31 Days of Wicked Watching [DAY 24]: The Birth of Innovation with a Film I Genuinely Hate

In 1999 a string of marketing flooded the internet, in what would be seen as the first major internet-dominant campaign. Coupled with a cryptic website, “The Blair Witch Project” was born. As the revamp of the found-footage genre, the film brought its viewers as close to reality as they’d ever experienced. The marketing did that as well.

Fast forward 20 years.

The film doesn’t hold.

It was scary in 1999. It was scary probably because of the marketing. It was scary because people thought it was real.

And then it wasn’t.

But it is a classic.

If you want a film that is more worhtwhile for supernatural themes and provides what might be one of the scariest experiences you’ll even experience, then watch “VVItch” or “The Conjuring”–both of which are modern classics.

However, the goal is to watch classics and share what I’m watching. Beyond the found-footage approach and the innovative marketing, this movie won’t be one that’ll reappear in this blog. It is one of my least favorites, but it is one that belongs in the pantheon of horror greats (according to many others). It garnered pretty successful reception, even from Roger Ebert. It is what led to so many more, and more effective, horror films. More effective for their ability to last.

Enjoy and move on.

Published by Patrick R. Johnson

Patrick is a Ph.D. student and graduate instructor in the SJMC. He comes from nearly a decade of teaching high school journalism and English, and an adjunct professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University (where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees). He is a former Dow Jones Distinguished National Journalism Teacher of the Year. His research interests include the intersection of news literacy, journalism ethics, journalism studies, and professional boundary work. He also focuses his attention on issues of deviance within the media industry, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and issues resulting in paradigm repair. Patrick is also deeply passionate about teaching and the role of journalism schools in the professionalization of their students. He focuses a lot of his thinking on mass communication and journalism pedagogy and identifying ways for journalism courses to be both rewarding in content and enriching in skill. He currently teaches Journalistic Reporting and Writing in the SJMC and taught a number of courses at Marquette, including Media Ethics, Visual Communication, Magazine Design and Production, Digital Journalism 1-3, Strategic Communication Writing, and the Journalism Capstone course for the department. His work in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership includes serving as the Journalism Education Association’s Mentor Program Chair, designing curriculum to accompany Pulitzer Prize winning content for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reviewing the Praxis national journalism certification exam, and developing a number of courses at the high school and collegiate levels. Patrick served as a 2021 Public Humanities Intern through the Obermann Center where he worked specifically with University Special Collections to develop public-facing exhibits and curriculum materials related to the Tom Brokaw Collection.

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