Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer Shocks 1999: The Blair Witch Project

Boy, summers go by too fast, don't they? Back in May, Ryan Turek and I celebrated the summer of '79 with The Amityville Horror and Phantasm but now September's here and that's it for Summer Shocks. There's been plenty of great summer movies in recent years but it's a little too soon to be getting nostalgic about them so 1999 seems like an ideal place to stop and The Blair Witch Project a proper high note to end on.

I had a lot of fun with these essays and thanks to Ryan for being so enthusiastic from the start about running with this series. Spending the summer writing about these movies brought back a lot of fond memories of seasons gone by and I'm a little sad to have to bring it to a close. But then, the end of summer is always a little bittersweet.

For my full Summer Shocks review of The Blair Witch Project, click here. And for the entire run of Summer Shocks, check out the links below the trailer. That leaves nothing left for me to say but thanks for reading and, of course, "See you in the fall!"

Summer Shocks 1998: Blade

Summer Shocks 1997: Mimic

Summer Shocks 1996: The Craft

Summer Shocks 1995: Tales from the Hood

Summer Shocks 1994: The Crow

Summer Shocks 1993: Jason Goes To Hell

Summer Shocks 1992: Single White Female

Summer Shocks 1991: Body Parts

Summer Shocks 1990: Class of 1999

Summer Shocks 1989: Jason Takes Manhattan

Summer Shocks 1988: The Blob

Summer Shocks 1987: Predator

Summer Shocks 1986: The Fly

Summer Shocks 1985: Day of the Dead

Summer Shocks 1984: Dreamscape

Summer Shocks 1983: Psycho II

Summer Shocks 1982: Poltergeist/Friday the 13th Part 3 (Ryan)

Summer Shocks 1981: Deadly Blessing/Wolfen (Ryan)

Summer Shocks 1980: Friday the 13th

Summer Shocks 1979: The Amityville Horror/Phantasm (Ryan)


Matt-suzaka said...

It's been quite the run, Jeff, and you both had some awesome and well thought out picks for every year. I can't believe how many you guys should make it in to a book!

Anyways, love Blair Witch, so I am very glad that is your pick for the final year.

Jeff Allard said...

Yeah, it had to be Blair Witch to close out the series. For some people, that movie will always be bullshit but I love it as much now as I did then.

Glad you dug the series. Now that it's done, I don't know what to do with myself!

Unknown said...

This is such a great note to end on, especially when looking back at the 90's when so many horror movies were more thriller or action films with some horror elements thrown in. The BWP was a legit horror film AND bona fide blockbuster.

Blair Witch Project remains the scariest movie I've ever seen in theaters back when it played Boston plus four other cities before getting wider release. Like you say in the article, it's very unconventional format left you guessing with the group just what the hell was going on.

What really makes this film (and a decade later Paranormal Activity) work is the film makers leave everything to your imagination. A piece of splintered through the eye is a great momentary visual, but ruminating on what happened once the camera hit the ground, or what was attacking their tents stayed on my mind for hours, hell days, after leaving the theater.

Kudos to a terrific series, I can't wait to see how you follow it up.

Jeff Allard said...

Thanks for the kudos, Mike. I think it's going to be a little while before I take on another big project but we'll see!

Will Errickson said...

Excellent piece about a film I will probably never watch again! It's the kind of tale old-school horror writers like Lovecraft, M.R. James and Algernon Blackwood would approve of. Actually, there's a story from the early '70s called "Sticks" by Karl Edward Wagner that many see as precursor to the BWP.

Jeff Allard said...

I've never read "Sticks" but one thing I liked about BWP from the start is that it had its roots in the style of Lovecraft where the story builds to a reveal that never quite happens.

It's too bad Myrick and Sanchez have had such a hard time living up to the legacy of BWP (not to mention the actors). A lot of people like to write it off as a fluke but the truth is it took real talent to make this movie.

deadlydolls said...

Great stuff Jeff! I really enjoyed this whole series.

It's always good to hear someone pointing out just why Blair Witch worked the way it did. It was definitely hurt by its own success in some ways, but as someone who had to go to three theaters before I could get tickets on its opening Friday night, I'll always love what it did and still does.

Jeff Allard said...

Yeah, Blair Witch fans are a loyal bunch, that's for sure! If that movie struck a nerve with you, it's something that you don't forget. Few films have ever been as hair-raising, in my opinion.