October 31, 2016 Leave a comment
When I was just a young lad of about 14 years old, I came across a story on the internet about a group of twenty-something who went on a literal documentary style witch hunt and died a mysterious death. And pretty soon their footage was going to be in a theater near me. I was hooked. This was REAL! I was so excited, I logged off of the internet so I could make a phone call to a friend to tell him we HAVE to see this!
This, of course, shows just how damn old I am, but more importantly how vulnerable we once were to brilliant advertising techniques. I am talking of course about the now legendary horror film we all know and love known as The Blair Witch Project. A truly classic film that, in all sincerity, could not truly be replicated, ever. “Found Footage” or handicam oriented pictures have come since, but none of them have been able to, or even tried to, convince us that this was some REAL stuff. And I feel so bad for anyone who was not able to feel that very real sense of terror. The film recently had a very successful sequel hit theaters, so we were very excited to be able to get a few words out of one of the film’s original creators, Mr. Daniel Myrick, who has gone on to do some more amazing work in the last couple of decades since The Blair Witch Project came into fruition. Besides creating one of the highest profit margins imaginable in the world of film, Myrick has continued to bring some amazing work to screen. So please enjoy a few words with the legendary Daniel Myrick!
What made you decided to enter the world of filmmaking, and more specifically the world of horror filmmaking? Was it always a dream of yours?
I’ve always loved movies. When I was a kid my mom bought me my first still camera where I learned how to start thinking in terms of telling stories visually. Eventually, that led to a video camera where I started shooting short films. I’ve always liked the sci-fi/horror/thriller genre and grew up on great films that inspired me at a young age. And yes, it was always a dream to make movies.
It really seems like today’s generation of younger audiences could never fathom the success behind The Blair Witch Project. It truly was our generation’s War of the Worlds, having us all freak the hell out about this “found footage” and going to a theatre to be scared absolutely shitless. Do you feel like something like BWP could happen again? Is it a surreal experience knowing you were a part of something so historical?
I think anything is possible. Blair Witch came along when everyone was getting pretty set in their ways in the horror genre, so it shook things up in a big way. No reason why it couldn’t happen again. And yes, it was (and is surreal) being that Blair was always a ‘small’ movie, by design. We never expected it to become so huge.
What were those initial years like coming off of the surprise success of The Blair Witch Project? Was there a feeling of like, “Well, what the hell do we do now?”
Oh, yeah. Ed and I did a 180 and wanted to go out and do a comedy. Partly out of not wanting to try and jump back into the same genre due to the inevitable comparisons that would be made. However, I consider myself very fortunate to have had such a success in my career and it makes me feel great to know it had such an effect on so many people.
While I absolutely adore The Blair Witch Project, I must confess that I have been truly impressed with the work you have helped get out into the world that may not be as historic. You are the man who brought films like Rest Stop and Sublime to us. You seem to definitely have a gift as a producer as well. So, what are you looking for when you are looking for films to bring to the world of horror? What sort of characteristic are you searching for in a film? Beyond possible profitability, of course.
I like concepts/films that challenge convention. Provocative subjects are what get me excited and I like to try and bring those kinds of stories to the screen, as well as being unpredictable. That’s when it’s really a fun ‘ride’ for me, when you’re not exactly sure where things are going to end up.
I also remember enjoying your 2008 film Solstice quite a bit. You managed to shoot a brilliantly terrifying performance from Elisabeth Harnois that was spectacular. Can you tell us how this project came to life? Where did this surreal story come from in your mind? Is it any way from personal experiences?
Solstice was based on a foreign film called Midsummer. I was approached to write and direct by producer Bill Block (one of the producers at Artisan that bought Blair) and ultimately landed at Endgame Entertainment. It was a great experience to work with Elisabeth. We hit it off immediately during the auditions and really wanted to have a character driven ‘horror/thriller’.
The full fledged reboot of The Blair Witch is now out, in which you were an executive producer for. Can you tell us anything about the premise of this film? What should an anticipating viewer prepare for?
It’s much more in keeping with the original style and mythology of the original, which both Ed and I appreciate. I really like the idea of a whole new generation of film goers having a Blair Witch film to call their own.
Do you have any big plans for this coming Halloween? Any traditions with the family and what not?
I’ve got two kids, so Halloween is a big deal every year. Fortunately, for us, the street above us goes nuts and has a massive ‘block party’ that we always attend. It’s a blast.
What is your favorite scary movie?
Good question and hard to answer. Definitely classics like The Exorcist and The Shining rank up there. But on any given day, Jacob’s Ladder and Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer are still some of the best ever.
What was the last thing that made you a smile?