It used to be that folktales and stories started around a campfire, passed down from person to person. As the centuries rolled on into the modern era, these old tales transformed into urban legends — the vanishing hitchhiker, the dead body in the mattress, the clown doll that was really a deranged little person. We usually come across these stories as kids, often having a profound impact on us. In the age of the internet, the most potent urban legend has been that of the Slenderman—and now he’s getting the documentary treatment from HBO.
For those of you out there who still haven’t heard of it, the Slenderman is a supposedly supernatural figure, one who originated as an internet meme back in 2009. He’s always depicted as resembling a thin, unnaturally tall man with a blank and featureless face, wearing a black suit. It’s a pretty creepy image. The meme took off and began appearing in fiction online—stories which usually had him stalking, abducting, or traumatizing people (especially children). At some point, people started to think he was real, and many refer to him as the first real case of “digital folklore.”
Things got actually tragic when in 2014, two 12-year old girls stabbed a classmate nineteen times, and blamed it on the Slenderman. This caused something of a panic in the small Wisconsin town where it happened, which is going to be the subject of the new HBO documentary, Beware the Slenderman. The film, from award-winning director Irene Taylor Brodsky, will explore the lore surrounding the Slenderman and how this internet meme grew into something that could inspire a real crime among children.
HBO will be premiering the movie at this year’s SXSW, on Friday, March 11, at 9pm at the Topfer Theatre. There is still no word yet on when the movie will arrive on HBO, but in the meantime they’ve released a creepy new poster for the series, which you can check out below:
Are you excited to watch this documentary when it airs? Or does this whole thing creep you out too much? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.