Stephen King Shares The One Horror Movie He Couldn’t Sit Through

Horror novelist Stephen King was so terrified by The Blair Witch Project he couldn't finish it.
Credit: Alamy & Artisan Entertainment

When it comes to the spine-chilling world of horror, few names hold as much clout as Stephen King.

This iconic horror novelist, 75, has been weaving tales of killer clowns and creepy hotels that have haunted audiences for decades.

However, there is one movie that even the master of terror found too much to handle.

In an interview reported by Dread Central, King confessed that he had to abandon the film midway because of its overwhelming scare factor.

The film in question?

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The found-footage classic, The Blair Witch Project.

Interestingly, this happened when King first watched it in a hospital, a setting that could amplify anyone’s vulnerability.

‘The Shining’ writer’s son had brought a VHS tape of the film, urging him to give it a shot.

But halfway through, King’s reaction was clear: “Turn it off, it’s too freaky.”

The Blair Witch Project masterfully constructs its story as a series of recordings made by a group of student filmmakers who venture into the eerie Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland, to create a documentary about the local legend of the Blair Witch.

Their disappearance leaves behind a year’s worth of footage, and these recordings are what the audience witnesses, feeling almost uncomfortably close to the unfolding terror.

The Blair Witch Project
Stephen King was so terrified by The Blair Witch Project that he couldn’t finish it. Credit: Artisan Entertainment

What made The Blair Witch Project particularly unsettling was its ingenious approach to filmmaking.

Rather than resembling a traditional movie, it simulated a documentary based on real events.

While the found-footage technique may be more common in today’s horror genre, this film was groundbreaking in showcasing how this style could effectively induce fear.

The fear didn’t lie solely in what was shown but, more importantly, in what the viewers’ imagination conjured off-camera.

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert summed it up aptly.

He said: “At a time when digital techniques can show us almost anything, The Blair Witch Project is a reminder that what really scares us is the stuff we can’t see.

“The noise in the dark is almost always scarier than what makes the noise in the dark.”

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As an author who has spent his entire career sending shivers down readers’ spines, King’s admission that The Blair Witch Project frightened him too is oddly satisfying.

His books remain popular choices for Hollywood adaptations and remakes, and fans are eagerly awaiting the upcoming Firestarter reboot featuring Zac Efron.

In the realm of horror, where fear lurks in every shadow, it’s comforting to know that even the mastermind behind some of the most haunting stories can be rattled by a truly bone-chilling film.

So, the next time you’re watching a scary movie, remember that the fear it instils might even transcend the screen and reach the heart of the one who knows horror best – Stephen King himself.

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.