In an interview with Entertainment Weekly on Wednesday, the co-directors of the 1999 classic found footage horror film The Blair Witch Project revealed that they filmed several alternate endings.
“We went back to that house with a skeleton crew and basically just shot all the endings that Ed [Sanchez] and I threw out when we were dreaming up the script,” Dan Myrick told EW, then listed other endings, such as Mike (played by Michael C. Williams) hanging from a noose or crucified with a bloody chest. These had to be done cheaply, as The Blair Witch Project had a budget of $60,000. (It ended up making $249 million at the box office, but nobody could have predicted that.)
In the interview, they demonstrated the latter with a sketch of crucified bodies on fire on top of wood structures resembling the film’s instantly recognizable doll figurines. The lurid image makes it seem as though the ending of the film might once have been more dramatic and gory. However, as dug up by /Film, a short video of this ending has been available on YouTube for years. It is... lame.
No offense, but I’ve never been less freaked out by a crucifixion. He’s like two inches off of the floor?
There are also three other alternate endings available on YouTube, including one with the noose, one of Mike looking directly into the camera, and one that looks pretty much the same as the original, minus some drama in the final camera crunch.
Honestly, thank goodness none of these made it to screen! Obviously they couldn’t have been as wild as the sketch made it seem — given the budget constraints — but as a huge fan of this movie it makes me sweaty and anxious to think of swapping any of these for what ended up in the theatrical cut. It also gives me a new respect for the savvy choice the filmmakers made when they picked out that final shot.
The existing ending is iconic: terrifying not because it has any gruesome special effects or gore (it’s just a guy, facing a wall), but because of the sinking dread of realizing that it calls back to a terrifying story told earlier in the film. On top of that, the shaky camera that shuts off when it gets destroyed by a mysterious force, became a horror genre standard.