“Slender Man,” a particularly creepy Internet horror meme, is reportedly heading its to way to movie theaters. You’ve likely heard of this tall, faceless figure who wears a dark suit, has unnaturally long limbs, and stalks children.
Slender Man was born in 2009 when Eric Knudsen entered a photoshop contest on the Something Awful forum. The contest involved entrants to edit normal photos to make them appear paranormal. Under the user name “Victor Surge,” Knudsen photoshopped and submitted two black and white images featuring the figure of Slender Man standing behind groups of children.
Under one of the photographs, Knudsen wrote, “He is thought to be responsible for the haunting, stalking, and disappearance of countless children and teens.”
— The Verge (@verge) May 8, 2016
“I liked the concept of a monster, a creature that causes general unease and terror,” Knudsen said in a podcast interview earlier this year.
It didn’t take long for Slender Man to go viral, and the character has inspired online stories, fan artwork, and two video games, Slender: The Eight Pages and Slender: The Arrival. Internet users created a folklore around the apparition and made YouTube videos to creep viewers out. Stories have popped up all over the Internet of supposed sightings with people claiming to have found clues to his past in ancient cave paintings, hieroglyphics, and Germanic fairy tales.
Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems division is reportedly negotiating to produce and distribute a film with Mythology Entertainment, which bought the rights to Slender Man from Knudsen, according to an email from Annalee Paulo, a spokeswoman for the producers. The script is still being written by David Birke, and producers hope to be able to take the finished product to directors soon.
Mythology Entertainment is working with Madhouse Entertainment, and It Is No Dream Entertainment is looking at opportunities to bring Slender Man into the entertainment realms of television, video games, and publishing.
According to the New York Times, this is the first time Hollywood has taken an Internet meme and expanded on it in the same way it would a comic book character. Not too long ago, Slender Man was rumored to be the subject of the next season of American Horror Story.
The Verge reports they believe Hollywood is “a little late to the party” as Slender Man has already made appearances in Minecraft and other games.
— Dazed (@Dazed) May 6, 2016
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of Slender Man is the real world repercussions that have occurred which no one could have seen coming. In 2014, a 13-year-old girl in Ohio attacked her mother with a knife, and then in a separate incident within the same week, two 12-year-old girls stabbed a classmate and left her for dead in the woods in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in an effort to please Slender Man. The victim who was left in the woods survived and made a full recovery.
There was also the case of a 14-year-old girl in Florida who told police she set her house on fire after reading about Slender Man online.
In response to the 2014 stabbing, Knudsen said in a statement that he was saddened by the events that transpired in Wisconsin. Something Awful, the site where Knudsen submitted his Slender Man creation, published a post, “Please Do Not Kill Anybody Because of Slenderman.” After the 2014 stabbing, Mr. Knudsen said in a statement to the news media that he was saddened by the events in Wisconsin.
HBO explored Slender Man in a two-hour documentary that “interpreted the violence through a tortured parental fear of the iPad.”
Nothing has been confirmed yet, but if a deal with Sony is reached, production of the Slender Man movie could begin as early as this fall.
Would you see the Slender Man movie?
[Image via Twitter]