Commentary Track

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

This week on The Spectator Film Podcast

The Blair Witch Project (1999) 10.12.18
Players: Austin, Maxx

— Notes —

  • The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis by Barbara Creed — If you’re curious to learn more about the Abject/Abjection, seek this book out. Creed continues Clover’s excellent work discussing how gender can express itself in horror films.
  • “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” by Laura Mulvey is one of the seminal essays in the history of film criticism, as is “When the Woman Looks” by Linda Williams. Regardless of your interest in The Blair Witch Project or the horror genre in general, these two essays are highly recommended – this is “must-read” material. Each essays does a tremendous job investigating the importance of vision/the gaze to film viewership, and its direct relationship to character agency.
  • Concerning Heterotopias, we found a number of interesting and useful resources, although the most thorough appears to be heterotopiastudies.com. We emailed Peter Johnson, who runs the site, with some questions about heterotopias in reference to the horror genre; he provided me with several resources he thought might be beneficial:

    Chung, H. J.  (2018) Media Heterotopias Durham NC: Duke University Press

     Chung, H. J.(2012)  ‘Media Heterotopia and Transnational Filmmaking: Mapping Real and Virtual Worlds’. Cinema 51 (4) 87-109.

     Davies, A. (2008) ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos: the Vampire as Embodied Heterotopia’, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 25 (5): 395-403.

  • Here’s the link to a nice, lengthy blog post from slaphappylarry.com that might provide another useful entry point for understanding heterotopias.
  • “The Invisible Monstrous-Feminine: The Blair Witch and Her Heterotopic Woods” by Erez Genish is an essay discussing The Blair Witch Project in reference to the idea of heterotopias; we didn’t quote the essay directly, but finding it is what encouraged us to investigate heterotopias in the first place. It’s worth a look!
  • Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut is a fantastic read, from which we pulled a quote early in the episode. It’s not the most rigorous or reliable study of Hitchcock’s work, but it remains and incredibly enjoyable book.
  • The Blair Witch Project by Peter Turner is a solid introduction into some of the critical discussions taking place regarding The Blair Witch Project, as well as providing some great information on the production of the film.

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