Manchester considers shot at `Blair Witch' sequel

Maryland film council casts net for communities interested in playing host

March 16, 2000|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

If Burkittsville doesn't want the sequel to "The Blair Witch Project," Manchester might.

Manchester Town Councilwoman Mary Minderlein made the suggestion Tuesday night, near the end of a routine meeting.

The Frederick County town that was the locale for last summer's surprise hit movie sent producers packing last month at the prospect of being the location for the sequel, she noted, "so the Maryland film council is looking for another town. They want to hear from Maryland towns."

"I had the idea that Manchester would be a good place, maybe, to have the movie, and we should put our hat in the ring, so to speak," she said.

"I think it would be positive for the town, bring in extra business."

Silence fell in the room, for several long beats.

"Wow," Mayor Chris D'Amario said softly, breaking the silence.

Then everyone began to talk, with jokes and comments flying.

"We could be extras," someone said. "And we have restaurants," another added, getting into the movie-locale mode.

"We're better-looking than Burkittsville, without revitalization," said Councilman Brooks Rugemer, referring to an earlier agenda item.

"It's a great idea -- till you banned all the parking in town," he said, referring to another agenda item: a discussion about the wording of a Town Code provision that prohibits on-street parking in most of the town.

"See if they'll build us a bypass: We'll call it the Blair Witch Bypass," someone suggested.

"Make the call," another said.

Although no vote was taken, that was the unofficial consensus. If chosen, Minderlein said, Manchester's name wouldn't be used.

Burkittsville, a town of about 200, became a magnet for film fans from all over the country after "The Blair Witch Project" became the sleeper hit of the summer. The mock documentary told a story of the disappearance of three film students on the track of the Blair Witch, supposed to have killed children in the forest near South Mountain.

The town's welcome signs and its cemetery became targets of visitors -- many of whom thought the myth was true -- and many residents refused to even discuss it with the flocks of reporters who followed the fans.

But the filmmakers said they will produce not only a sequel, but a Part Three as well.

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