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Marble Hornets
August 30, 2009 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Alex Kralie, a film student, was shooting his student project in 2006. It was never completed, due to what Alex called "unworkable conditions", and his friend and classmate talked Alex into handing over the raw footage. The name of the film was to be Marble Hornets, and that's the name of the youtube account used to released interesting or odd snippets from Alex Kralie's aborted film. Marble Hornets Introduction posted by boo_radley (123 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
F is for fake
posted by philip-random at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Werner Herzog could so turn this into Grizzyman 2.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:45 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I get a strange "Blair Witch Project" + "Viral ad campaign" vibe from this. But it still creeps me out.
posted by Askiba at 4:47 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I kept expecting the camera guy to get jumped in #2. It feels like this YouTube thinger is the student project if it isn't some corporate viral.
posted by xorry at 4:48 PM on August 30, 2009


I'll tell you straight up, it's no viral ad campaign.
posted by boo_radley at 4:49 PM on August 30, 2009


"filed away in the back of my closet"

"Filed"... "closet". That's what I've been telling my wife for years. Maybe I'll shoot a bunch of tape of my "files" and upload the clips to You Tube too!

Oh look, an old sock that somehow missed the last 57 laundries.

Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!
posted by Mike D at 4:50 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh, and I'm not involved in any way, and I really don't know the kid who's posting them, just to head off that discussion.
posted by boo_radley at 4:51 PM on August 30, 2009


I'll tell you straight up, it's no viral ad campaign.

Please don't take this as sounding hostile or anything, but how would you know that unless you uploaded these videos or know someone who did? Seems like you're in on something, at least.
posted by Askiba at 4:52 PM on August 30, 2009


(damn. should have previewed?)
posted by Askiba at 4:53 PM on August 30, 2009


I'll tell you straight up, it's no viral ad campaign.

Then it's a school/art project. There are no more mysteries in this world.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:53 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Over at unfiction.com, they're busy trying to figure out if this is an alternate reality game or something else.
posted by effbot at 4:54 PM on August 30, 2009


Blair Witch 2.0
posted by gallois at 4:55 PM on August 30, 2009


Thank goodness he found something worth uploading or that whole introduction would have been a real waste of time.
posted by The Deej at 4:59 PM on August 30, 2009 [17 favorites]


Um...does something eventually happen?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:02 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, put me in the "I love this even though I know it's fiction" crowd. Awesome find.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 PM on August 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


And yeah, I agree this is probably for a video game. The mystery-to-be-solved aspect seems better suited to a gaming narrative than a film.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:07 PM on August 30, 2009


"Adding comments has been disabled for this video."
posted by ericb at 5:08 PM on August 30, 2009


http://marblehornets.wikidot.com/

They call it an ARG related to Something Awful's "Slender Man".
posted by knapah at 5:09 PM on August 30, 2009


Almost certainly fiction.
Pretty cool, though. It's totally setting off all of those excellent "internet detective" switches in my brain, which means i'll get all obsessive about finding out all of the information I can about it. The twitter is a good find. Looks like it's an ongoing work, too.
I'm going to spend the next hour digging through all of the online chatter about it. Man, I had things to do.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 5:11 PM on August 30, 2009


Thanks for the link effbot! It's more fun to watch the videos along with the comments.
posted by xorry at 5:15 PM on August 30, 2009


Thanks for the link knapah. Very interesting indeed, my favorite bit so far is in #7. The first time you watch you can't tell why he freaks out and speeds away but if you pay close attention to the background you can see the slender man. Neat.
posted by Askiba at 5:20 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It say something about the power of the sophomore slump that almost no one, when talking about Blair Witch 2, is ever actually thinking of Blair Witch 2.

And if this turns out to be an ad for a ski resort...
posted by cortex at 5:29 PM on August 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


fiction yet cool ... maybe

it will be interesting to see if it gets any traction. My gut tells me no. Blair Witch is still too fresh in the zeitgeist (even if it was released 10 years ago). The reason I called FAKE so quickly is that I've sat in on discussions for a similarly themed project (ie: lost/forgotten vid-tapes filed away for years, then remembered ... and they have a chilling tale to tell) ... and as such, it felt a little obvious.
posted by philip-random at 5:31 PM on August 30, 2009


(still perplexed as all hell that JOE BERLINGER was not only tapped but agreed to make Blair Witch 2). JOE BERLINGER. Documentarian. What?

