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View Full Version : The Last Broadcast VS The Blair Witch Project



Richard--W
09-17-2012, 08:32 PM
Some people think The Last Broadcast (1998) inspired The Blair Witch Project (1999). Others don't think so. The latter became a megahit, while hardly anyone saw the former. In The Last Broadcast, a couple of public access TV hosts of a program called "Fact or Fiction?" pair up with internet hounds to broadcast an episode live from the deep woods one night. Things go wrong. They are separated, stalked and killed. The one survivor is prosecuted, but he may be innocent. It's a shaky cam pseudo-documentary, only without the witch.

Which do you think is the better film?

sukebanboy
09-17-2012, 08:52 PM
Easy one for me as I hated BLAIR WITCH...except for the last 5 mins.....

Cannibal holocaust STILL beats most shaky cam pseudo-documentary movies ...and probably will FOREVER..

Roderick
09-17-2012, 09:12 PM
Last Broadcast is shite so Blair gets my vote by default.

Alex K.
09-17-2012, 09:55 PM
Cannibal Holocaust.

Paul L
09-18-2012, 05:21 AM
Peter Watkins' THE WAR GAME or PUNISHMENT PARK for me.

But seriously, I don't have the hatred for THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT that some do. I saw it in a cinema before hype machine went into overload and found it fairly effective. The sound design in the last ten minutes was interesting: when I saw it at the cinema, during those last few minutes the volume was cranked up and it created a strong sense of disorientation. I've watched it since (once) on DVD, back in 2000 or 2001, and found it much less effective.

However, out of the two I preferred THE LAST BROADCAST, which again I haven't seen for over ten years, but found that much of what I liked about that film was undone in the last five minutes or so.

THE COLLINGSWOOD STORY was better than both, I think. Of the spate of 'found footage' films in the 2000s, I also preferred ROAD TO L and NOROI: THE CURSE to both BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and LAST BROADCAST.

Ian Jane
09-18-2012, 09:26 AM
I havent seen Last Broadcast in some time but remember enjoying it. I think I'd have to watch it again to vote fairly.

I also remember seeing Blair Witch for the first time, renting the tape and watching it by myself. My living room at the time had glass doors that opened up into the yard and at the back of the yard was where the woods started. The woods were pretty thick and at night you couldn't see much into them at all. So yeah, as I'm watching Blair Witch, I'm thinking about the woods behind me... and how I can't see shit out there and that, huh, maybe someone could be standing out there looking in on me. At any rate, I think that environment made it scarier than it actually was, because it completely freaked me. I've seen it a few times since then and I think it still holds up. I don't get all the hatred for the movie, but obviously it isn't as effective on repeat viewings because you know where it's all going.

Collingswood Story is another one that I really enjoyed, good call on that one Paul.

Ian Jane
09-18-2012, 09:26 AM
Oh and I'm moving this from 'off topic' to 'horror.'

Paul L
09-18-2012, 03:23 PM
Glad someone else enjoyed THE COLLINGSWOOD STORY, Ian: I thought it was quite effective, and it's somewhat sad that it's not reached a wider audience.

I also remember enjoying THE ST FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT. It became a little silly towards the end, but the first half or so was quite atmospheric.

There's a recent-ish Japanese 'found footage' horror film called OCCULT, which is pretty good (imo, of course). It's made by the same filmmaker who directed NOROI: THE CURSE.

Richard--W
09-18-2012, 03:47 PM
Well, I didn't intend for this thread to turn into a discussion of the best quasi-documentary, but I'm pleased to learn about these other films (of course I know about Cannibal Holocust). This is just a which-film-do-you-prefer poll since The Last Broadcast and The Blair Witch Project are linked by more than the quasi-documentary approach. Anyhow, I prefer The Last Broadcast. I think it's the better-made film. There are no three-minute sequences that go blank, and the hand-held camera is always held smartly and not head-ache inducingly shaky.

I'll have to check out THE COLLINGSWOOD STORY and the other films Paul mentioned.

Ian Jane
09-18-2012, 03:59 PM
There are no three-minute sequences that go blank, and the hand-held camera is always held smartly and not head-ache inducingly shaky.

Simply for the sake of debate/discussion, do you think this works in favor of The Last Broadcast and against The Blair Witch Project?

If you think about the situations that the characters are in with BWP, it makes perfect sense that things would 'look' the way they look in the context of the found footage that makes up the movie. I agree with you that it can be headache inducing and dizzying but I think had it been cleaned up a bit, yes, it might have been easier on the eyes and not rocked the viewers equilibrium but on the flipside, I don't think it would have been as effective.

