Posted by Brandon Meyers
@Brandon
Brandon Meyers

I was completely shocked when the news broke that upcoming film The Woods was in fact the newest installment of The Blair Witch Project franchise. I wasn't the only one surprised by this news, the internet went completely crazy at the announcement and the movie was trending on twitter within minutes. I and many others never thought this movie was something that would happen, which makes this surprise even more effective as a marketing tool. Of course I've heard rumors online over the years but that's exactly what they were: rumors. Nothing official or even semi-reliable ever really came down the pipeline. As much as I love the Blair Witch Project, there is a lot of hate for the series so I never really expected a studio to want to touch it again. The highly panned sequel seemed to close the coffin on my beloved Blair Witch (and being honest here, I'm one of the few who really enjoyed Book of Shadows — yes, I do own it). One of the main themes of the franchise is fear of the unknown. A lot of things in the films happen mysteriously and the presence of the witch is strong, but we never actually see her.

Right?

Kind of. It really depends on how you look at it and what media you take into account. Let's start this off simple with sources directly from the film, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 to be exact. We all know (probably) that the Blair Witch was Elly Kedward a witch who was banished to the woods of the Black Hills and killed. She then cursed the land and proceed to haunt and kill those who enter her realm. In Book of Shadows there are two characters who are writing a book on Elly and the Blair Witch legend. These characters are Tristan and her husband Stephan, the couple actually have an original portrait of Elly seen in act one of the film.

Portrait of Elly
Portrait of Elly

This obviously isn't the most exciting thing and hardly scratches the "What does the witch look like?" itch, but it is a canon in film representation of her. The witch only manifests on a physical level once in this movie and it is through the slow takeover of Tristan's possession until she is a full-blown witch puppet (again).

Tristan after leading the circle
Tristan after leading the circle

This has the same problem as the last example as it just kind of doesn't count. Sure, it's the witch and yeah, she's right there on screen, but we still cant see her. So now let's move onto something a bit more obscure, the Blair Witch Project video games. That's right! there are video games based on this franchise, three to be precise.

  • Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr
  • Blair Witch Volume 2: The Legend of Coffin Rock
  • Blair Witch Volume 3: The Elly Kedward Tale

These game are very rare now, released only for PC about 15 years ago, they can't even be found on Steam (fingers crossed they will be soon). The first two games cover events mentioned in the movies while the third game is an origin story for Elly Kedward. Hardcore horror gamers actually give these games positive reviews so if that's your bag you can always hunt them down. While never appearing directly herself (as usual) there are some pretty strange creatures running around in these games.

Blair Witch Volume 2: The Legend of Coffin Rock
Blair Witch Volume 2: The Legend of Coffin Rock

That really takes the stick men to a whole new level. Like I said, it isn't the witch herself, but i think it's pretty safe to assume this is a physical manifestation of the witch and her power — kind of an avatar of sorts. Another source we have is the few Blair Witch Project comics that have been released.

Issue 1
Issue 1

The witch does appear throughout the different series and is seen during her living days. The comics give a lot more backstory for the town of Burkitsville and the franchise universe in general.

None of this has really given me enough info about the witch though. At least her physical appearance after her death — and who knows maybe she just doesn't have one. It would make sense since she is a vengeful spirit. That being said, the closest we have come to seeing the true form of the Blair Witch and closest we may ever be are these.

Design 1
Design 1
Alternate Design
Alternate Design

These figures were designed by Todd McFarlane for the Movie Maniacs series and are his representations of what the witch would look like. While not officially part of canon they are licensed and created by a very famous artist, McFarlane being most well known for his major contributions to the Spawn franchise. I personally am very fond of the first design although only with the hood still on.

It's hard to tell if the witch will show herself in the new film for better or for worse. Fear of the unknown is a powerful thing and is what worked so well for the originals. I would be excited to catch a good glimpse of ol' Elly, but only if she had a great design. Either way the trailer is looking like this movie is going to be fantastic! I've actually had these films on in the background while making this article and it's been a blast writing it, hope you enjoyed!

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