The king of "creepypasta," Slender Man, is coming to the big screen, but some are wondering if it’s in poor taste to release the film, since the fictional boogeyman was the inspiration for some grisly real-life crimes.
Should SlenderMan be blamed for the attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl? Well, according to Bill Weier, the film from Sony Pictures is capitalizing on that tragedy. His daughter was 1 of 2 Wisconsin girls who attempted to kill their classmate, because they were trying to impress Slender Man — a creepy internet meme.
Here's what Bill had to say —
It's absurd they want to make a movie like this. 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.
In 2014, Anissa Weier & Morgan Geyser lured their classmate Payton Leutner to a wooded park in their Milwaukee suburb. There, Morgan stabbed Payton 19 times as Anissa urged her on. The stab wounds narrowly missed her heart and Leutner managed to crawl out of the woods to a path where she was found by a passing bicyclist. She survived the attack.
Both attackers, Anissa & Morgan, told detectives they had to kill their friend Payton to prove to Slender Man they were worthy of being his servants, and to protect their own families from him.
Both girls pleaded guilty to intentional homicide, in exchange for sentences in mental institutions. Morgan, who stabbed Payton, will get at least 40 years, while Anissa, who urged her on, will spend at least 25 years in an institution.
Now, Back to the "why" of this whole thing. If little girls are stabbing in the name of Slender Man, who exactly is he?
Slender Man was created by Eric Knudson in 2009 when he posted photo-edited images to the online message board Something Awful. The images show a mysterious slim, spidery specter in a black suit and a featureless white face who preys on children. Over time, Slender Man has grown in popularity as other people made their own images & stories about the character.
He has also been as cited as a factor in copycat crimes. Days after the Wisconsin stabbing, a 13-year-old girl in Hamilton County, Ohio, attacked her mother with a knife. The mother later said she thought the girl was obsessed with Slender Man.
Unfortunately, little kids sometimes have trouble distinguishing between “make believe” and “real life.” But what’s not clear is — how will the Slender Man movie reference these crimes? And will it be exploitative?
In the trailer, we see walls covered in Slender Man drawings resembling sketches drawn by the Wisconsin girls. Another scene shows a girl stabbing herself in the head at school. So, yes. The movie will probably use the real life crimes to its advantage in scaring viewers, without directly recreating the events.
Whether or not the creators should or should not be able to do that is hard to say.
What do you think? Will you be seeing the Slender Man movie when it comes out? Let us know in the comments.
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