`Blair Witch' picks up the action in Seneca

March 24, 2000|By TAMARA IKENBERG

Thought last year's grunge hit "The Blair Witch Project" ended with the deaths of its three profanity-spouting, map-losing, witch-hunting rebels?

It didn't.

"The Blair Witch Project 2" began filming in Maryland this month, according to Andrea Thomas, manager of the Maryland Film Commission.

Barbara Garner, an assistant manager at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, said Seneca is being used as a location. Much of the first movie was shot there as well, she says.

Many people assumed the wooded scenes were shot in Burkittsville, the tiny Maryland town that became associated with the film, spawned a Blair Witch souvenir market and more recently got pillaged by rowdy Blair Witch fanatics. But, says Thomas, "there was very little shot in Burkittsville."

Very little was more than enough, as far as Burkittsville residents are concerned. At a town meeting last month, "Blair Witch" producers, who turned up to discuss further filming in the town, were harassed by citizens who felt Burkittsville had already been exploited enough.

Neither Thomas nor representatives at Artisan Entertainment, the film's production company, would disclose other locations, the length of the shoot or details of filming, for security reasons. The movie is scheduled to be released this fall.

The original film, which was made for around $35,000, grossed more than $100 million, making it one of the biggest cinematic Cinderella stories of all time.

The runaway hit has earned many devotees, crazy about the first movie, a mockumentary about three would-be filmmakers tracking the fictional, gruesome Blair Witch.

"We'll be there, trying to watch them film it," says Laura Frame, 24, a hairdresser at O'Hair, a salon near Seneca Park.

Says fellow stylist Laura Reed, 27: "It's cool that they're filming it here."

Were Seneca Creek and Gaithersburg selected for any creepy, supernatural reason?

"I don't think it had anything to do with the Blair Witch," Reed says.

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