BLAIR WITCH co-director's next film going straight-to-DVD! PART IVPART I - PART II
The test screening was held in a suburb of NEW YORK CITY at a Mall movie theater with bad sound and projection. This was actually in the same area where we did our BLAIR WITCH test screening. This is one of the places where studios go to test their films. You've heard all the stories of test screenings
before, so I won't bore you with details. It was one of the worse nights of my life.
I mean other than the birth of my two children, where my wife ended up having an emergency C-Section each time, this was number three. Probably. Well, maybe the time I got beat-up in middle school by Tony Leebrick was worse. Or the day my lung collapsed. Yeah, those were probably worse. But you catch my drift.
The audience was the â€œbasic horror crowd,â€ whatever that is. They had recruited people who had seen HOSTEL and the SAW movies. We had a feeling we were going to be in trouble. Once the film started, things were great. They were laughing in places, seemed into the film. Cheered a bit during the climax. We thought we had them. Seriously. We thought we had them.
The test scores were terrible. People hated the film. â€œNot scary enough.â€ â€œToo hard to follow.â€ â€œStupid.â€ Fucking brutal feedback. Man, does writing this bring on the PAIN!!!
We were crushed. I felt worse than before. I slid into a depression and I didn't want to do anything. We met the next day at FOCUS and talked to Andrew Rona, who was heading up ROGUE now. Good guy. You may remember him from PROJECT GREENLIGHT
. He was as disappointed as us. They had a lot of hope for this movie and it just wasn't going to be what they wanted it to be. He didn't discuss distribution too much but we knew we were in trouble in that department. Films with these kinds of scores don't go wide.
So we all headed back to our respective homes up and down the east coast. We held our heads low for a while but then we started talking strategy. We still believed in the film and weren't going to give up on it that quickly.
We thought that the audience they recruited for the test was wrong. It's like they packed horny teenagers into a MERCHANT IVORY
film. Or the POOTIE TANG
fan club into a Woody Allen flick. Okay, bad examples, but you get the point. We thought that a sci-fi crowd would be into it more. Or horror fans that didn't dig SAW or HOSTEL so much,
which I've met a lot of in my days. We knew someone was going to dig the film.
And it's not like EVERYONE hated the film. There was that minority of people at the screening that really enjoyed it and thought it was a fun ride. I mean, we got a great review from someone named MILKBONE on AIN'T-IT-COOL-NEWS
. The MILKBONE-type audience was out there, we just had to find them. Another test screening was needed.
We also went through the test results and tried to address some of the concerns that the audience had. They found it too hard to follow, too much of a mystery, so we figured we'd tack on something to the opening that gave some of the back story, at least the basics. We were going to get Michael Williams to play OTIS again and do a TV news story on the 15 year anniversary of the abduction of the main characters. I called Mike and asked him to get that beard growing again. We were going to have some fun with it for sure.
We were also going to tighten up a few places in the film some more and change one of the music cues that we thought could be bigger. Then we were going to do another test screening. And we were going to pay for all of it. Yeah! â€œLet's all meet in Orlando and really get this ball rolling! We'll give FOCUS a proposal that they won't be able to turn down! Yeah, that's right, we're bad-ass motherfuc...â€
And that takes us back to the beginning of my story, PART I
of this twisted and sordid tale, that sunny day in Orlando where the hammer dropped on our delusional heads.
ALTERED was going STRAIGHT-TO-DVD!!!
All that was left now was to pick up all the pieces of my broken heart that were all over Rob's beautiful patio floor...