Interviews: Eduardo Sanchez - Director of Exists and The Blair Witch Project

As usual, horror directors are always the funnest to interview. Here's what Eduardo Sanchez had to say about found footage, the history of the genre, and his latest release, Exists

TMS: Obviously, the found footage genre existed before Blair Witch. Films like Cannibal Holocaust was one of the originators. So, how and why did you guys decide to make a movie that basically reinvigorated that style of film making?

ES: Dan and I had this idea for a documentary team disappearing and their footage being found, EXACTLY the same premise as Cannibal Holocaust - which we hadn’t seen. If either of us had seen the film, I don’t think Blair Witch would’ve been made - we would’ve felt it had already been done.

So we started with that basic idea and the film grew from there. 

TMS: Do you think without Blair Witch, wed be seeing so many of those types of movies? And does it feel good to know that your influence has spawned a decade or more of creepy flicks that wouldnt exist without your creative intuition to go back to basics with a horrifying film done with almost no budget?

ES: It seems like someone would’ve eventually made a film that used the found footage technique. We were lucky to have been the first. As far as the films that have come afterwards - it feels good to have your film stay relevant and I enjoy watching the found footage films - there are some great ones out there…

TMS: When you see movies like Willow Creek, a much lesser almost total rip off/possible satire of your former movie, does it have any effect on you or do you just let it roll off? Have you seen it?

ES: I haven’t seen it yet - but have heard mixed things about it - a lot of enthusiastic fans and a lot of people who hate it - just like Blair Witch

TMS: I wasnt a fan of that Bigfoot movie….which brings us to our next question. How did Exists come about and was it nice to return to the style that started your career?

ES: I’ve been obsessed with Bigfoot since I was a little kid. I grew up in the 70’s and the big guy was everywhere. Legend of Boggy Creek was a big influence on Blair for both Dan and me, and one of the first films I wanted to make after that big success was a Bigfoot movie. I just didn’t know I’d have to wait 15 years to do it.

And about the found footage style. It was a natural approach to a film about Sasquatch. I guess that’s why there have been so many of them…

TMS: Ill be honest, Im really a fan of the found footage style. Blair Witch, Chronicle, Exists, The Taking of Deborah Logan and numerous others have proven that it can work when done right. Where do you see it heading in the next few years and do you think it will be a continued form of movie making or might it slowly fade away?

ES: Honestly, I’m also a fan when done right. And I would add [REC], Cloverfield and Paranomal Activity to that list of films that worked really well. Haven't seen Taking of Deborah Logan but heard good things…

I think this style is here to stay - I feel like it’ll go through its ups and downs, but it’s a legitimate category of filmmaking that exists between dramatic and documentary films. And most importantly, it is a form of filmmaking that the kids of today have grown up watching on YOUTUBE. It’ll get more inventive but there are still a lot of great found footage movies to come.

TMS: What are your favorite horror movies and which films would you say influence you when making any type of film?

ES: Favorites are The Changeling, The Shining, The Exorcist, Jaws, Evil Dead 2. I could go on.....

As far as influence, it all depends on the material that I’m reading or developing. A lot of times, I get inspired by non-horror films and an idea for a horror film in that style suddenly pops up. Influences are everywhere - a long drive late at night through the winding farm country near my home usually gets my juices flowing. I have a playlist on my iPod called SCARY - I press shuffle and get lost in the darkness… 

TMS: On that same note, who are you favorite directors and do they offer inspiration when creating a new cinematic horror experience?

ES: I love so many of them - Hitchcock, Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese, Kubrick, Terry Gilliam, Richard Linklater, Alfonso Cuaron - I could go on for an hour…

All these people and many others have kicked my ass in so many ways - getting your ass kicked is how I feel after I see a REALLY GOOD movie. I come out of that and just want to do better and push harder - find something new out there or mix some shit that has never been mixed.

TMS: Of all the movies youve directed so far, what is your personal favorite and why?

ES: Lovely Molly is my favorite - I seriously gave birth to that film - all the good and the bad that comes with that.

It became very personal and I put a lot into it - first time I had mostly written, directed and edited a film by myself. And Gretchen Lodge’s performance still astounds me - Oscar caliber, if they paid attention to horror films like that…

TMS: What else do you want people to know about Exists? How can they see it? Where can they buy it? And why is Sasquatch so angry all the time?

ES: It’s on VOD now and coming out on DVD on February 3 - check out our facebook page:

And the Haxan page, which follows all our ungodly activities:

And wouldn’t you be mad if you had so much hair? And people were afraid of you? And were always hunting you? And were shooting video of you whenever they saw you? Think about it…

TMS: Thanks for taking the time out from your busy schedule to give us this interview!!!