The final shot of The Blair Witch Project is haunting. It's Michael standing in a corner, turned away so he won't see the terrible thing about to happen to Heather, who is holding the camera. However, in a new interview, the filmmakers explained that was almost changed before release.
The final image of The Blair Witch Project. Image: Artisan
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, co-directors Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez explained that the film's ending basically came out of two things: Lack of money and need for something weird.
"There needed to be some kind of what-the-f—k moment at the end, but at the same time we didn't want to see a person in a bad witch costume come out and grab them," said Myrick.
"We didn't have any money, so we couldn't do any special effects so we had to figure out how to end it without ruining the rest of the film," Sanchez added. "We came up with the idea three days before we shot it. We thought it was great — kind of unexplained, but it gave you the idea that something supernatural was happening."
However, after Artisan picked up the film out of Sundance and started testing it, many audience members were confused by the ending. Scared, but confused. So the filmmakers were given a bit more money to shoot some new endings.
"We went back to that house with a skeleton crew and basically just shot all the endings that Ed and I threw out when we were dreaming up the script," said Myrick. That included "Mike hanging from a noose, crucified on a wooden stick man, and with a bloodied chest."
Of course, none of those made it into the movie, but one extra thing they shot did. They did a quick pick up explaining that Rustin Parr, one of the people who killed on behalf of the witch, put his victims in a corner. It gave the ending just enough grounding and context that the executives finally said they could keep it.
And the rest is history.