ByTom Chapman, writer at Creators.co
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

The horrorverse is unanimous that 1999's is one of the best films to grace our screens. Kickstarting the found footage obsession in films, The Blair Witch Project paved the way for box-office successes like REC and Cloverfield, evolving into the likes of the Paranormal Activity films. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez's film terrified cinema-goers to the point of fainting and went on to become one of the most successful independent films of all time on a budget of just $60,000.

While viewers were left in the dark for the majority of the film, the directors decided that the ending wasn't going to be any different. The film ends as Heather enters the basement of the creepy house, only to find Mike blankly staring at the wall. Heather is then attacked from behind and we cut to black as the camera hits the floor. While it may seem like the perfect jump-scare ending, Myrick and Sanchez have now revealed that we nearly had a very different take of the finale.

Into The Woods

'The Blair Witch Project' [Credit: Artisan Entertainment]
'The Blair Witch Project' [Credit: Artisan Entertainment]

Artisan Entertainment was unimpressed when perplexed test audiences didn't understand the ending, so decided to send Myrick and Sánchez back into the woods for a second shot. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the duo spoke out about the process:

"They wanted us to do something more definitive. 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."

While clearly one alternate ending wasn't enough, the directors really went to town to craft a myriad of different ideas. In particular, they filmed scenes of Mike hanging from the ceiling, Heather discovering his mutilated corpse, and perhaps the most interesting concept, Mike crucified on a Wicker Man-esque figurine.

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If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

'The Blair Witch Project' [Credit: Artisan Entertainment]
'The Blair Witch Project' [Credit: Artisan Entertainment]

Still maintaining that they could use their original "Mike at the wall" ending, the pair also shot another scene that attempted to make more sense of it:

"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."

Ultimately, the team was unanimous that their original idea and the WTF supernatural tease was the best way to close The Blair Witch Project:

“What makes us fearful is something that’s out of the ordinary, unexplained,” says Myrick. “The first ending kept the audience off balance; it challenged our real world conventions and that’s what really made it scary.”

By returning to the original ending and leaving the film open-ended, The Blair Witch's conclusion stuck with us much longer. The faux horror-documentary continued its legacy into last year's secret sequel but nothing will ever top the thrill of when we first took a stroll into the woods in 1999.

Check out the trailer for The Blair Witch Project and check out our poll below!

Poll

Which 'Blair Witch' ending is your favorite?

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)

[Poll Image Credit: Artisan Entertainment]


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