(extra special trade secret: The guys behind Blair Witch were as surprised as the rest of us when it did what it did. Then spent several years trying to act like they did it on purpose and screwing up deal after deal. And there they are. <3>

posted by cavalier at 5:33 PM on August 30, 2009


Askiba: Time? I've watched two or three times and can't see it.
posted by phrontist at 5:33 PM on August 30, 2009


I was actually planning on writing a post when they were finished. First time I saw these were about 1 in the morning and freaked me out!
Here's some more stuff on it:
Original SA post.
totheark is involved with it. It's the only video responses that the original poster allows and he mentions it on the twitter. In response to the latest totheark post, someone posted a video with the audio reversed where you can hear it saying "Alex" over and over.

A few interesting things about the videos.
In Entry #8 the drawings have mentions of Pine trees. If you go back to the entry where they are location scouting for the film, they are surrounded by pine trees.
Then at the end of #8 he is focusing on a lamp when the tape ends. That's where Entry #1 picks up as the new tape was put in.
Also in #1 you can see that Slender Man is bending over to look in the windows, showing he's at least over 6' tall.
posted by Deflagro at 5:34 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm up to entry #12 so far, seems kinda cool. Tho I feel like I missed something in Entry #7...
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:35 PM on August 30, 2009


Having watched all of them, I have to say the shots by themselves - without the narrative commentary - makes for some really chilling stuff. #11 especially so. The only thing I'd change would be to remove commentary where the narrator is telling us what conclusions to draw from the clips (e.g., "Someone is following Alex", "Whoever's following him is making him irritable and stressed out.") Other than that, this is great stuff. Also fun: the random YouTube private investigators offering their own conclusions.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:36 PM on August 30, 2009


and as such, it felt a little obvious.

For me it was the terrible acting, especially apparent in #2 and #7. It still manages to be interesting and very creepy.
posted by xorry at 5:37 PM on August 30, 2009


And if this turns out to be an ad for a ski resort...

Hang on, there's a secret message in these tapes! I think I figured out the code. Okay...that's a "D"...then that must be a...an "R?" Yes. Yes! D...R...I...N...K...Y...O...U...R...O...V...A...L...T...

Drink your Ovaltine? Drink your Ovaltine?! What the fuck is that?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:37 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


MrBobaFett and Phrontist: in #7 at 1:35 look in the far background, beyond the trash can. It's a bit bright, but you can see what looks like a suited man sans head.
posted by Askiba at 5:38 PM on August 30, 2009


Phrontist: Time? I've watched two or three times and can't see it.

It's at about 1:40 in the background. It's revealed when he leans his head back against the seat and it wasn't there about a minute earlier.
posted by Deflagro at 5:38 PM on August 30, 2009


Cortex! I think it's kind of unfair that you guys can correct spelling mistakes in your posts.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:39 PM on August 30, 2009


Cool, it's a really boring ham-fisted ARG.
posted by Damn That Television at 5:40 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


MrBobaFett: "I'm up to entry #12 so far, seems kinda cool. Tho I feel like I missed something in Entry #7..."

Did you watch it in HQ? I think that might make the difference.
posted by boo_radley at 5:40 PM on August 30, 2009


See, here I am all sad now. I was actually really looking forward to footage left over from an aborted student film.

That would've been damned interesting.
posted by koeselitz at 5:41 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Could somebody please tell me what the hell this is so that I don't have to sit through a bunch of Youtube that I don't have time for?
posted by Afroblanco at 5:45 PM on August 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


One of the things that I like about these videos (and the SA thread that started everything) is that they're a sort of modern-day mythology. The idea of an amateur ARG (or ham fisted, if you're a clotted hipster) is nice, too, because they can just work on the story entirely; there's no product that they have to sell, so it'll never distract from the story.
posted by boo_radley at 5:47 PM on August 30, 2009


The first time you watch you can't tell why he freaks out and speeds away but if you pay close attention to the background you can see the slender man.

I have watched the end several times and see nothing. Where is he?
posted by Bookhouse at 5:50 PM on August 30, 2009


Sorry, didn't preview.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:51 PM on August 30, 2009


Yeah, this is right creepy, and quite fun.
posted by koeselitz at 5:52 PM on August 30, 2009


Could somebody please tell me what the hell this is so that I don't have to sit through a bunch of Youtube that I don't have time for?

