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Filmby Shane “Spider Baby” Hnetka

Buried among all the trailers, sneak peeks, screenings, cast interviews and general nerd hoopla of San Diego’s recent Comic-Con International was a lot of mildly interesting industry news. One example: Lionsgate revealed it’s going to dump its last Divergent movie on TV rather than release it to theatres. There have been three movies so far but the last — which was supposed to be part one of a two-part finale — got terrible reviews and did crappy at the box office. Clearly Lionsgate realizes this series is a lost cause. The moral: you can’t expect every film franchise to be Harry Potter.

Guess Witch Movie Has A Surprise Sequel

Way back in 1999, a couple of filmmakers had a breakout hit with a low-budget horror movie they promoted on a then-newfangled thing called the Internet. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’ The Blair Witch Project made $248 million and launched the found-footage horror craze. When I saw it in the theatre, a woman started crying uncontrollably near the tension-filled end. Very few films can do that to audiences. Not bad for a flick made for $60 thousand.

Unfortunately, a crappy sequel was quickly made, and then … nothing. The two filmmakers haven’t done anything memorable since.

But Lionsgate just announced it’s got a sequel headed to theatres this fall. It’s called, simply, Blair Witch, and it apparently follows the brother of the original film’s doomed filmmaker as he searches the witch-woods for his long-lost older sister. Interestingly, the studio hid the upcoming film in plain sight under the fake title “The Woods”. It had a poster and even a trailer that you can still see online.

Blair Witch is directed by Adam Wingard, who has a couple of decent horror/thrillers on his resume (You’re Next, The Guest). Judging from the trailers, Blair Witch might actually be decent. It can’t be any worse than Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.

The Arrow Has Landed

British DVD/Blu-ray label Arrow Films, which specializes in obscure cult and exploitation cinema, started releasing movies on Blu-ray in the States last year. But while their films were available on U.S. websites, you couldn’t easily buy them in Canada, which kind of sucked. I’m ecstatic to see they’re finally arriving at stores like HMV. There’s something satisfying walking into a brick and mortar store and finding a copy of Jack Hill’s demented 1968 classic Spider Baby. Come on, who wouldn’t be?

Shane Hnetka is a Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.