Noted English muffin addict Stephen King is prompting all kinds of pop-culture worlds to collide in my mind lately. Watching Matt LeBlanc’s memed Friends reunion appearance reminded me of how Joey Tribbiani found The Shining to be so scary that he kept the book in his freezer, and King has (presumably) revealed himself to be a fan of HBO’s Mare of Easttown and even accurately predicted who killed Erin McMenamin in the Kate Winslet-starring limited series. King wasn’t so keen to gobble up a certain horror movie, though, back in the day.
The film, The Blair Witch Project (1999), is a movie that King has discussed before, but the subject came up again on Eli Roth’s History of Horror series on Shudder. Via Dread Central, King revealed (and this may have partially been due to being “doped up” in the hospital after an accident) that he couldn’t finish the movie in one sitting:
“The first time I saw [The Blair Witch Project], I was in the hospital and I was doped up. My son brought a VHS tape of it and he said, ‘You gotta watch this.’ Halfway through it, I said, ‘Turn it off it’s too freaky.’”
I gotta admit, that movie’s found-footage approach felt so novel and realistic back in 1999 that the movie spooked me, too, especially during that moment where a lead character was made to stand in a corner by the witch. Yikes! King didn’t get there in the first run, but he eventually made it through the whole film and even lived to write an essay about Blair Witch Project in a 2010 footnote to Danse Macabre, as transcribed by Bloody Disgusting years ago. Here’s what King wrote about the film’s final moments:
“Finally, [Heather] plunges down to the basement, where one of the hokey stories they were told before their rash entry into the woods turns out to not be bullsh*t after all. Michael (or is it Josh?) stands in the corner, dumbly waiting for the thing from the woods to do what it will. There is a thud as that unseen thing falls on Heather from behind. The camera drops, showing a blurred nothing. The film ends. And if you’re like me, you watch the credits and try to escape the terrified ten-year-old into whom you have been regressed.”
I don’t know about you, but it sure feels like time to go put that old VHS copy of The Blair Witch Project in the freezer.