My advice would be to wait until you do have the time to watch them - the clips are only a couple minutes long each, anyway. And you might actually enjoy them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:52 PM on August 30, 2009


Cortex! I think it's kind of unfair that you guys can correct spelling mistakes in your posts.

I don't know what you're talking about, I didn't edit my comm—OH MY GOD THE SLENDER MAN IS IN THE ADMIN INTERFACE AND wait no, that's just Matt.
posted by cortex at 5:55 PM on August 30, 2009 [15 favorites]


Also, can I mention that this picture, excuse my french, scares the ever living shit out of me?

Can't sleep, slender man will eat me.
posted by Askiba at 6:04 PM on August 30, 2009


"Transferred to another college" doesn't have quite the impact of "was never seen alive again," so I'm dubious of the Blair Witch potential here. It's also not particularly coherent; why exactly is it supposed to be scary or even meaningful that the audio and video are randomly garbled/missing?
posted by Epenthesis at 6:04 PM on August 30, 2009


I'm enjoying learning about the Slender Man, and the Something Awful pictures, more than the actual episodes. I'm a sucker for the old hey what's that thing in the picture creepiness.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:07 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Epethesis, the reason it's supposed to be creepy is that the audio turned up in the 'totheark' replies when the original uploader says he has no idea who the replier is.
posted by Deflagro at 6:09 PM on August 30, 2009


OK, I'm going to reveal right now that I used to have nightmares about a tall, slender, well-dressed Bogeyman who would slowly chase me through unfamiliar landscapes until I was trapped, like if I'm on a playground then suddenly the swing is too high and I can't jump off. Or if I'm at the circus then I run away and end up in a revival meeting where he grabs me.

So this picture? Pretty much brings back some horrible dream shit.
posted by muddgirl at 6:14 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm not really a fan of horror/suspense movies, but I'm digging this. It reminds me of the scene in Signs where Joaquin Phoenix's character is watching the Brazilian news footage of the alien through the window at the birthday party.
posted by elmer benson at 6:16 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Could somebody please tell me what the hell this is so that I don't have to sit through a bunch of Youtube that I don't have time for?

Are you sure you didn't mean to login to Twitter?
posted by Cyrano at 6:18 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cyrano, YouTube is the bane of those of us who like the listen to music and multitask while doing our web browsing. If only more stuff were still text, like the good ol' internet, I wouldn't have to interrupt my constant stream of awesome audio or stop alt-tabbing back and forth to my many other windows in order to have stuff read to me that I could just as happily have read myself.

Granted, this may be one of those things that just wouldn't work in anything but video format. If somebody could tell me what the hell this is, I can determine whether it'd be worth investing the time sitting through a bunch of Youtube.
posted by Dysk at 6:27 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ham fisted fiction, yes. Fun and creepy, also yes. I'm enjoying the random bits of commentary and speculation as much as the actual entries, honestly. If the author intended to create an intarwebz subculture/phenomena he or she appears to be on their way to succeeding.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 6:28 PM on August 30, 2009


Interesting, with potential, but a few things:

1) In the intro, don't say, "I was too unnerved to watch the tapes at the time." It gives too much away -- really signals that we are going to see something SUPER CREEPY AND SCARY!!!

2) The acting is pretty terrible -- and when I say "the acting" I mean "the acting of the people who are supposed to be not acting." Like in #7 after the scene ends and the other guy wants to know if they are going to do it again. Terrible.

3) Why would Alex walk in front of the camera in #9 and wave to it when talking about how many tapes they have? Too artificial.

4) Also in #9, don't say, "I've never seen Alex acting this way before," then just have him being mildly irritated and kind of a dick. Have him FREAKING THE FUCK OUT or something a little more shocking.

5) College kids don't live alone in giant 2-story houses in the middle of the woods.

6) The audio distortions sound like someone distorted the audio, not like it was some natural (or even supernatural) degradation of the tape.

Some of it is quite effective, though, especially, I think, the footage w/o sound, and entry #2 which does a pretty good job of building atmosphere and tension.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:28 PM on August 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


"Drink your Ovaltine? Drink your Ovaltine?! What the fuck is that?"

