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Nothing That Is: Millennial Cinema and the Blair Witch Controversies

Nothing That Is: Millennial Cinema and the Blair Witch Controversies

Wayne State University Press

ISBN: 9780814330647

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A diverse examination of the blockbuster independent film The Blair Witch Project that explores questions about cinema, hoax, media blitz, and American culture. 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 questions: whether the film was an artistic success or the product of its hype, for example, and whether it challenged Hollywood conventions or succumbed to them in the end. Nothing That Is: Millennial Cinema and the Blair Witch Controversies examines these and other debates, and initiates some of its own about American taste for horror, hoax, independent films, the internet, 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 Internet at the time of the movie's release. These essays, written from 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," then a complexbrew of culture, technology, and ingenuity.
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