So once upon a mid/late nineties time, I had a famous relative who would get a lot of fan mail. Most of it was the usual stuff… underpants, locks of hair, photographs of their dog, friendship pendant halves… creepy and stalkerish, but nothing all that terrifying. What I guess the fans never knew is that the sheer volume of mail meant that a lot of the crap they would send would end up in the garbage, the donation bin, or MINE.
One day, a padded envelope arrived. It was a battered home movie tape with a handwritten label. I’d never heard of the title, but was a bit of a movie buff so thought I would give it a go. This was waaaay before it was easy to download movies, and even before DVDs were common. You could still see where the sticky tape had been put over the anti copy tab.
A few days later, I had the house to myself for the night. The perfect time to watch the battered VHS tape with the handwritten label. I locked the doors. I got a blanket. I made popcorn. Then, because I am very safety conscious, I got my teddy. And pressed play.
What followed was one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences of my life. The film was fuzzy and filmed on handheld cameras. It looked like a home movie. It didn’t seem like it had been edited at all, ran for over 2 hours. And for at least 75% of the time I was scared out of my wits and absurdly grateful I’d had the forethought to get my teddy.
I have never been so utterly terrified by a film before in my life….
The tape was ‘The Blair Witch Project’.
3 months before release and before any of the hype had started. I had never heard of it and for all intents and purposes, for me, it was real.
BEST way I could have seen the film.
You can bitch about how crap it is all you like, but it was the flagship for ‘found footage’ films, and noone else had quite done anything like it before. Love it or hate it, it had a gigantic impact. And seeing it under those circumstances was what scared the crap out of me. I never saw it in a cinema. I saw it in a dark empty house, not knowing anything about it except what it told me- that it was ‘found footage’ that had arrived on a battered VHS tape in the mail.
Thank you to the mysterious stranger who sent that tape, you fucked me up for life :)
When you’re sitting in a dark theater watching some particularly gory act of horror, it can be easy to forget that it’s all just corn syrup and clever tricks. But every now and then, an especially ingenious special effect—or an especially gullible audience—has prompted police and courts to get involved. Here are five cases where audiences and the authorities became convinced that a horror film or film set might be evidence of a real violent crime.
A quick word of warning: I’ve kept the images in here quite tame, but if you go Googling these films, be sure you have the stomach for what you might find.