You'll shoot your eye out, kid!
posted by Mike D at 6:34 PM on August 30, 2009


Yeah, what Saxon Kane says. Fake acting and fake non-acting acting. And far, far too many jiggled camera views that make us look for monsters in the background or under the car. Does the number of YouTube views change? For example, #1 is at 24,376 views no matter how many times I reload. Is it possible for someone to hold the number of views down in order to make us think we're onto something early on--you know, to make it go viral? Because this is most certainly what this project is begging for.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:47 PM on August 30, 2009


The narration is kind of off putting. The guy went though all the tapes edited them together and then put in the narration. Then finally at #7 he puts something in about being followed? As if the text narrative is also realising what's going on onscreen as the audience does. That would mean the whole thing comes off as to be set up and suspenseful rather than "hey here's some stuff" and then build the story as you find it and upload it, à la lonelygirl15.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:48 PM on August 30, 2009


I love this kind of stuff. Even if it's some hamfisted ARG, that's still fun.
posted by gemmy at 6:49 PM on August 30, 2009


This is great, in spite of some stiff acting. I found myself unconsciously looking out the window in my study while I watched it. I'm anxious (both with excitement and fear) to see more.
posted by orville sash at 6:58 PM on August 30, 2009


you know who is really scary is hamfist man
posted by ND¢ at 6:58 PM on August 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


The entire set of 12 videos takes under 30 minutes to watch, and that includes clicking and loading time. It's a very visual thing, cannot easily be described. If you haven't gotten the gist of what the videos are about by reading this thread, then either this particular entertainment was not aimed at your demographic, or you just need to take the time to watch the clips.

Stranger danger! Oh noes! And it's a man too! Eeek! Keep the kids away!
posted by hippybear at 7:00 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bookhouse: I have watched the end several times and see nothing. Where is he?

Compare 0:45 with 1:38. (Yeah, took me way too long, too.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:03 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If #7 is the first time you saw the guy then you have been missing a bunch of stuff.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:06 PM on August 30, 2009


Also, as you can clearly tell from that screenshot, he is not a slender man. He is an emperor penguin with a mask on standing on a recycling bin. The flippers give it away.

SCARY PENGUIN!

posted by koeselitz at 7:08 PM on August 30, 2009


Ah, Miskatonic University. Is there no end to the abuse fans will heap upon you?

The Slender Man made me think of the Giant from Twin Peaks. Evil twin?
posted by Iosephus at 7:18 PM on August 30, 2009


What would Cayce Pollard do?
posted by davebush at 7:25 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


YouTube is the bane of those of us who like the listen to music and multitask while doing our web browsing.

Sounds like someone's wielding his Problems of the First World +5.
posted by Cyrano at 7:25 PM on August 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


One of the things that I like about these videos (and the SA thread that started everything) is that they're a sort of modern-day mythology. The idea of an amateur ARG (or ham fisted, if you're a clotted hipster) is nice, too, because they can just work on the story entirely; there's no product that they have to sell, so it'll never distract from the story.

Well, apparently they wasted all the time they spent not advertising, because they can't tell a story worth a damn. This is "Goosebumps"-level writing.

I don't want to shit all over the glee parade, and if you enjoy this kind of stuff, amen and pass the gravy, but my problem with just about every ARG is that from the very first second out of the gate, they're just clubbing you over the head at every fucking step with how mysterious and nutty and spooky they are. What gets praise for being wild and experimental here would be laughed off a page/screen/stage if it were a book/movie/play.
posted by Damn That Television at 7:32 PM on August 30, 2009


Cyrano, I never claimed it was on the level of world hunger.
posted by Dysk at 7:35 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Damn That Television: You're not taking into account the nature of participating in something, and how that can make it all much more interesting.

Believe me, if someone was to take even some of the most dramatic parts of most of our lives and put them on stage or screen, they would be laughed off. People don't have snappy dialogue, or outstanding monologues, or moments where they defeat the terrorists in the skyscraper singlehanded by walking barefoot on broken glass. They really don't happen that often. Even "true story" movies and plays have been dramatically tightened, characters consolidated, exposition placed in the mouths of characters, etc.

However, the thrill of an ARG is not being able to stand back and observe. It is in the process of discovery, the 2am message board postings where someone has revealed something, or where you are taking parts of a website and looking for text hidden inside the pictures, etc.

