The uncensored investigation into disappearances of the three film-makers in 1994. See interviews with friends and family of the three film-makers, and learn the entire mythology of the Blair Witch, including a news reel interview with Rustin Parr! Written by
Derec Avery <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Private investigator Buck Buchanan appears in author Daniel Stern's follow-up book, 'Blair Witch Project: A Dossier'. The book reveals that Buchanan was hired by Heather's family to try to find her. See more »
Men in the crowd at the hanging of Rustin Parr in 1941 are wearing straw boaters, hats that were fashionable in the 1920s. See more »
Excellent mockumentary which parodoxically robs the film of much of its power.
It is a favourite sport among 'sophisticated' Europeans to laugh at gullible Americans, and it is a pastime, I'm ashamed to admit, I've indulged in myself. Ho ho! we chortle when we read about audiences feeling sick at such a tame film as THE EXORCIST. Hee hee! we titter as reports come of spectators needing psychiatrists after THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. But I for one envy American faith. Sometimes cynicism can be so tiring, and I'm really jealous of Americans who were genuinely scared watching BLAIR.
Apparently this mockumentary played a large part in the film's mythology - I don't know how true this is. As I mentioned in my review, I was scared witless by BLAIR, and felt great anguish for some time after it. Watching CURSE was of great therepeutic value - shorn of the big screen and the mechanics of the horror film, I was able to dominate the material, to emasculate its very real hold on me.
I think this mockumentary both weakens and strengthens the film. Without having seen it, the film is extraordinarily rich and suggestive, playing havoc with the viewer who carries no preconceptions (like myself). Being not quite sure what to expect only increases the tension and the terror. If I'd seen this mockumentary, I don't think I'd have been as scared. I'd have known too much, many things would have been explained (or at least graspable), overarching theories would have been more easily explicable.
Not knowing too profoundly about the legend helps the film. However, it is also chilling in that the students therefore move from one set of bearings (map, compass), to another (the forest's enchanted circle, the signifiers of the Blair Witch myth). The mockumentary strengthens the film by showing us the outside world of the events, the context and apparatus from which the students disappeared, making their trauma less abstract, more real. It is so rational and comforting, filled with family, friends, and experts, that it makes the disappearance all the more bewildering and shocking.
It is alleged that this mockumentary was shown for real on a factual US television station. While I find this hard to believe, I've been asking myself how I'd have dealt with it in those conditions. I'm not surprised people were taken in - it's brilliantly made and acted, a spot-on recreation of a certain kind of programme-making, right down to the amusingly portentous music, used like double spacing after a paragraph. The only false note is the 1940s footage of the killer, which clearly looks like it was filmed recently.
If I'd seen this mockumentary - and I generally avoid UNSOLVED MYSTERIES-type TV - I don't think I'd have been as moved as I was at the film. The story itself is very compelling, and I love the whole creation of a myth to the extent that I can't believe now that the Blair Witch never existed.
But only fiction can created the character and empathy needed for true horror to succeed; the film reclaims the personal absent (necessarily) from this 'documentary'. CURSE has other points to make - the idea of both history and documentary (the recording of that history) as fabrication; the persistant cultural fear of independent women; the tensions and perversions of small town life; the Gothic strangeness, regardless of the supernatural, or life on the US margins; the deep failure of American masculinity, from Heather's film school teacher to the Sherrif. A lovely document, vastly preferable to THE X-FILES.
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