FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 19, 2022

SHOCKtober Day 19

One of The Blair Witch Project's greatest strengths is that we never see Ms. Witch. This is not a radical thought, of course. While John Carpenter's The Thing wouldn't be the same without all the The Thing running around in plain sight, Jacques Tourneur (and Kate Bush) knew that "It's in the trees! It's coming!" alone is infinitely more terrifying than actually seeing this dude:

 ...but hey, sometimes producers win arguments!

I'm sure many a horror fan was hugely disappointed when Elly Kedward never showed her face after all that build-up, but for me the build-up is more than enough. We hear about everything she did, all the murders and disappearances and the witchcraft. We see traces of her presence--the sticks, the teeth--though whether they're left by her or meant to ward her away we're not really sure...but we are sure that she's out there, waiting somewhere in the Black Hills Forest.

How could actually seeing her ever live up to the wild spinnings of my imagination? While running through the woods on her last night alive, Heather sees her, maybe. She lets out a blood-curdling "What the fuck is that?!" and I'm so grateful that like Tourneur, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez know that that's enough. Let the mystery be.

Despite this, Ms. Witch is not the biggest mystery roaming around greater Burkittsville! No, I'm afraid that title belongs to today's favorite character...


Other townsfolk say she's "kind of crazy," but hey! She survived an encounter with the Blair Witch, what did those townsfolk ever do? It's because of Mary Brown that we know the Blair Witch is "strange-looking" with hair like a horse! Horse-like hair hat she covers with a shawl! 

After interviewing her, those too cool to care gen xer filmmakers make fun of Mary, who apparently claims she's in the film business, she's a ballerina, she's an historian writing a book about American history, and she's a scientist involved with research at the Department of Energy. Who's to say she hasn't been all of those things at one time or another? What, did Heather, Josh, and Mike need to actually see her pirouetting in a tutu and check her Department of Energy ID badge to believe her?

Actually wait, I wish we did see Mary Brown pirouetting in a tutu and ID badge whilst writing a chapter about the Teapot Dome Scandal or whatever. Huh. I guess Jacques Tourneur didn't know nothin' after all!


Marty said...

Thanks for this annual service. I'm enjoying revisiting my drive-in days. That's where I saw "Pieces", "Evil Dead", and "Burnt Offerings". What parent takes their eight-year-old to see "Burnt Offerings"?

What about "The Horror of Party Beach"? As an adult, it's…not amazing, but when I saw it on Creature Features on a 13" black and white, it gave me early PTSD.

Stacie Ponder said...

My parents took me to the drive in when I was a kid, too! Ah the good ol questionable days :D I've never seen Pieces on the big screen...what a PERFECT drive-in watch. And I've never seen The Horror of Party Beach (great title) at all!

Rupert Cadell said...

100X yes to Mary Brown! Her strange accent, her look, her story. All of it. I think about her way too much. Yikes.

Rupert Cadell said...

And I guess while I'm here: I wonder if anyone's ever made an edit of Night of the Demon without that corny demon. I think it would work.