I participated heavily in the Year Zero ARG, and it was a couple of the most surreal months of my life. I was literally living in two realities, one of which I knew was completely make-believe but was still utterly gripping to me. When the USB drives started turning up at concerts in Europe, and hidden messages were being found inside noisy parts of the music tracks, there was a literal rush of discovery involved, even if I wasn't instrumental in actually finding that particular piece of the story.

In the end, the whole story is pretty mundane as far as dystopian future stories go. There are no real characters to speak of, the "plot" isn't about something happening at all. It's all about the slow reveal, the transition of confusion to understanding. And you're actually there, doing it! THAT is what ARGs are about.

Your standard D&D session also is pretty boring and stupid, unless you're playing. Same idea, different mechanism.
posted by hippybear at 7:47 PM on August 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Damn That Television: "What gets praise for being wild and experimental here would be laughed off a page/screen/stage if it were a book/movie/play."

That's probably the case, and yeah, the story is very unorganized and amateur. The ARG format works well here, I think, because the story is advanced by means other than the videos; the youtube clips come out every few weeks, and during these lulls, the other co-creators are filling in the story with stories and photoshops and getting feedback from everyone.
posted by boo_radley at 7:57 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


The ARG format works well here, I think, because the story is advanced by means other than the videos; the youtube clips come out every few weeks, and during these lulls, the other co-creators are filling in the story with stories and photoshops and getting feedback from everyone.

A-ha! Not calling me a clotted hipster, because I in turn did more than just assholishly dismiss the ARG with a snide adjective or two. Now we're getting somewhere, thanks to the magic of Metafilter.

I think that directly engaging the audience is the wrong thing to do in an ARG: why go through the whole pretense of creating an alternate reality filled with mystery and drama if you're going to break character and "advance" it as the creators? I don't want to judge these guys too harshly, because while it's not something that lights my fire, they're clearly just doing it because they like it, so more power to them.

I love, in theory, what can be done with ARGs. But in practice, very, very few have even scratched the surface of what really can be done in the medium. Milwaukee was hilarious and delightful, especially the phone lines, and apparently not associated with anything, but it just kind of stopped, without any explanation. ilovebees was so ambitious and wide-ranging and popular that you can't help but admire the foresight and planning, even if it was funded by Microsoft. And Elsewhere Public Works, or whatever you want to call it, is very slick and intriguing, despite again being the "hit you over the head" kind of ARG.
posted by Damn That Television at 8:09 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, clotted hipster is what the english put on scones.
posted by boo_radley at 8:17 PM on August 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm impressed that this thread already showing up on a Google search for "clotted hipster." It's been less than four hours.
posted by xorry at 8:21 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


**TRANSMISSION INTERRUPTED**

foisndfoisndfgsdngosnfgosnr0isldnflsdnfka jsldnjlnerflensfljn dzjd ahfbljxcngljsgnlxjc glxc g

-C-L-O-T-T-E-D-H-I-P-S-T-3-R

(i am waiting)
posted by Damn That Television at 8:22 PM on August 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think that directly engaging the audience is the wrong thing to do in an ARG: why go through the whole pretense of creating an alternate reality filled with mystery and drama if you're going to break character and "advance" it as the creators?

I think there are really two distinct audiences for ARGs: the vast majority of people who just see the material and say "Huh, weird" and the handful of people who actually "play" it. The people who actually work on documenting and interacting with the ARG of course know that it's fake, and are just doing it for fun, so it's probably not ruining anything for them to actually interact with the creators. Meanwhile, the people who only see the ARG materials themselves would not have anything ruined for them.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:29 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I just finished reading that Unfiction thread (all 30-odd pages of it), and I cannot believe that they still have not run any of the distorted sound through a spectrograph! Jeez! During the Year Zero thing, there were pictures, phone numbers, and URLs hidden in the noise. And they spent nearly two pages discussing the idea, and NOBODY HAS DONE IT YET.

GRRRR.

I refuse to get involved. I just creeped myself out completely for the night and will probably have to take a pill to fall asleep. But jeez. Spectrograph programs are easy to find online, it's totally simple to load sound into them, and they just sort of do their thing automagically. I hope they figure that out. It's clear there are things IN the sound files.

