“The beauty of Slender Man is a new mythology, a new boogeyman,” director Sylvain White said in the unsettling video, Dark Path.
Emerging from online lore has made this entity no less terrifying. Think of him as a new kind of urban legend that has had such a powerful grip on some people that they actually want to believe. The commentary on this movie, which follows four girls who think summoning Slender Man is their idea of hanging out until one of them gets abducted, sounds so documentary-esque it could actually convince you there is something tall, faceless, and preternaturally thin stalking you in the woods.
Eric Knudsen originally created the character (who bears a remarkable resemblance to the Gentleman in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and could pass for a distant relative of Jack Skellington or the Babadook) in 2009 as a creepypasta under the username Victor Surge for a Photoshop challenge on the Something Awful forums.
“He’s an unknown supernatural horror,” said Knudsen. “He can affect anyone. And that’s part of the terror of the Slender Man; he can appear anywhere.”
Many mutations of Slender Man have spawned since Knudsen Photoshopped the lanky, faceless ghoul-in-a-suit into the background of photos of unwary children who obviously had no idea they were about to be snatched. The fact alone that his face is devoid of features can mess with your head. Human imagination can project anything onto that, and it doesn’t help that he can supposedly read minds and teleport.
Based on what the trailers have revealed so far — from flashes of a wraithlike figure to tentacles bursting from a teenage girl’s mouth — the film promises that “scary” will be an understatement, but not everyone is trembling with anticipation.
"It's absurd they want to make a movie like this," Bill Weier told Comicbook.com. "It's popularizing a tragedy is what it's doing. I'm not surprised, but in my opinion it's extremely distasteful. All we're doing is extending the pain all three of these families have gone through."
Weier’s daughter was one of the teens convicted of a murder attempt tied to Slender Man mythology in 2014. While the victim survived, both girls were committed to psychiatric facilities, and this is sadly not an isolated incident.
Slender Man materializes in theaters tomorrow, August 10.