Fifteen years ago this week, on July 16, 1999, moviegoers were stunned by a little Sundance-approved movie called "The Blair Witch Project
," which purported to be the newly-discovered footage of three documentarians who disappeared in the Maryland woods while investigating an old ghost story. Those who hadn't been paying attention were fooled by the film's clever marketing to believe its frightening footage was real, and soon, what began as a $60,000 mockumentary became a $248 million worldwide horror hit. What's more, the movie launched an entire subgenre of "found footage" films, most of them similar frightfests supposedly made by documentarians who themselves fell victims to the horrors they were filming.
"Blair Witch" may have kicked off the current wave of found footage films, but it wasn't the first; that would be 1980's famous fake, "Cannibal Holocaust
." Nor are all found footage films horror movies (the current sci-fi/family film release "Earth to Echo," for example, is a found footage flick that's not a spine-tingler), though horror and thriller filmmakers have made the best use of the gimmick. In honor of "The Blair Witch Project," here's a tour through the genre's highs and lows. Watch your step, and if something scares you, make sure to get a nice, shaky, fuzzy picture of it.
WARNING: Some of these trailers are not for the faint of heart!