Anyway, it's clever so far. I don't know how closely I can follow this, however. I used to have problems with corner-of-the-eye quasi-hallucinations of Jacob's Ladder-style shaky-head distorted people standing and hitchhiking on dark roads at night. I don't really need to trigger those again. I've already had to make sure all the curtains are fully closed.
posted by hippybear at 8:30 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh man, the Slender Man medieval woodcuts over the SA thread are awesome. The whole thing just redeems itself for me with just that. Episode #13 needs an hourglass around.
posted by Iosephus at 8:41 PM on August 30, 2009


Just reading this thread is giving me the heebie-jeebies. I was able to look at that picture for, oh, about 2 seconds. Yikes.

Is this like that episode of Doug where he covers his eyes at the movie monster's reveal, only to have so many nightmares about it that he forces himself to brave the movie again only to realize how laughably fake it is? Because I suspect scardey-cat me is not going to be helped by watching the videos and looking closely for creepy things.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:51 PM on August 30, 2009


We're going to get Rickrolled in the finale, aren't we?
posted by cazoo at 9:09 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Solon and Thanks: Actually, I'm working my way through the thread at Something Awful wherein Slender Man originated, and there are a bunch of picture of him there. Combined with the videos, I've been in a perpetual state of goosebumps and cold chills for a few hours now. I'm too fascinated to stop looking, and too freaked out ever to sleep tonight.

The thing that makes it work is, well, for starters, it's a modern version of the old boogeyman / evil fairy mythos where there is something evil in the woods which wants to snap up the children. Add in that quite a few of the Something Awful people are quite talented at creating an image which is normal on the surface, except for that ONE background detail which just suddenly becomes the entire focus of the picture. Then there are the stories which are being woven to go with the pictures, some of which are being backed up with "newspaper articles" and "crime scene photos". All of these are coming from a very wide group of people, but they are weaving together nicely into a story which seems to be creeping out the people who are creating it as much as those who are just now encountering it for the first time.

In the thread I'm reading, someone mentions that the Slender Man would make for a good multi-media online sort of House Of Leaves kind of creation. I think that is what these videos are about, along with all the photos and woodcuts and stories about the children found impaled high up in trees... The weaving of a layer of the unreal into our reality.

Damn, I didn't know it was possible to feel fatigue in the parts of the skin that make the hair on my arms stand on end, but I think I'm getting close!

boo_radley -- I don't know whether I hate you or want to MeFi marry you for introducing me to this. Thank you for posting! I mean, don't ever do this again!
posted by hippybear at 9:12 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If anyone knows anyone involved with this -- PLEASE have them contact me at my MeFi mail or at Matthew@vook.com. I work at a company building a new platform for digital books that blends video and text into one complete story -- "House of Leaves" was a founding inspiration for the direction I'd like to see some of our titles go. . . THIS would be the perfect place to start and could be exceptionally cool.
posted by matthewstopheles at 9:21 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


hippybear, I guess one day we can have a cowardly-mefites-who-can't-look-away meetup. I'll be the one hiding behind the couch.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:39 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


After skimming through the SA thread, all I have to say is...

I know what I'm going as for Halloween!
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:40 PM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm going to operate on the assumption that this is just a bunch of kids doing this with no budget. If that's the case, then it's fucking awesome, and I have to say, it gave me the deep-down heebie-jeebies watching a few of these.

I think it would be better with less on-the-nose captions on the videos, but this is still great work.
posted by empath at 10:24 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can we get a complete list of Slender Man sightings in these videos (with time stamps)? I definitely saw him in a few of them, but do all of them have them?
posted by empath at 11:10 PM on August 30, 2009


I WILL be the next Harris Burdick! Children of the digital age WILL have to come up with original storylines based on these filmed glimpses, and construct a narrative independent of them, but based on the few moments they have seen!

Man, I'm so deep!

(phooey).
posted by Graygorey at 11:35 PM on August 30, 2009



Can we get a complete list of Slender Man sightings in these videos (with time stamps)? I definitely saw him in a few of them, but do all of them have them?
posted by empath at 1:10 AM on August 31


all the slender man sightings so far
posted by dancestoblue at 12:25 AM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


...so yes, I suppose it's like Peter Pan, the whole lost childhood thing that graduates into a story about lost children, but guess who we have lined up for our Hook... Aphex Twin! Hello? Uh, hello?
posted by kid ichorous at 1:13 AM on August 31, 2009


