Slender Man And Why I Like Him

Posted: July 17, 2013 in ideas, Reflections, Scary Stuff
Tags: , , , ,

See what I see? It’s what the Slender Man is supposed to look like.

Lately I’ve been fascinated with the Slender Man. Okay, not so much lately. More like for a long while now. It’s only been recently that I’ve been doubly psyched with the Slender Man, enough to write a post about him anyway. I blame that on the fact that I saw a really awesome and totally freaky indie movie on Slender Man, proving that indie films can actually be terrifying.

Of course, those of you who are not horror aficionados are probably asking yourself, “What the heck is this guy talking about?” Well if you haven’t gone to Wikipedia yet, allow me to explain. Slender Man is an example of modern-day folklore. To be more specific, it started out as an Internet meme. A guy created some photos on his computer that showed a tall man in a suit with long limbs and no features on his face standing really creepily in the background. The photos came along with excerpts from what was supposed to be longer stories of people who have had experiences with the Slender Man. More people created photos showing the Slender Man, and that led to fanfic-like stories on the Internet, artwork, cosplay, and eventually a video game called Slender. The game was a hit, which led to more Slender Man-based work, including a YouTube series or two and some indie movies, one of which I saw this evening on my computer, and more on their way.

Check out this totally awesome trailer for an upcoming adaptation called Entity:

I’m a little dubious on whether or not including a possible government connection is a good idea, but I’m psyched to see this movie when it comes out.

What I really like about this particular Internet meme is not just its popularity, but how powerful it’s become, to the point that it’s become public consciousness like Bloody Mary or the man with the hook who escaped from the mental facility. Heck, some people are even starting to believe that the Slender Man is real, or at least a very old urban legend. That and the consistency of the tales qualify the Slender Man as folklore (though technically any story out there and often religious objects can qualify as folklore). And the tales are pretty consistent throughout: the Slender Man is some sort of spirit or demon that hides in the woods and spirits away people, usually children, and then kills them or devours them or their souls. Sometimes he or his victims leave notes around warning of him.. And occasionally he’ll manifest with multiple tentacle-like arms on his back. Cuh-reepy!

Of course the best part is that the mythos leaves so much to be filled in, and since it started as an Internet meme, Slender Man is in the public domain.  Which means anyone can make their own version of the Slender Man story and add, subtract, or spin it any way they want. Of course they have to keep certain aspects so as not to upset the fanbase, but it’s still so awesome. I even have an idea for a novel that’ll utilize Slender Man, or a version of him.

And like I was saying, the Slender Man is an example of a really viral meme and its impact on the global age. Something as small as a couple of doctored photos can multiply and become part of the public consciousness, the subject of games, online TV series, and even movies. Imagine what others could create doing the same process, with the same idea of a supernatural being utilized. Perhaps a ghostly lover found at lakes. Or maybe something involving will-o-the-wisps. Or perhaps a photo showing Elvis in modern-day New York eating a hot dog!

Okay, that last one is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea, right? It’s the creepy version of Gangnam Style, and there’s potential for much more to materialize. And I can’t wait to see what the people of the world will create.

Do you have a take on Slender Man and/or viral memes from the Internet?

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