Horror film “Witch from Blair“. A marketing miracle or How to be lost in America?
to Troy students go to the remote town of Byorkettsvill (the former Blair), the State of Maryland to shoot the documentary amateur movie about a local horror story - the witch from Blair...
The ideological engine of the project is the girl Heather, and two of her associates, Josh and Mike, not especially believing in all this nonsense, just hope to have a good time and on - fast to return to a civilization bosom. In an arsenal of amateur filmmakers - hired 16 - a millimetric chamber, a district map, a small stock of provisions for the weekend and an optimistic spirit.
The beginning cinematographers spent the first day of travel for poll of locals. It became clear that the majority is aware of an ominous legend, but everyone remembered something special. Someone told about the children who were gone in 1942, someone - about a meeting with the old woman`s ghost, and someone preferred to express vastly at all, without wishing to go into detail. But one and all believed that something angry lives in the local woods and unnatural. Therefore you should not wander there. Neither in the afternoon, nor, especially, at night.
The next day students went hiking. Having left the car on an edge, under command of the know-it-all Heather they sure gait went deep into a thicket. Also it seemed that everything goes according to the plan. Having passed across memorable places of mysterious ritual murders, they went was to the thrown cemetery, but here - that also became clear that the card impudently lies. Also our friends as got lost did not manage to come round. What owing to limited time, food and desire to hang around the cold October wood was presented to all attendees by absolutely sad prospect.
However neither loss of the map, nor gradually decreasing provisions stocks, nor even disturb frosty autumn nights our heroes as strongly as the strange, ominous sounds surrounding tent with sunset and frightening finds in the wood (like a stone Indian cemetery and obviously man-made figures from the branches hanged on trees). Every day Heather, Josh and Mike`s hope for hepp - and weakens, and with darkness arrival the dreadful crash of branches and children`s laughter gradually reduces got lost a grief - cinema-men from mind … And then Josh completely vanishes. Having remained together, Heather and Mike slowly lose mind and with horror wait for the forthcoming night … “The witch from Blair“ (1999) directors Daniel Mirik and Eduardo Sanchez visually proved
to the whole world that competent marketing often works wonders. Their pseudo-amateur picture at the budget of all in 22 thousand dollars managed to earn more than 248 million in world hire, having ensured the place in the Guinness Book of Records as the most profitable project in the history of cinema. Expenses on advertizing of the movie exceeded costs of its shootings by 1000 times, but even in this case Artisan film studio which redeemed the rights for a tape had huge profits. While James Cameron bore and “Avatar“ created 8 years, creators of “The witch from Blair“ spent for shootings of 8 days. And who here, is asked, miscalculated?
Reaction of audience, despite financial progress of a tape, was extremely ambiguous. On the one hand - a prize of youth jury in Cannes. With another - two nominations on Gold raspberry, including for the worst movie and for the worst female role (Heather Donakhyyu who played herself a prize won). While one joyfully sang the praises of “The witch from Blair“, in paints sharing details of the genuine horror, others were spat and complained that supposedly the picture left frankly amateurish, boring and not so terrible. Any fuss and fight suited creators who silently looked at foolish “holivara“ concerning the creation and stuffed the crackling dollars which, as we know, do not smell on bags.
Problems, actually, any. Mirik and Sanchez`s picture from the point of view of motion picture art is not of absolutely any interest. Can prove the return only those who, okromya “Witches from Blair“, other movies did not watch at all. And it does not mean at all that for 22 pieces of dollars it is impossible to remove something worthy. Actually, business even not in money. Matter in the attitude towards the viewer.
Authors of “The witch from Blair“, undoubtedly, initially understood that they shoot the movie for precedent creation, but not for the sake of high idea of advance of independent and low budget art in masses. The absolute minimalism was at the center put, beginning from financial investments and finishing with visual means. Little-known actors in the scenario were deprived of dialogues and, holding only the general description of characters, were forced to improvise desperately in each scene. Avaricious special effects (generally sound) - result not of laborious work of experts, but tomfooleries of a film crew which in full strength wandered in the dark, rustled with the fallen foliage and broke branches of trees. It was clear to all - a task not in shooting good film. A task to remove something and to try to sell it more expensively.
Nevertheless, we will be honest, a certain innovation in Mirik and Sanchez`s work is available. It is asked if all such clever why nobody guessed earlier to create something similar? Yes, directly to authors of “The witch from Blair“ it is glories in the long term did not bring: any more in couple directors never worked, and their present movies are interesting to nobody. However many decades huge amounts of money were invested in horror films. First of all, on a reconstruction on the screen of various monsters and ghosts, since a demonic doll of Chaki and finishing with huge monsters, like the Godzilla. And came to nobody to mind that it is possible to reach a suspense much more avaricious means. It is only enough to connect to process of the viewer, having allowed audience to imagine something awful independently. Fear - the child of imagination.
I will not be humiliated before comparison of this opus with Hitchcock`s masterpieces, but, you see, the principle - that not so new. There is no need to intimidate all road public by terrible ugly faces, to spill tons of fake blood and to swing in a shot the torn-off extremities. It is only enough to create the atmosphere of “a fear presentiment“. Expectation of horror works much stronger and more deeply. And creators of “The witch from Blair“ experienced this moment to the full extent.
It is no secret that the bulk of the negative which is splashed out on directors is connected not so much with amateurish acting and lack of visualization of nightmares (what a sin to conceal, all tensely waited - when will show that witch), and “epikfeyly“ in the final, left audience in perplexity. The movie ending still causes irritation the innuendo though at the very beginning of the movie for especially bright it was told that the film is allegedly found, and students do not. That is it was possible to assume that their fate is unenviable. Nevertheless, the viewer patiently waited when from the screen at last the ghost jumps out and will devour unlucky film figures, and instead final credits spread.
After years “The witch from Blair“ can already be considered as classics of a new genre - pseudo-documentary cinema. Many tried to repeat success of the movie, removing in the same manner, but to very few people good luck really smiled. Among the last - “The paranormal phenomenon“ and the “Last exile of a devil“ which strengthened positions of a new genre in Hollywood where from now on almost annually studios spend kopeks for similar horror films in hope to extend the happy ticket. However the former agiotage is not expected any more.