By Nelia Raposo
They’ve dubbed it “the cheaper than The Blair Witch Project project,” since they only spent about $200, not including the donated equipment and time from the cast — who were also the crew.
“The idea was mine and Rob’s,” Regan Maccaulay, a 1998 RTA graduate, said. “We saw it the first week t was released and thought ‘we could do this.’”
Rob Downes was joking but Maccaulay took him seriously, so they co-wrote a parody to The Blair Witch Project, the low-budget-film-turned-summer-smash about three student film makers who get lost in the woods while making a documentary about a small town’s mythical witch. The parody, a 20-minute movie, produced and directed by Maccaulay, is called The Scary Bitch Project.
“Never joke around with Regan because she will turn it into a project,” Kim Croscup, a film student, who played herself in the film, said. The actors kept their own names, just like the actors in the original.
They started filming at 8 a.m. on Sept. 11 and were finished by 9:30 p.m. The woods in the movie are a three-minute drive away from Maccaulay’s parents’ home in Fergus, Ont.
“Kimmy had to do some screams and the woods are near a residential area,” Macaulay said. “We were afraid that someone might call the police.” No one did.
Set in Fergus, an elementary school teacher loses her mind and lives in the woods. In the middle of the night a bell rings and children disappear. Yet, parents send their children to this retired teacher’s day camp, where they are forced to eat broccoli and do laundry.
“It is silly and implausible but that is the fun of it,” said Jeff Hannaford, who graduated from RTA in 1996.
Instead of “the same fucking log” that Blair Witch characters Heather, Mike and Joshua, pass in the original movie, Kim, Jeff and Rob encounter “the same fucking clown,” played by Judy Singh. Singh who graduated from RTA in 1997 is also the production’s technical director. She is confident that The Scary Bitch Project is film festival material.
“The production value is so high, it’s comparable to anything,” Singh said about the digital footage. “I can’t imagine anyone pushing it aside.
All the footage was shot by Gregory Davis, but it is meant to look like the characters had shot it themselves.
“You’d never know that they weren’t shooting [themselves],” Singh said.
Singh said that Davis would adjust his height depending on which character was supposed to be shooting.
“I had to fall with Greg, so they tied me to him and we fell together so that I could make reaction sounds to the fall,” Croscup said.
The group hopes their film will be part of a collection of The Blair Witch Project “mock-u-mentaries” to be released n video in December by Trimark. They also want to air on the Comedy Channel as well as at Ryerson.