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"Blair Witch' can cast spell of motion sickness

Published Sep. 29, 2005

You might want to pick up an extra bag with your popcorn at the concession stand before seeing the The Blair Witch Project, which is stirring up more than fear among some motion-sick moviegoers.

The low-budget horror thriller, mostly shot with shaky handheld cameras, is raking in millions around the country. But it's not a favorite of the theater workers, who have to clean up the mess left by those who get queasy watching the movie's often herky-jerky, first-person perspective.

"The first weekend someone threw up in the women's restroom, the men's restroom and in the hallway," said Kris Monroe, manager at Lefont Plaza Theater in Atlanta.

"It's not pleasant to clean up.

"One guy _ he was really cool _ he threw up in the restroom and he just came out and asked us for a mop."

The independent film, which has taken in $80-million since its release, follows three student filmmakers as they venture into the woods to track the legendary Blair Witch.

The mock documentary features footage supposedly shot by the students and discovered in the woods a year after their disappearance. Unlike many horror films, blood or gore is minimal.

The scenes that make people sick involve quick switches from close-up ground shots to views of treetops. And the 87-minute film is often grainy and out of focus.

The queasy reaction doesn't surprise producer Robin Cowie, who said people had panic attacks during the initial screening and at the Sundance Film Festival.

"Some simply may get a little motion sickness, that combined with the tension and the pace of the film," Cowie said. "The buzz we're hearing is, it's sort of a challenge to see if you can get through it."