There is buzz right now that "The Blair Witch Project"
may have been heavily influenced by an earlier independent
film called "The Last Broadcast." But could it be that BOTH
movies took a page from a weird alien-abduction HOAX
television special that ran on UPN in early 1998?
The New York Post had a story
yesterday about how the guys who did "The Last Broadcast" are going
around claiming that the guys who made "The Blair Witch Project" pretty much
stole their whole concept. "Broadcast" was making the promotional rounds
during the filming of "Blair Witch."
"Broadcast" is an ultra-ultra-low budget film about some wacky public-access TV
people who set off into the woods in search of the legendary "Jersey Devil" in
order to make a documentary. They end up mutilated and dismembered, and the
only evidence of what happened is the recovered footage from the cameras that
they kept rolling during the terrible events.
Gee, that does sound a lot like the Blair Witch Project. It's a little
different, because not only was footage found, but also bits and chunks of the
film crew. There's also a court case involved and some guy convicted of
murder, and some other stuff... so there ARE some big differences.
You can't really blame the "Broadcast" guys from trying to get in on this good
"Blair Witch" stuff somehow.
But how come nobody has mentioned anything about "Alien Abduction: Incident in
It was a television special that aired on UPN in early 1998, but actually
filmed in 1997, about a
family who was besieged by aliens, and eventually abducted. The only
record of what happened was some found footage from a Hi-8 camera that kept
rolling throughout the incident.
Like "Blair Witch" and "Broadcast," it worked on a mainly psychological level.
The aliens conducted a campaign of mental terrorism on the family -- cutting
power to the house, making scary noises, leaving ominous signs, etc. The
members of the family became hysterical, and by the end of the film everyone
was screaming and running around, and generally losing their minds.
There is even a scene in "Lake County" similar to the signature scene in "Blair
Witch" in which one of the members of the film, Heather, turns the camera on
herself and gives a trembling, weepy apology for getting everyone into the
rapidly deteriorating situation. In "Lake County" the teenage boy operating
the camera turns the camera on himself, as he shakes and sobs, giving a sort of
Also, as in the two aforementioned movies, it was not clear to everyone that
the events in "Lake County" did not REALLY HAPPEN. The truth was purposely
obscured by the producers and promoters of the special.
Furthermore, the makers of "Lake County" interspliced segments of real
UFOlogists who gave interviews based on false information about the alien
abduction phenomenon. The UFO community was OUTRAGED by the whole thing, and
one UFO research organization even called for a boycott of
UPN at the time.
At the very least, "Alien Abduction: Incident at Lake County" was
contemporaneous with both "Blair Witch" and "Broadcast." However, it turns out
that the "Lake County" was actually a REMAKE of an earlier film called "Alien
Birthday Party." That was an amateur movie created by a San Francisco State
film student, which was widely circulated among film students, and eventually
made it's way to UPN.
So is it possible that the creators of "Broadcast" and "Blair Witch" could have
gotten some ideas from "Alien Abduction: Incident at Lake County"?