So There's Going To Be A Slender Man Movie

So There's Going To Be A Slender Man Movie

It's 2018, and they're coming out with a Slender Man movie - like five years too late.

Okay, so I'm not that big a fan of the horror genre. I liked both versions of It, though I do prefer the 2017 one. I liked The Blair Witch Project and like to pretend they never made a sequel. Psycho is one of the great classic horror, and I've got a soft spot for the old Universal Monsters movies. However, about six years ago, I found a horror genre online, titled "creepypasta." These were the typical Internet horror stories, but anybody could write them any way they want. Which of course led to people making characters, and others running with them - specifically, Slender Man. After a pretty good freeware game (the next good freeware horror wouldn't be until Doki Doki Literature Club), the popularity soared, coming to a head when two girls attempted to murder another in his name. And of course Hollywood decided yeah, let's make a Slender Man movie. In 2018. Why exactly?

Slender Man first appeared in a Photoshop contest on SomethingAwful in 2009, the contest being to create the creepiest image. Eric Knudsen, under the screen name of "Victor Surge," made two images showing children at play, with a long-limbed, inhuman, faceless man in a suit and tie, refered to as "the slender man." This was an instant hit on the website, and spread across the Internet like wildfire. However, due to uncertainty over copyright status on a meme character, Knudsen was unable to control every story people would write about his monster. Acclaimed YouTube series Marble Hornets did their own take on the story, dubbing their incarnation "the Operator." In 2012, the first video game based on Slender Man was created, titled Slender: The Eight Pages, and was made available as a free download by the developers. The game featured no weapons, and just put the player alone in the woods, trying to gather eight papers with images pertaining to the monster - all while trying to avoid being caught by him. It seemed the Internet had their own Dracula, a monster they could work with and develop how they saw fit.

But of course, this is the Internet, and impressionable children can just get right on and do a Google search. In 2014, two girls became so enthralled with the character that they believed he was real, likely due to their own mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Believing them to be the "proxies" of Slender Man, they felt they had to kill in order to please him. They lured a classmate into the woods one night, and stabbed her nineteen times, nearly killing her - missing vital arteries by fractions of an inch. She survived, and the two assaliants have been sentenced to a mental institution, as they were "not guitly by reason of insanity" according to lawyers. Practically overnight, Slender Man went from just being a scary image on a computer to being the subject of media attention, with many asking whether or not the Internet can go too far. Knudsen expressed sympathy for the victim, and the creepypasta website communities raised money to help her medical costs. In a rational world, this would be the end of the Slender Man icon, and we'd find something else to make scary. We do not live in a rational world.

Sometime between the attempted murder and 2017, executives at Sony Pictures decided that they better get to making that Slender Man movie now to keep those rights they bought from Knudsen. The premise is a group of teenage girls try to disprove the existence of Slender Man by doing some occult ritual or something, and all of a sudden, one goes missing. Yeah, that's the actual story of the movie. It was slated to come out this May, a couple of weeks after Avengers: Infinity War, a week before Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the same day as Deadpool 2. For some reason, it got pushed back to August. Hey, maybe it will be good. The trailer looked decent, and at least it will be better than the Marble Hornets movie from a few years back (though that did star Doug Jones, which makes it at least slightly watchable). But if we're being honest here, there's a reason they're releasing it in a busy month - it's not going to be a big hit, much less will it be a horror staple of the next few years. It's future is likely to be a Netflix and chill movie, if that. But hey, I'll probably see it down the road.

We must wonder why exactly is this movie happening. Maybe it's a rights issue, and they have to make the movie or they lose the film rights, like 20th Century Fox and Fantastic Four. Or maybe they want to expand the horror characters for the modern era, and give us a modern monster movie. Or Sony Pictures is exploiting a near tragedy for some extra cash to try and capture the market. I think the movie is being made for the first two, the latter reason being an accidental coincidence. It is a little too close to reality, but let's be real, there's only so many plots one can do for a Slender Man movie - either you're gonna get teens doing stuff they shouldn't or The Blair Witch Project, and Marble Hornets already did that. It is what it is, maybe we'll see movies about haunted video games next if this works.

Do I want to see the movie? Eh, if it's on Netflix and there's nothing else to watch after binging the rest of Stranger Things. It probably will be at least passable, something for middle schoolers to put on during slumber parties. The time passed a long time ago for the movie to even get the audience's attention beyond "oh yeah that was a thing." Maybe like 2013 or 2012, before the stabbing happened. Hollywood doesn't really understand time though, and well, here we are. Besides, it comes out in August. It's not like there's anything else people are going to want to see then anyway - late August/September is like the January/February film schedule. Like I said, we'll see what happens, but it's just been too long and with too much real-world violence to really be with the times now. And if we're being honest, at least a creepypasta shared universe is a better idea than the rebooted Universal Monsters project.

Cover Image Credit: HBO

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