Nothing That Is: The Blair Witch Controversies

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"Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez’s The Blair Witch Project seemingly appeared from nowhere to become one of 1999’s highest grossing films. While generating revenue as a low budget movie backed by a media blitz, The Blair Witch Project also generated controversy and made a mockery of the Hollywood industry, billing itself as ""real"" footage of a supernatural event. Critics were divided over some of the most basic of questions: whether the film was an artistic success or the product of its hype and whether it challenged Hollywood conventions or
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Overview

"Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez’s The Blair Witch Project seemingly appeared from nowhere to become one of 1999’s highest grossing films. While generating revenue as a low budget movie backed by a media blitz, The Blair Witch Project also generated controversy and made a mockery of the Hollywood industry, billing itself as ""real"" footage of a supernatural event. Critics were divided over some of the most basic of questions: whether the film was an artistic success or the product of its hype and whether it challenged Hollywood conventions or succumbed to them in the end.

Nothing That Is: The Blair Witch Controversies examines these and other debates, and raises some of its own about American taste for horror, hoax, independent films, and the direction of cinema in the twenty-first century. The book explores the modest origins and rapid demise of this independent film- while also analyzing the sensational results of its broad media discourses—a Web site developing the back story of The Blair Witch Project was one of the most-accessed sites on the entire Internet at the time of the movie's release.

These essays, from many diverse perspectives, also look at The Blair Witch Project’s manipulation of cinematic codes, its view on technology and the occult, its film progenitors, and even its effects on the film’s setting of Burkittsville, Maryland. Nothing That Is will interest both film scholars and fans of this unexpected blockbuster that emerged from, if not ""nothing,"" a complex brew of culture, technology, and ingenuity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814330647
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Series: Contemporary Film and Television Ser.
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 9
Introduction: The Blair Witch Controversies 11
1 The Blair Witch Project: Film and the Internet 37
2 "Nothing That Is Not There and the Nothing That Is": Language and the Blair Witch Phenomnon 53
3 The Political Economy of the Indie Blockbuster: Fandom, Intermediality, and The Blair Witch Project 65
4 "People Just Want to See Something": Art, Death, and Document in Blair Witch, The Last Broadcast, and Paradise Lost 87
5 The Blair Witch Project: Technology, Repression, and the Evisceration of Mimesis 111
6 Transgressing the Safe Space: Generation X Horror in The Blair Witch Project and Scream 125
7 The Blair Witch Project: Expulsion from Adulthood and Versions of the American Gothic 145
8 Mom and the Blair Witch: Narrative, Form, and the Feminine 163
9 Ghostly Imagination, History, and Femininity at Centuries' Ends: The Turn of the Screw and The Blair Witch Project 181
10 Dracula and The Blair Witch Project: The Problem with Scientific Empiricism 197
11 In Search of Burkittsville 217
12 Lostness (Blair Witch) 229
Contributors 245
Index 249
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