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Blair Witch Not the First 'Recovered Footage' Flick?

by El Snatcher

1999-08-05 00:15:47

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 Lake County"?

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 farewell monologue.

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"?

Hmmmm. I wonder.

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