The sequel to The Blair Witch Project was released this weekend and apparently many of you either hated it or just chose not to go see it. As you know, many of us (but not all of us) here at Bloody Disgusting were huge fans of the film, but that’s the beauty of opinions, right? Everybody’s got one.
As evidenced by it’s opening weekend take of $9.6 million (almost double its production budget but nowhere near what it needed to make to cover all the money Lionsgate spent marketing the film), horror fans did not turn out in droves to see Blair Witch like so man analysts predicted they would. Perhaps it was all of the negative reviews that started pouring in for it late last week, or the D+ CinemaScore it received from audiences (though it should be noted that the original received a C+ CinemaScore back in 1999), but for some reason people just did not want to go see this movie.
For those of you that didn’t make it to the theater this weekend, but are still considering seeing the film, I decided to help refresh your memory on the mythology of the Blair Witch franchise. The original came out 17 years ago, so you’d be forgiven if your memory is a little fuzzy.
1. The Blair Witch’s name is Elly Kedward.
Kedward was accused of witchcraft in 1785 and was sentenced to execution. Rather than hang her, the residents of Blair (now Burkittsville), Maryland took her out into the woods and tied her to a tree. She was left to die of exposure. Despite being tied to a tree, her body was never found.
2. She has a penchant for killing children.
Turns out the townsfolk were right about Kedward, but they royally pissed her off by executing her. Of course, she didn’t die, and instead continued to sneak into town and kidnap the children of the parents who sentenced her (she’s basically a female Freddy Krueger but without the dream powers). The children were never seen again, unless you count all of the handprints in Rustin Parr’s house (more on that in a bit).
3. Five men were ritualistically murdered at Coffin Rock.
In 1886 a young girl named Robin Weaver went missing. She returned to town three days later, unharmed, and told the residents that the witch was capable of floating in the air. Her feet never touched the ground. The search party that went looking for Robin consisted of five men. Those men were ritualistically murdered at Coffin Rock in the woods. Their bodies were found nude, tied together and disemboweled with Pagan symbols carved into their foreheads. A different search party found their bodies and then went to get help. When they returned, the men’s bodies had disappeared.
4. In the 1940s, the Blair Witch made Rustin Parr murder seven children.
Parr is the most famous victim of the witch’s powers. Parr was a hermit who kidnapped eight children and brought them back to his house in the woods. He would bring two of the children into his basement and murder one of them while making the other stand in the corner and face the wall. He only left one alive, a young boy named Kyle Brody. Parr claimed that he did all of this under the orders of the Blair Witch. She eventually told him that she would release him if he went into town and told everyone what he did, so that is exactly what happened. He was tried and hanged, and the parents of his victims went and burned down his house.
5. Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams and Joshua Leonard disappeared in the October of 1994.
Heather, Michael and Josh were three college students who went into the Black Hills to film a documentary on the Blair Witch. The last footage of Michael was of him standing in the corner just like Rustin Parr’s victims (see above image). All three students disappeared and were never seen again, but their footage was found one year later and is the subject of the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project. 2016’s Blair Witch will follow Heather’s brother James as he heads into the woods with his friends to try to find his sister almost 20 years after she disappeared.
6. The Blair Witch is said to be half human and half animal.
This is one of the goofier aspects of the legend, but a woman living in Burkittsville in 1994 told Heather Donahue and her two cameramen that she had seen the witch before. She claimed that the witch was a hairy beast, and not fully human at all.
7. The Blair Witch uses cairns mark her victims for death.
Cairns are just piles of stones typically used as burial monuments. Heather, Michael and Josh came upon seven cairns when they were filming their documentary, signifying the graves of the seven children that Rustin Parr murdered. The next day they found three cairns at their campsite, letting them know that the witch had marked them for death.
8. The Blair Witch uses stick figures to warn her victims that she is coming for them.
Not much is known about the stick figures that the witch hangs in the trees of the Black Hills, but it seems to be a warning to travelers in the woods. It could also be that they are voodoo dolls of some sort, as evidenced by a rather spoiler-y moment in the trailer for the new film.