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12 Facts About "The Blair Witch Project" (1999)

By Yona Williams    11/8/09

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"The Blair Witch Project" followed the brief journey of three film students into the woods as they attempted to dig deep into a local legend. What they discovered would become a cult classic, as the film is supposedly based upon the lost camera footage found one year later. Below you will find X facts and trivia regarding the movie.

1.    The film had such a profound effect on moviegoers that the 1999-2000 hunting season took a hit. The movie was so popular that fans all over the United States were inspired to hike into the wilderness and shoot their own Blair Witch-style documentaries. This scared the majority of wildlife from popular hunting sites as a result.

2.    The 16-millimeter camera used during filming got broke when actor Joshua Leonard (who was toting it in his pack), rolled down a hill. The result: the lens popped off of the camera.

3.    The three primary actors of the film (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C. Williams) were responsible for shooting nearly all of the finished film.

4.    A lot of the appeal surrounding the making of the Blair Witch Project included the fact that the actors were only given an outline consisting of about 35 pages detailing the myth behind the plot. When shooting started, all of their lines were improvised and almost all of the events in the film were unheard of to the three actors. On-camera surprises were commonplace during the filming of the movie.

5.    Since the handheld camera movements played a significant role in the filming of the movie, some people in the theaters experienced nausea and actually left their seat to vomit. This prompted theaters in Toronto to warn patrons prone to motion sickness to choose aisle seating and try not to 'throw up on other people.'

6.    During the promotion of the film, producers advertised the footage as real, which to this day, some people still believe is true.

7.    In the movie, Heather Donahue supposedly finds what is presumed as the tongue and teeth of Joshua Leonard wrapped in his handkerchief. This part of the film is comparable to the Washington Irving tale, "The Devil and Tom Walker" where Tom's wife searches for the Devil in the swamp and never comes back home. Later, Tom goes looking for her and only finds her apron covering up her heart and liver.

8.    One of the video cameras used in the filming of the movie was purchased at Circuit City and after production finished up, the producers returned the camera for a refund, which adjusted their overall budget total even lower.

9.    The movie made its way into the Guinness Book Of World Records for 'Top Budget Box Office Ratio' in the category of a mainstream feature film. The film only cost $22,000 to make and brought in $240.5 million.

10.    It took a total of eight days to shoot the film.

11.    To enhance the intensity of being upset with one another, the actors were deliberately given less food each day of shooting.

12.    In the scene where the actors are sleeping in a tent at night and are startled by the movement of their tent, the director violently shook the tent as a scare tactic. This was unscripted and the actors were genuinely scared.

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