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THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is one of the most known Horror movies that there is. Most everyone has heard of it, even if they have not seen the film. One of the things that stuck with people the most was the ending to the movie, leaving a permanent mark in our minds forever.
But what if the ending to the film would have been different? As it turns out, it almost was.
The directors of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, were recently interviewed by EW. When asked about the ending to the film Myrick said:
“When we came up with that ending we had been agonizing over making sure there was a pay-off. We didn’t want to lead the audience on this entire build-up and then just cut to black; there needed to be some kind of what-the-f–k moment at the end, but at the same time we didn’t want to see a person in a bad witch costume come out and grab them.”
Sanchez agrees and added:
“Our big struggle with the movie was always how to end it. We didn’t have any money, so we couldn’t do any special effects so we had to figure out how to end it without ruining the rest of the film. We came up with the idea three days before we shot it. We thought it was great — kind of unexplained, but it gave you the idea that something supernatural was happening.”
Myrick then spoke about how the unexplained element caused some confusion:
“When we screened it, people were overwhelmingly confused. However, when asked if they were scared, 19 out of 20 hands went up.”
Sanchez chimed in with:
“But the distributor, Artisan, was spooked in a will-this-movie-flop kind of way. They wanted us to do something more definitive.”
At that point, Myrick and Sanchez went back out into the woods, as Myrick explains:
“We went back to that house with a skeleton crew and basically just shot all the endings that Ed and I threw out when we were dreaming up the script.”
They also filmed another scene to explain the wall stare down says Sanchez:
“There was one additional pick up. We shot an interview with a guy where he explains a little bit of the mythology of the killer Rustin Parr; how he would make one kid stand in the corner while he killed the others. We felt that if we stuck it in early in the movie there was going to be some audience members that would connect it to the ending.”
Once they brought the footage that they had shot back to the executives, the directors spoke up about their preference for the original ending. Myrick added:
“What makes us fearful is something that’s out of the ordinary, unexplained. The first ending kept the audience off balance; it challenged our real world conventions and that’s what really made it scary.”
Sanchez has a funny memory of an executive saying to them:
“Okay, but it’s going to cost us millions at the box office.’’