The first trailer for the horror film Slender Man debuted earlier this year and immediately earned a substantial amount of backlash for a number of reasons. The film was originally slated to hit theaters in May, though the studio ultimately decided to push its release date back to August 24th. The film's release date has once again been changed by Sony Screen Gems, though the film has been moved forward and will now open in theaters on August 10th.
In a small town in Massachusetts, four high school girls perform a ritual in an attempt to debunk the lore of Slender Man. When one of the girls goes mysteriously missing, they begin to suspect that she is, in fact, HIS latest victim.
Regardless of any horror fans who had previous knowledge of the character, the initial reactions to the trailer mocked how generic many of the images used in the trailer were, seemingly attempting to cash in on every horror cliche the creative team could think of to sell the movie. The more fans learned about the real-world origins of the character, the more viewers soured on the concept.
The origin of the character came from a Photoshop challenge on the Something Awful forums in which users challenged themselves to take mundane photos and alter them to include a horrifying element. Eric Knudsen, posting as "Victor Surge," posted two photos of children in which a tall, suited figure appeared in the background with elongated limbs.
The images resonated with other users, as multiple people all began claiming to have similar experiences as a child with this "Slender Man," ranging from claiming to have seen the figure while they were a child to even having interacted with him, often including extraterrestrial or supernatural abilities of the figure.
The stories were so compelling, that two young girls took the fiction as reality.
In 2014, two 12-year-old girls lured a friend into a park restroom and stabbed her as a sacrifice to the Slender Man, in hopes of earning protection from the creature. The events were chronicled in the documentary Beware the Slenderman.
After the trailer debuted, the father of one of the attacker's addressed the press about the horrible event being turned into a film for the sake of profit.
"It's absurd they want to make a movie like this," Bill Weier said during a press telephone interview. "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."
Whether the film's delay was a reflection of the controversy is unclear.
Slender Man hits theaters on August 10th.0comments
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