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Kit Wong

#32: “In 1999, There’s a Lot of Things People Don’t Know About”: Brian Leslie on Producing the BLAIR WITCH Follow-up THE BLACK DOOR

Today’s guest is Brian Leslie, producer of the found footage horror film THE BLACK DOOR, which came out in 2001 on the heels of the success of the genre-defining THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. THE BLACK DOOR was directed by Kit Wong, and Brian Leslie was brought on board by his production partner Lucas Lowe. Lowe, best known as the director of martial arts action films like KING OF THE KICKBOXERS and AMERICAN SHAOLIN, had worked with Brian on a horror/mystery anthology series which was originally called THE LEGENDS OF THE BUSHWALKER and was then renamed DIARIES OF DARKNESS, with Lowe as director, Brian Leslie as producer, and both as creators and writers. There is an interesting and somewhat ironic connection between THE LEGENDS OF THE BUSHWALKER and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, but I’ll leave it up to Brian to tell this story. Both Lowe and Leslie then worked on THE BLACK DOOR, the creepy story of an investigation into the mysterious background of a severely wounded hospital patient, which leads to an old satanic sect – and one of the film’s highlights is a “found” 8mm film of a ritual performed in the 1930’s, which easily counts as one of the most effective set pieces in the history of found footage.

In our conversation, Brian discusses his background as a producer, the development of THE LEGENDS OF THE BUSHWALKER and its surprising connection to the film which kickstarted the first wave of found footage horror back in 1999. He talks about the making of THE BLACK DOOR and its individual elements, including a haunted house. And he relates a bizarre, frightening and ultimately very sweet encounter during the production of THE BLACK DOOR.

The interview was conducted in connection with our German-language podcast Lichtspielplatz, so if you speak German, please check out Lichtspielplatz episode #68, which features an in-depth discussion of THE BLACK DOOR and many other found footage horror films. Also, make sure to listen to our interviews with found footage directors Dean Alioto, Ted Nicolaou, Stefan Avalos and Ron Bonk here on Talking Pictures.

So without any further ado, here’s producer Brian Leslie!

The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.

Photo courtesy of Brian Leslie
Editing: Christoph Schwarz
Music: Clark Kent

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