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ONE GOOD SCARE: Fear the Dark of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

They’re the movies that keep you up at night double checking inside the closet, under the bed, right over your shoulder. They’re the movies that make you scream, and capture your imagination. They’re the most terrifying movies ever made. But why? What do these movies do to your brain? What primal emotions do they tap into? What is about them that gives you… one good scare?

As if anybody needed a reason not to want to go into the woods, we got the greatest argument against camping ever back in 1999 with The Blair Witch Project. Made on a shoestring budget and largely improvised by the three lead actors, the film ushered in a new era of found-footage horror movies that tried but couldn’t quite reach the levels of fright. The fact that loads and loads of people thought the movie was actually real certainly added to its mystique. But, what were the circumstances that led audiences to believe in this new legend? And why is it still the undisputed king of making us afraid of the dark?

To help me get to the bottom of this, I’m joined by several experts in the field of scary things: James Allen McCune, the star of this year’s Blair Witch; Margee Kerr, a sociologist who studies fear and the author of Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear; Ryan Turek, a longtime horror journalist and current director of development at Blumhouse Productions; Clarke Wolfe, the host of Collider Nightmares and a friend and correspondent of this parish; Jill Killington, a horror author and director; and Daniel Montgomery, the artistic director of Creep LA, Los Angeles’ preeminent interactive horror experience. Everybody came to the movie in different ways and we’re all scared of it for different reasons, but we can all agree on one thing: This movie is frightening as hell.

Check out the first episode of One Good Scare about The Exorcist, and let us know what you think in the comments below!


Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. He writes the weekly look at weird or obscure films in Schlock & Awe. Follow him on Twitter!

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