Love it or hate it, there's no denying that the found footage subgenre has had a major impact on horror cinema.
What began in 1980 as a novel low-budget idea with Cannibal Holocaust morphed into a fad almost 20 years later with The Blair Witch Project. Since then, found footage has gone on to become one of the more popular and polarizing techniques ever utilized in film, as well as in television and literature.
Found footage's growth into the ravenous, divisive monster it has become is actually a rather fascinating topic, one well worth examining. And I can't think of a better place to start than the upcoming lecture titled "Ghosts in the Machine: The Evolution of Found Footage Horror" by Toronto-based film journalist (and Planet Fury contributor) Alexandra West.
At 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, at the Somerville Theatre (55 Davis Square, Somerville, MA, 02144), Ms. West will take curious horror fans on an informative found footage journey — from the dark woods of the Blair Witch to the claustrophobic confines of [REC]'s apocalyptic Barcelona apartment building — by discussing the history of "shaky cam," from its literary roots to its status as an enduring mainstay in modern cinema.
The lecture will include conversations about innovative films such as Cannibal Holocaust, Paranormal Activity, [REC], The Last Exorcism and, of course, The Blair Witch Project, as well as the influence of Asian horror films like The Ring. Following the discussion, West will screen the seminal "found footage" horror flick The Blair Witch Project at midnight.
This awesome pairing of intellectual horror dialogue and obscenity-ridden scary gonzo goodness is an evening any self-respecting fright fan will want to catch. Your tickets can be purchased either at the door or online HERE. But whatever you do, get your tickets! You'll be glad you did.
For anyone interested in found footage I always recommend they try and track down a French TV series from the 90's called THE FORBIDDEN FILES. It's a series of mini-documentaries exploring supernatural phenomena around the world and throughout the century.
It's astonishingly well done. I still have a hard time thinking that some of it is fake.
Thankfully, some wonderful soul put them all up online. You could probably start with this one. I still have no idea how they did it.