Everyone remembers The Blair Witch Project, right? That 1999 horror movie recorded on a video camera that scared the living hell out of people because we all believed it was real for a while, and barely had the internet to tell us otherwise. Hard times.
The movie is known for two iconic scenes, the first of course being that image of Heather with the camera right under her nose, and the other of Mike, standing in the corner of the room facing the wall in the final scene. It was terrifying, it really was. Why was he there? What was happening? Queue ALL of the nightmares.
The ambiguity of it made it all the more scary, however, there was almost a completely different, much more gruesome ending.
Speaking to EW; co-directors Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sancheze explained how the original ending almost didn't happen: "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, when the movie was shown to test audiences, many were confused at the ending, so the filmmakers were given more money by the studio to shoot it differently.
"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."
However, Myrick and Sancheze were determined that the original ending still worked better; "What makes us fearful is something that's out of the ordinary, unexplained. The first ending kept the audience off balance; it challenged our real world conventions and that's what really made it scary," Myrick said.
Ultimately, they were allowed go with the ending they wanted, with one studio executive warning them: "Okay, but it’s going to cost us millions at the box office."
The film went on to gross $248.6 million worldwide - roughly 4,000 times its initial budget - and become one of the most iconic horror movies of the nineties, so yeah, think they made the right call.