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The One Movie Stephen King Was Too Scared To Finish

Stephen King is rightfully known as the King of Horror, and that isn't just a fun bit of wordplay. Sometimes, however, even the king gets creeped out.

King's work casts a large shadow over the genre, and though he's dabbled in adjacent playgrounds like fantasy and crime, his name will always be synonymous with the macabre. Whether it's the terrifying clown Pennywise in "It," the mad Jack Torrance from "The Shining," or "Pet Sematary," the one novel that even disturbed King himself, the author probably holds a world record for the most nightmares produced thanks to his novels and the films adapted from them. 

Considering all the nightmare fuel he's pumped into our culture you might assume that King himself is unshakable, but it turns out that there's actually one movie that got to him. For King, an iconic found-footage film about witches in the woods was just too much for him to handle.

The Blair Witch Project freaked out Stephen King

During an interview for Eli Roth's "History of Horror" on Shudder, Stephen King revealed that while in the hospital, his son brought in a VHS copy of "The Blair Witch Project." King admitted that he got halfway through the movie before he said, "Turn it off. It's too freaky." This isn't the first time that the author recalled this instance of not being able to finish the 1999 film. Via Bloody Disgusting, in his foreword for a 2010 reissue of "Danse Macabre," he went into great detail about what exactly made the movie too much for him to finish.

"It may be the only time in my life when I quit a horror movie in the middle because I was too scared to go on," he wrote. "Some of it was the jerky quality of the footage (shot with a Hi-8 hand-held and 16-millimeter shoulder-mounted camcorders), some of it was the dope, but basically I was just freaked out of my mind. Those didn't look like Hollywood-location woods; they looked like an actual forest in which actual people could actually get lost."

King's not wrong about how the authentic feel of "The Blair Witch Project" is what makes it so frightening. The movie about three film students who become lost in the woods and terrorized by an unseen force while trying to shoot a documentary is scary because it seems so real. And its found-footage take on horror basically paved the way for movies like "Cloverfield" and "Paranormal Activity."