When it comes to any movie genre, those making sequels are always under a certain amount of pressure for their work to live up to the original. In terms of horror, presenting a worthy follow-up is arguably even harder, as the director and writers attempt to conjure up a new plot and frights that the audiences won't have seen before.
While it's difficult, it is possible, with films such as Aliens, 28 Weeks Later and The Conjuring 2 all proving so. But when the studio starts butchering your vision, the whole thing can become painful, according to film-maker Joe Berlinger.
Talking about his 2000 film Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which was a sequel to Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick's The Blair Witch Project from a year before, the 54-year-old told Deadline that "the studio [Artisan Entertainment] recut and inserted scenes of gore against [his] will and [that he] didn't have the courage back then" to just remove his name from the film.
"Then to be eviscerated by critics on a cut of the film that I did not sanction was doubly painful," he continued. "That's not to say that my director's cut would have garnered a better reaction from critics per se, but at least I could have stood by the film for representing my vision and if people hated that version, it would have been less painful because it's what I would have wanted to be seen.
"There is also this myth that the film was a financial disaster... In fact, it was still Artisan's second highest grossing film in their history, the highest being the original BW. It grossed $48m [£37m] worldwide on a $10m budget and did over $25m on DVD. That doesn't excuse the rushed production, the desire to monetise and capitalise on the first film's success by a new studio that was only interested in their IPO and the mediocre end creative result but people talk of this film as a total failure and franchise killer."
Berlinger's candid discussion was sparked by a series of tweets he wrote about the recent Blair Witch movie failing to impress at the US box-office after its release on 15 September, drawing comparison to his movie's earnings over a decade ago. "I have nothing but respect for [director] Adam Wingard and I hope [Blair Witch] is great; I haven't seen it yet," he concluded during the interview. "Ironically, I was in Toronto and just couldn't bring myself to go see it and relive the trauma."
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