Screenwriter Simon Barrett spent years secretly working on Blair Witch, this year’s sequel to The Blair Witch Project, before the film’s unveiling at last July’s Comic-Con in San Diego. How did he manage to keep quiet about the Adam Wingard-directed movie?
“I was a licensed private investigator for about 10 years before I started making any kind of living in the film industry,” says Barrett, whose other collaborations with Wingard include You’re Next and The Guest. “So, I’m actually pretty cagey in general. I learned that the key to keeping a secret is you have to keep it from everyone. So, I’m actually pretty good at this. In fact, I had a meeting with a studio that was trying to hire us to do another secret project. [Laughs.] I couldn’t tell them about the first one, and so it was a weird conversation. But I was like, ‘You’re just going to have to trust me, I’m good at keeping secrets!'”
One thing Barrett isn’t keeping secret? His love for two vintage TV movies, which he claims are the perfect films to watch this Halloween.
“There’s two TV films, Dark Night of the Scarecrow and Don’t Go to Sleep, both of which are really creepy and weird,” he says. “There was a streak where TV movies were kind of dangerous, after Spielberg did Duel, which remains maybe my favorite of his films, and I’m not just saying that to be pretentious. Don’t Go to Sleep is a ghost story with a little girl ghost. Dark Night of the Scarecrow is like a creepy scarecrow revenge movie with Larry Drake, kind of a weird Of Mice and Men, but with a scary supernatural scarecrow. They’re both really creepy, unnerving. They’re my go-to, creepy, spooky Halloween movies. They’re not outright terrifying, like The Shining or something like that. But there’s a quality about those early, made-for-TV movies that I find really unnerving. They’re both creepy, and not nearly enough people have seen either of them.”
You can see trailers for Dark Night of the Scarecrow and Blair Witch, below.