Richard--W
09-18-2012, 06:38 PM
I'm saying the hand-held camera work should have been applied with more discipline in The Blair Witch Project. I understand the impression the filmmakers wanted to create, but they could have created that impression without inept camera work. They went too far with the shaky cam. They shook it, spun it, pointed it up to the sky and down at the dirt too much. I'm not certain it was always intentional. Sometimes it's so bad it's no camera work at all. It achieves neither the effect nor tells the story. Others may disagree, but that was my reaction at theatrical screenings. Same reaction when watching the DVD.

I have no problem with an entire film being shot with a hand-held camera. It creates a sense of urgency and immediacy which can be intensely cinematic. Battle for Algiers and the boat scenes in Jaws come to mind. Kubrick and Polanski always knew when and how to shake a camera. The point in a shaky cam is that every cameraman tries to hold it steady; it's going to shake anyhow, but you minimize it, not maximize it like the directors of The Blair Witch Project did.

I think The Last Broadcast applied the shaky cam more effectively, yes.

sukebanboy
09-18-2012, 08:28 PM
I agree with you Richard..The directors of Blair Witch tried the "this is what would really be filmed if they were amateurs doing home video" type shots...which is a good idea..BUT this is a MOVIE ..to be seen in theTHEATRE where everything is projected bigger than normal....It just doesn't work....They overdid it...

Last 5 mins scared me of Blair Witch..If ALL the movie was so original it would have been GREAT...

Dom D
09-18-2012, 08:35 PM
I agree with you Richard..The directors of Blair Witch tried the "this is what would really be filmed if they were amateurs doing home video" type shots...which is a good idea..BUT this is a MOVIE ..to be seen in theTHEATRE where everything is projected bigger than normal....It just doesn't work....They overdid it...
.

The thing is though it was "amateurs doing home video". Leaving the actors to their own devices with a camera has some drawbacks but it's also what makes the film so real. I don't think you'd want to strip that away from the film.
Also I doubt it was intended to be seen in the theatre. No doubt they had hopes in that direction but I'm guessing they would have been making the film primarily with home viewing in mind. The release they got was a win the lottery deal.

Richard--W
09-18-2012, 11:09 PM
Regardless of the venue, I've always observed that less achieves more, Dom.

sukebanboy
09-18-2012, 11:51 PM
I understand their need to appear as "real" as possible.....but they did too much.....
Everyone knows this is NOT real...and are willing to suspend their beliefs for the 90 odd minutes of a movie.....so no need to overdo the "point it everywhere like its really happeneing" shots....less would be more in htis case...

Ian Jane
09-19-2012, 09:28 AM
I dunno, I think if I were running around the woods scared out of my mind worried that something was trying to kill me, my job as a cameraman would seem less important and I'd be booking it out of there with the camera flying all over the place.

As Richard says, some will disagree, and I'm disagreeing. I see both sides here, and completely understand that to some the amped up shaky cam is irritating. I really do get that. But in the case of BWP it made the whole thing feel more authentic to me.

Gary Banks
09-21-2012, 04:43 PM
After just watching The Last Broadcast it makes TBWP look like a fucking masterpiece. And I pretty much hated Blair except for the final 10 minutes which were great. I may have to rent Blair again.

sukebanboy
09-22-2012, 10:13 AM
After just watching The Last Broadcast it makes TBWP look like a fucking masterpiece. And I pretty much hated Blair except for the final 10 minutes which were great. I may have to rent Blair again.

Shit Gary...I may have to give LAST BROADCAST a watch now to see how bad it is...

Gary Banks
09-22-2012, 05:05 PM
Shit Gary...I may have to give LAST BROADCAST a watch now to see how bad it is...

My apologies...or is that condolences. ;)

Ehren H
09-28-2012, 11:37 PM
I haven't seen Last Broadcast since around the time it came out, but I remember thinking it was worthwhile, nothing great, but I dug it. I personally thought it had more going on for it than Blair Witch, and it actually creeped me out more (as I remember), but I don't think it was a "better" film than BWP. I thought the whole marketing campaign behind Blair Witch Project was absolutely brilliant, and I thought the ending was fantastic. Combine that with the fake case info on the website, and the documentary that came out on the Sci-Fi Channel before the film was released, and you have some pure showmanship. I also, actually liked the sequel, as well.

I voted for Last Broadcast, and in the process of writing this post I've decided to change my vote to Blair Witch Project, actually haha

That said, I liked St Francisville Experiment more than either of those two, a really fun little flick. Then again, I liked Asylum's Paranormal Entity more than I liked Paranormal Activity, so what the hell do I know?

