Found footage is, in one way
of thinking, the natural progression of the epistolary novel. Dracula, The Call
of Cthulhu, Frankenstein and many other seminal works of horror are told, at
least partially, through letters and diary entries written by the characters or
newspaper clippings relating to the events.
This method, “discovering” the elements of the story, has been popular
in fiction since at least the late Victorian era.
Cannibal Holocaust is normally counted as the first
true found footage horror film (we can quibble bout if it counts as first,
exactly, but its effectiveness and reach cannot be uestioned). Ruggero Deodato made a film so visceral, so
real, so verite that police and
prosecutors believed it and charged him with murder.
Then, it kind of fizzled. Found Footage just went
away until two film students, Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, created The BlairWitch Project. They reinvented found footage, leading to a boom that would
cause a flood of FF movies-
Without Blair Witch, the world would never have seen
Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, Searching, August Underground, The
Poughkeepsie Tapes, Rec, Lake Mungo, Diary of the Dead, and so many others.
Sanchez and Myrick also managed to change how movies
were marketed. Websites for a movie, “viral” marketing, SEO, whisper campaigns.
They basically made all of that happen. Twenty-five years later we are still
feeling the effects of the Blair Witch Project and Haxan films.
Eduardo Sanchez joined the idiots at Bloodfest the Podcast
to talk about The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly, Haxan, Exists,
Supernatural, Yellowjackets, the future of horror, the WGA strike and much,