The Blair Blog Project – Vol 2: Documentaries

While The Blair Witch project hinted at a larger mythology surrounding the events of the film, it didn’t really go too in depth. Fortunately, an opportunity to explore the legends and events appeared when it was decided to create some new content to promote The Blair Witch Project on Sci-Fi channel prior to its release. The end result of this was the faux documentary “Curse of the Blair Witch”.

Curse of the Blair Witch is a documentary style hour long special that reported on the legend of the Blair Witch and the events of The Blair Witch Project as if they actually occurred. It greatly expands on the backstory of the witch, the woods and the murders surrounding Burkittsville.

It is explained that before Burkittsville existed, in its place stood a town named Blair. In the late 1700’s a woman named Elly Kedward was accused of witchcraft. She was blindfolded and tied to a tree in the forest by the townspeople,who left her out to die in the worst winter in recorded history to that point.  Not long after, the children of the town began disappearing. During the following year, nearly half of the children in town had went missing and the town’s remaining population left, making Blair a ghost town.

hqdefaultSome time later, as the story of Elly had faded from memory, the town was rebuilt as Burkittsville. Everything went along as normal, although strange occurrences of people going missing kept happening around every 50 years or so. These events started to be attributed to the Elly (or the Blair Witch as she came to be known) who was said to haunt the town.

One case attributed to the Witch was the slaughter at Coffin Rock. In 1886, a young girl went missing in the woods outside Burkittsville. A search party was sent out to find the girl, but she actually returned to town before they did, saying a ‘floating woman led her into the woods’. When the search party failed to return, a second party was sent out to bring them back in. Instead, they found the first party all laying on Coffin Rock – hands bound and disemboweled with pagan runes carved across their bodies.

By far, the most famous of these incidents was Rustin Parr’s abduction and murder of seven children in 1940. Parr, a recluse who lived on a mountain near Burkittsville, lured eight children to his home and murdered them in his basement. One boy, Kyle Brody, was made to stand in the corner while Parr killed the others. The next day, for some reason, Parr released Brody and came down to town from the mountain proclaiming “I’m finally finished.” Parr said that he murdered the kids because he heard the voice of the Blair Witch, who instructed him to do it.

Also included are interviews with friends, relatives and acquaintances of the missing Blair Witch Project filmmakers. We get to hear from siblings, significant others and teachers who all expand on what the crew was like and the events leading up to and following the disappearance. It’s also explained how an anthropology class found the footage that became The Blair Witch Project in the foundation of a house that appeared to have been undisturbed for a century.lucan_johnson

Curse of the Blair witch is a very well made special that comes off as a real documentary for the most part. They even go so far as to create a very period-accurate looking 70’s documentary on wiccans that they cut in during certain points. All the actors do a believable job and it really helps with the immersion into the Blair Witch world.

The Burkittsville 7 was created after The Blair Witch Project’s theatrical run, for Showtime because they wanted a special to promote their showings of the film. It focuses specifically on the Rustin Parr incident and especially on Kyle Brody, the only victim of Parr to survive.

The majority of this documentary follows Chris Carrazco, a man who is fascinated by serial killers and especially the Parr case. After collecting and reviewing countless films, articles, books and the like, he has suspicions that Rustin Parr may have not committed the murders but instead they were done or lead by his one living victim, Kyle Brody.

The film lays out a lot of interesting evidence, like the fact that Brody was not murdered and that his testimony was the sole thing that put Parr away. Brody was also a troubled child who tortured animals, and he knew details of some of the abductions Parr had made that he supposedly wasn’t present for. It’s explained that Parr was quite a simpleton and Brody was a brilliant child who had a bad streak.

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After Parr’s execution, Brody continued to have trouble and was put in a psychiatric institution.  Carazco has film footage that shows him reciting some chants that are the same Parr had done, and (possibly) drawing pagan runes which were found all over Parr’s home. There are some pretty good arguments made, but most of the law enforcement members interviewed, along with Brody’s sister, insist that it’s all a bunch of bunk.

The Burkittsville 7 is a very interesting watch that adds a lot of more interesting info into the lore, but it is even less essential than Curse of the Blair Witch is. Since a lot of the special is based around speculation concerning a character not even mentioned in the films, this is one you could easily skip. It’s actually quite good, though, and worth it if you’re interested in this mythology.

Shadow of the Blair Witch was another special created for the Sci-Fi Channel, this time to tie in with the theatrical release of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. Because of this, the main focus is on the sequel, while also trying to not be about the sequel. It is a very, very weird beast.

The idea behind this special is that following the recovery of the Blair Witch Project screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-8-08-53-pmfootage, Artisan Pictures released it into theaters. One fan, Jeff Patterson, became obsessed with the film and wanted to take advantage of the swarms of people traveling to Burkittsville because of the film. Therefore, he started a “Blair Witch Hunt” tours of the woods. One group he took out ended up dead in a manner similar to the Coffin Rock incident and Jeff was up charged with the murders.

So at this point, the documentary acknowledges Blair Witch 2, but says it’s a fictionalized film account based on the Patterson murders. Yes. It pulls out the “This movie is based on the fictional story we’re telling you right now which we claim is real” trick.

So the entire focus is pretty much on Jeff, the murders and his family protesting the film made about him. They touch on two other tour members who are considered accomplices but they blur their faces and never mention their names, most likely to not spoil the movie I guess. They also rehash the whole Blair Witch legend and Rustin Parr stuff for (between these 3 documentaries) the third time.

This documentary is certainly creative in the way it’s constructed, but it really sorta drags with it being about stuff that is mostly completely unrelated to everything else in the franchise. It also tries to ride that line of not actually being about Blair Witch 2, while having to promote Blair Witch 2. It’s a really strange show.

In the end, these documentaries are very interesting and help to really flesh out the world of the Blair Witch universe. With that said, however, they are not essential viewing and aren’t needed to understand the films. If you are curious and want to delve further into the lore, I recommend giving Curse and Burkittsville 7 a shot. Shadow adds very little and isn’t really worth your time.

 

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Curse of the Blair Witch
Directors: Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel MyrickWriters: Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick, Ben Rock

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The Burkittsville 7
Director: Ben Rock
Writer: Ben Rock

 

 

Shadow of the Blair Witch
Director: Ben Rock
Writer: Ben Rock

Note – If you are interested in watching any of these:
Curse of the Blair Witch is a special feature on the Blair Witch Project Blu-Ray
…it’s also here.
The Burkittsville 7 can be found here.
Shadow of the Blair Witch can be found here.
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