THE LAST BROADCAST
RELEASED OUT NOW! 1998 | 15 | Blu-ray
Directors Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler
Cast Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler,
David Beard, Jim Seward
This fascinating snapshot from the dawn of the World Wide Web is one of the earliest examples of found footage horror as we know it today.
In 1995, a group of filmmakers headed into the Pine Barrens in search of the mythical Jersey Devil, but met with a gruesome end. Documentarian David Leigh (David Beard) sifts through the recovered footage and attempts to piece together the truth of what really happened…
The Last Broadcast is obsessed with the possibilities – for good and ill – of the online world. Where many found footage films are regular horror movies with a shaky cam, this probes at the nature of the documentarymaking process and finds eerie chills in anonymous instant messages and the dropped frames of VHS tape. While it’s less primally terrifying than its peer The Blair Witch Project, it still retains a disturbing sense of authenticity aided by a wealth of background detail and a convincing, largely nonprofessional cast.
Extras A retrospective with Avalos and Weiler (31 minutes) picks apart the film’s legacy and numerous innovations. They also provide two commentaries, recorded in 1999 and 2006. Three behind-the-scenes clips cover production, post and distribution, and there’s a selection of extended interviews with the documentary talking heads (15 minutes). A montage of clips from fake show Fact Or Fiction (15 minutes) shows how far Avalos and Weiler went to create a believable background; there’s also an odd postscript with Weiler driving around LA (five minutes) in character. Plus: two folk songs (six minutes); gallery; trailer; booklet. Will Salmon
Made for just $900, The Last Broadcast was also the first feature film to be distributed to cinemas digitally.