Few films have generated more instant parodies than THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. However, most of these parodies seem fairly dull today which is no surprise, considering that the appeal of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT faded almost immediately following its 1999 release. However, one short comedy can still shake up laughs by offering a wicked two-for-one parody: Michael Rotman’s THE OZ WITCH PROJECT.
The film’s opening title card sets up the fun: In October of 1994, four friends disappeared in the woods near Emerald City while shooting a documentary called THE OZ WITCH PROJECT. A year later their footage was found. In this case, the four friends pile into Tin Man’s car to drive off to a wooded area where they hope to find the Yellow Brick Road.
“Are there spooks around here?” mutters the jittery Cowardly Lion. Indeed, something is afoot: besides the familiar Blair Witch fetishes hanging from the trees, there are also giant rainbow-colored lollipops planted in the ground.
Not unlike the ill-prepared and ill-tempered Maryland trio of the original witch hunt, these Emerald City-bound travelers get lost when the Scarecrow admits that he kicked the map into a creek. “Why did you give him the map?” shrieks the Tin Man. “You know he doesn’t have a brain!”
Things quickly go from bad to worse as “Where the fuck is the Yellow Brick Road?” is screamed frantically. When the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion go missing, Dorothy sits on a rock pile and prepares to sing about being over the rainbow to which the Scarecrow yells: “Don’t you even fucking start!” Dorothy later gives a Heather Donahue-worthy too-close apology into her video camera lens, with a shout out to good ole’ Auntie Em, before she and the Scarecrow meet their fate in the witch’s split-level house.
Brief snippets of Oz magic turn up in unlikely places Tin Man’s dance, Scarecrow pointing in multiple directions when asked how to proceed, and the “Surrender Dorothy” sign painted on the wall of the witch’s lair. As Dorothy, former kid star Meredith Salinger seems to be doing her own self-parody as a too-mature Dorothy trying, in vain, to retain the innocence of youth in a profane and ridiculous environment.
THE OZ WITCH PROJECT is still floating around the Internet. Although it is somewhat past its shelf date as being a cutting edge parody, it can still scare up some healthy laughs by combining two very different movies into a single spin of fun.