A new online petition is calling for SONY Studios to halt the release of their upcoming horror movie Slender Man citing the incident that made headlines back in 2014 when Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both 12 years old at the time, tried to murder a friend and fellow classmate, Payton Leutner also age 12. The motive behind the attack that stunned their hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin was that they wanted to become “proxies” to the fictional character Slender Man and prove their loyalty to him so their families will be spared by him.
One of the film’s biggest critics and is said to have signed the petition himself is Anissa Weier’s father who calls the film “extremely distasteful” due to the fact that three families have been affected by this fictional character. Weier was sentenced to 25 years in a Mental Health facility after pleading guilty and subsequently found not guilty due to mental illness by a jury, Her counterpart Geyser could face up to 40 years if convicted, even though both girls have pointed the finger at one another saying that the plan was the other’s idea but it’s believed by some that Geyser was the mastermind.
This is not the first time Slender Man was blamed for violent crimes perpetrated by young believers. After the incident an unidentified woman told her local news station in Cincinnati that her 13-year-old daughter attacked her with a knife, she claims that Slender Man was an influence since her daughter seemed obsessed with the character to the point of writing stories about him. Another incident occurred in Florida when a 14-year-old girl tried to set her home on fire while her mother and little brother was still inside. The police stated that the girl frequented websites about Slender Man as well as being obsessed with the manga Soul Eater.
In 2015, there was a disturbing surge in suicides on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation involving younger members of the community ranging from ages 12 to 24. One of the victims had a potential Slender Man tie because they’ve visited a site about him but Slender Man’s appearance almost resembles what many Native Americans call the Tall Man, a spirit that comes and convinces a person to commit suicide.
The petition claims that the movie is about or depicts the events surrounding the “Slender Man stabbing” from what I’ve seen of the film’s trailer, it’s hard to tell if the claim is true or not but many have said that the film which is the first official motion picture based on the character is about the Slender Man legend itself and does not reference the stabbing incident.
If the film is released, Avalon Theater and Fox Bay Cinema Grill will not show it because the two theaters are located not far from where the stabbing incident took place, “It’s a little bit fresh for the community,” Mark Struke told Daily Mail, Struke works for Avalon Theater.
Slender Man is a fictional character created by Eric Knudsen on the website Something Awful in 2009 before becoming a “Creepypasta” an internet form of an urban legend that’s shared or “copy and paste” onto other internet forums. The character is a tall man in a black suit with long slender limbs and a faceless white head; he is also known to be surrounded by black tentacles. Slender Man was made to appear in old photographs in the background slightly hidden, some photos dating back to the 1800’s, also he’s cited as being able to enter someone’s mind and drive them insane slowly before they finally break down mentally.
Tentacles, drives you crazy slowly, timeless… sound familiar? Yes, Slender Man was partially inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s famed otherworldly horror, Cthulhu as well as being inspired by the works of William S. Burroughs. What made Slender Man a cultural phenomenon was not just the story but other works of fiction that were being passed off as real accounts involving the character that spawned indie films, video games delve deeper into the lore and “found footage” type videos posted online, basically the internet was trying to make Slender Man real. Because of this the young, easily influenced, and mentally ill are easily taken in by the macabre draw of the character.
The film is set to be in theatres May 18th with Javier Botet (REC, Mama, Incedious: The Last Key) playing Slender Man.