of King’s books being adapted into movies and TV shows. The Blair Witch Project might not seem scary by today’s standards, but it’s interesting to know that of all the movies released in the ’90s, this is the one that scared King.
More: A Complete Guide to the Blair Witch Mythology
Source: Dread Central
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