10 Fun Facts You May Not Have Known About The Original ‘Blair Witch Project’

After almost two decades, the Blair Witch franchise will return to scare the world as the third film opens in theaters this weekend. While Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 hurt the franchise more than helping it, the original film from 1999 set a new standard in horror. Many people may not have seen it, but for those who have, it’s time to learn 10 things that you may not have known about The Blair Witch Project.

For a film that had a budget of just $60,000, The Blair Witch Project was able to pull in more than $248 million at the worldwide box office. With the “found footage” came a movie that shocked and scared the world, and it’s time to learn some fun facts about how it succeeded.

1. The script wasn’t really much of a script: Writers/directors/editors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick always planned for the majority of the dialogue to be improvised. When they wrote it, they wrote up a 35-page outline, and that was pretty much all the cast members were given to shoot the movie.

2. There was a lot of footage shot in a short amount of time: In all, the shoot for The Blair Witch Project took a mere eight days, but the crew ended up with 19 hours of usable footage. From there, the footage was trimmed down to just 81 minutes for the finished film.

[Image by Artisan Entertainment]

3. Mike was most frightened by the sounds of the kids: Sanchez taped the sounds of the kids that lived across the street from his mother. While the group is in the woods, they hear children outside their tent on a few nights, and that was one of the things that scared Mike the most.

4. Less food equaled higher anxiety: As the shoot went on, the film crew provided less and less food to the cast each day. This was done on purpose so that anxiety would keep rising and the tensions between Mike, Heather, and Josh would be elevated and real.

5. The cast did not know a lot of things that were going to happen: Each day, the cast would get GPS coordinates to go to in the woods, where they would find milk crates with plastic containers. Upon opening them up, they would each learn what they were to do for that day and the basic outline of their tasks.

[Image by Artisan Entertainment]

Also, that tent shaking scene where the cast was woken up in the middle of the night? None of them knew it was going to happen, and the crew did it unexpectedly to get their natural reactions on film.

6. That bundle found by Heather included real teeth and real hair: In keeping with the realism of the film, a lot of the props were legit. After Josh goes missing, Heather finds a small bundle which includes some teeth, blood, and hair.

Film School Rejects stated that the teeth inside were real and presented by Eduardo Sanchez’s dentist, while the hair was truly from Josh’s head.

7. Many many people believed the film was real and that the three actors were dead: The viral marketing campaign was so convincing that many people thought the film was real and more of a documentary than a movie. Once it was over, there was a lot of concern raised by movie-goers who truly thought that Heather, Mike, and Josh were dead.

[Image by Artisan Entertainment]

8. Bad words are said… a lot: For a movie that didn’t have an actual script, there was a lot of casual and everyday conversation between all those involved. The word “f**k” is actually uttered a grand total of 154 times in The Blair Witch Project.

9. The film convinced so many people that Heather Donahue’s mom got sympathy cards: As reported by Paper Mag, many people thought that the film was indeed real and the things that happened truly did happen.

[Image by Artisan Entertainment]

People began reaching out to Heather Donahue’s family to see how they were dealing with her death, and her mom started getting sympathy cards.

10. There was indeed a safety word: Considering the majority of the film was improvised, there was some difficulty knowing when they were acting and when everyone was just talking. In order to break character, the cast members would have to first say “taco.”

The Blair Witch Project brought a new level of scary entertainment to the table in 1999, and it really taught the film world a lot about viral marketing. If you haven’t ever seen the film or haven’t watched it in quite some time, revisit it and look for all of these little fun facts and Easter Eggs. After that, skip over Book of Shadows and head to the theater to watch Blair Witch, as it seems the horror has truly returned.

[Featured Image by Artisan Entertainment]

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