Haxan Films kicked off promotions for the limited release of its film Lovely Molly last week by mailing ARGNet a care package containing a cryptic disc leading to a series of puzzles and videos on the Lovely Molly website. Over the past few days, all but one of the puzzles have been solved, with a handful of runic characters standing between players and the full message. An additional installment to the Path to Madness documentary about the history of the movie’s namesake character has also found its way onto the website. The newest installment documents the death of Molly Reynolds’ father Ben Palmer through an apparent suicide by screwdriver.
Concurrent with shooting Lovely Molly, Haxan Films shot the raw footage for an alternate reality game that prominently featured this bloody screwdriver. Due to the film’s limited budget, plans for a full-fledged game fell through. The decision to abandon the film’s more immersive plans was a difficult one, so Lovely Molly‘s director Ed Sanchez edited together a video detailing the alternate reality game that could have been. Continue on for a rare peek at a campaign as its team initially envisioned it.
It’s been over 13 years since Haxan Films screened its debut film The Blair Witch Project at Sundance. And while the “found footage” format used in the film quickly established its place as a cult classic, the film’s innovative viral marketing campaign that created extensive artifacts insisting on the film’s reality fueled the movie’s rabid fanbase to take over Sundance with sold out screenings. Last year, Haxan Films returned to its found footage roots with his film Lovely Molly, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. And if the package I received in the mail earlier today is any indication, the found footage aesthetic won’t be Lovely Molly‘s only common ground with The Blair Witch Project.
The package I received contained dozens of photographs depicting four riders sitting astride horses with blotted out heads, and a large carved disc. The disc prominently displays the film’s insignia, a dagger with twin horse head quillons surrounded by symbols ranging from ancient cuneiform glyphs and Norse runes to more modern Braille cells. On the back of the disc, a link pointed to a personalized invitation to ARGNet, stating that “Lovely Molly invites you to descend into depravity. Rewards like this await the first five. Simple symbols await a score.”