As Blair Witch hits theaters this weekend, many newcomers to the series will have questions about the mythology hinted at in the film. The Blair Witch Project was a phenomenon when it hit in 1999, and produced a ton of supplementary content. Most of this was to keep up the idea that the original film was real. Let’s look back at some of the extra content that helped flesh out the world of the Blair Witch.
The real kick-off to the Blair Witch phenomenon was the original blairwitch.com. Launching a year before the film premiered, the website included bios on all the characters as well as supposed photos of the doomed trio preparing for their expedition. There were also clips from the film presented like pieces of “found footage”. The website worked incredibly well, especially in the early years of the internet when verifying information was a little tougher. The Blair Witch Project is often credited with creating the idea of “viral marketing,” and the original website was the forerunner of that entire strategy.
Curse of the Blair Witch
A few weeks before The Blair Witch Project premiered, the Sci-Fi Channel aired the Curse of the Blair Witch. The documentary explored the disappearance of the crew and the history of the Blair Witch legend. This acted as a precursor to the film and even came out on VHS shortly after the film’s release. Much like the website, it offered a glimpse into the various legends and horrific events that surrounded the town of Burkittsville. It even featured some footage from the film, interviews with people who knew the missing filmmakers, and footage from a faux ’70s television show called Mystic Occurrences.
The Video Games
This trilogy of PC games is probably one of the stranger pieces of tie-in material for the series. The series was something of a spin-off from the survival horror game Nocturne, featuring a few characters from that story. The three games each take place in different time periods and cover the three main stories from the Blair Witch mythos: the history of Elly Kedward, the murder at Coffin Rock, and the Rustin Parr killings. The games are filled with bizarre creatures that would never appear in any other tie-in material. The biggest revelation in the games is the antagonist, an evil Native American spirit named Hecaitomix. This spirit is meant to be the cause for all the supernatural events in the Burkittsville woods.
The Burkittsville 7
The Burkittsville 7 was another faux documentary that examined the seven children that Rustin Parr murdered. A supernatural influence supposedly drove Parr to kill the children. Using footage from a mental institution, the film examines Kyle Brody, the only survivor of Parr’s brutal murders. The Burkittsville 7 premiered with The Blair Witch Project when it aired on Showtime. The entire documentary is available above.
The Comic Books
In the wake of the film’s popularity, a few publishers came out with related comic books. Oni Press released a one-shot and then a four-part miniseries that covered adaptations of the main Blair Witch legends. Later, Image Comics released their own comic that told the story of Rustin Parr’s childhood friend Davis Crane. The Image Comics story featured art from Charlie Adlard who would later become famous for his work on The Walking Dead.
The Blair Witch Files
This series of YA horror novels might be the most obscure offshoot of the series. Cade Merrill, a cousin of Heather Donahue, purportedly wrote the books. Cade collects various stories about Burkittsville and the strange happenings that have occurred over the years. The stories are all very R.L. Stine-esque but offer some interesting ideas like the possibility of the Blair Witch having a daughter. The most infamous part of these novels was the contest to be included in the third film. I wonder if Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett honored that?