Paul L
09-29-2012, 11:17 AM
Interesting to find someone else enjoyed THE ST FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT, Ehren. I have heard nary a positive word about the film, and to be honest I thought it was pretty good - aside from a clumsy climax.

I haven't seen the Asylum PARANORMAL ENTITY films yet. I saw GRAVE ENCOUNTERS recently, which had a nice setup but then devolved into a series of badly-handled cliches (imo, of course).

Ehren H
09-29-2012, 11:45 AM
St Francisville did get kind of cheesy at times, but I think it all worked when put together. Cool legend, some scenes I thought were actually creepy, and a wacky ending...that adds up to a fun evening for me haha

Paranormal Entity is of course just a full on ripoff of Paranormal Activity, but with a slightly darker storyline, and just more "activity" all around. I was beyond underwhelmed by Activity (which I saw first) but really found myself having fun with the Asylum ripoff, I was as surprised as anyone haha

Paul L
09-29-2012, 04:19 PM
I think FRANCISVILLE worked for me because of the use of the Madam LaLaurie legend. That was nicely delivered at the front end of the film, and set a tone of dread for what was to follow. I don't know how much of that is true, although I believe I'm right in saying that Madam LaLaurie existed, but it's a very interesting 'backstory' for the film. There's an interesting thread on the IMDb about the film (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0218625/board/flat/11674084), which seems to offer some interesting background to the film - but I don't know if any of it's true or not. However, considering that it's an indie picture, and the film pretty much sank without a trace, I don't know if there's any way of verifying what that IMDb poster says - but, if true, it would certainly explain the uneven nature of the picture.

I'll have to check out the PARANORMAL ENTITY films. I recently downloaded the Japanese 'sequel' to PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2: TOKYO NIGHT, which I don't think has had a legit English-friendly release. Has anyone seen that picture.

On the topic of these recent 'found footage' films, has anyone seen THE WICKSBORO INCIDENT from 2003 or thereabouts. I've been interested in watching it for a while, but the only copies I can find are quite expensive. Is it worth tracking down?

Richard--W
09-30-2012, 01:03 AM
THE ST FRANCISVILLE EXPERIMENT and THE WICKSBORO INCIDENT are in the unwatched stack of DVD's. Why I have so many, I don't know. But I will take a look at both films after reading your comments. So far as I know both films are available dirt cheap on amazon.


... Paranormal Entity is of course just a full on ripoff of Paranormal Activity, but with a slightly darker storyline, and just more "activity" all around. I was beyond underwhelmed by Activity (which I saw first) but really found myself having fun with the Asylum ripoff, I was as surprised as anyone haha

Where's the Asylum Entertainment thread?

You gotta hand it to Asylum. They have nerve. They were at their nerviest when they released SNAKES ON A TRAIN the same day SNAKES ON A PLANE opened in theaters. Piggybacking your rip-off on the studio release the day of release takes a brass pair. Or releasing ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS THE ZOMBIES just before ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE SLAYER opened. They must have rushed that one. But they love genre films and deliver a lot of them. Their films aren't much good but you gotta love their spirit, even if the reviews are mostly bad (deservedly so) and even though most viewers stop watching halfway through. Asylum also gives the first-timers they like a chance to make their first films, if the first-timer puts skin in the game.

Guess I'll take a look at PARANORMAL ENTITY.

Ehren H
09-30-2012, 01:12 AM
I find myself enjoying low-budget ripoffs these days far more than the bigger films that they're ripping off. They take more chances, and it seems to just be about cranking out something goofy, fun, and entertaining. I've always loved low-budget, cheap, "Hey! Let's make a movie!" type productions, so maybe I'm just forgiving, but I always seem to have a lot of fun with a lot of this stuff.

Mark Tolch
10-01-2012, 11:37 AM
Watched THE LAST BROADCAST this weekend as a result of reading this thread. What a piece of garbage. Terrible pacing, the narrator/documentarian was terribly bad, and the switched perspective towards the end ruined the documentary aspect of it...at least Blair Witch kept it consistent. I haven't watched Blair Witch in quite some time, but disliked LAST BROADCAST so intently that i'm inclined to echo Gary's sentiments.

Randy G
10-02-2012, 05:31 AM
I liked THE LAST BROADCAST when I first saw it, at least compared to BLAIR WITCH which I found exhausting and boring, you can tell it was made by actors without a real director in control of things. The ending does pack a punch though, I like the irrational element to the last image.