Also, the most disturbing Pied Piper yet has to be the 'aw-shucks' manifestation in Alan Moore's Promethea.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:17 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I got the "wow, this is so fake" feeling pretty early on, but damned if my heart has not been pounding ever since video #6.
posted by so_gracefully at 1:32 AM on August 31, 2009


Dude looks like Agent 47.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:40 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


the Slender Man reminds me of the Gentlemen from Buffy
posted by jammy at 5:24 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just love this sort of fake real creepy video stuff... just hope it doesn't plunge rapidly downhill when they try and spin it out too long (LonelyGirl I'm looking at you)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:51 AM on August 31, 2009


Reminds me of this guy.
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:01 AM on August 31, 2009


I think they need to add a few things to this if they're going to keep this working:

A) Stories of Missing Kids
B) A 'Dark History' for Alex
C) Alex needs to start going crazy--- weird script changes, etc.
D) The implication that alex did something to make the slender man leave him alone. Something dreadful. Which is why he left town.
posted by empath at 8:11 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Alex needs to start going crazy

I think that's what they were trying to do with the whole taping himself all the time, yelling at the actors, making weird drawings and putting them up near his bed stuff. But yeah, some really out there stuff would be good. Almost every film that has a found tape (including Blair Witch) eventually has a long monologue from the victim speaking directly to the camera for the people who eventually find it, so it will be interesting to see if they ever end up going there, and if so what it will be like.

Also, I think they need to come up with some vague but consistent reason for the Slender Man to be terrorizing him. It seems like they are going for a geographical explanation, but that would limit opportunities to use Slender Man in new stories in new places.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:30 AM on August 31, 2009


C) Alex needs to start going crazy--- weird script changes, etc.
D) The implication that alex did something to make the slender man leave him alone. Something dreadful. Which is why he left town.


What little we see of the film-within-a-film (which sounds like some horrible episode of "Dawson's Creek" to me) seems to imply the main character is dissatisfied with his hometown, feels it's empty, stagnant, et cetera. Presuming that Alex wrote the script, this could reflect his own unhappiness with his hometown and with life in general -- which is to say, leaving town doesn't sound like it was exactly a fate worse than death. In a sense, then, the Slender Man is pushing him toward what he wants to do anyway, which makes me wonder if maybe the Slender Man's kind of a familiar, something that kinda parasitically latches onto disturbed people and acts on their unspoken wishes?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:46 AM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


If i were doing this, I'd make it so people can only see the Slender Man in their peripheral vision, but the camera doesn't have that problem.
posted by empath at 9:10 AM on August 31, 2009


I'm still curious about what happens after the camera shuts off in clip #12. Several people see Slender Man, they actually approach him for conversation, and then...
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on August 31, 2009


And then he walks off in that same creepy way he used around the windows, but now behind a tree, and is nowhere to be seen when they check behind? I doubt these guys have the budget to stage a gorefest right there, and it would probably deflate all the tension.
posted by Iosephus at 9:52 AM on August 31, 2009


Iosephus: well, yes. That is the point of this kind of thing, isn't it? It's all about what is happening off stage, out of camera view. I think they may have painted themselves into a corner with that clip #12, unless the conceit is that the guy does just dissolve or run away somehow. All of the tension would be gone if there were an actual confrontation, unless they work out a way for that contact to be mysterious and creepy and unresolved like everything else.

These clips work SO well with all the other material about Slender Man... great collaborative project woven out of independent threads. I'm really impressed by how much I was really freaked out last night.
posted by hippybear at 10:07 AM on August 31, 2009


Marble Hornets is an anagram of HERBAL MONSTER

omgomgomgomgomg
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:10 AM on August 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


is that an energy drink?
posted by hippybear at 10:14 AM on August 31, 2009


What's the legal status of these sorts of things? The Slender Man is quickly becoming Internet mythology, but the original pictures were created by a single user at SA.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:16 AM on August 31, 2009


I doubt these guys have the budget to stage a gorefest right there, and it would probably deflate all the tension.

The beauty of it is that with the chopped up narrative structure and gaps due to periods of time that weren't filmed, they don't have to show that part of the story on screen at all. If they are smart, they will reference the events later to give the viewer a vague idea of what happened and let the viewers fill in the gaps with their imagination (which will be much scarier than their limited FX skills could muster). If they eventually fill in all of the gaps with more footage, that would take all of the fun out of it.

One of the nice things about low budget films is that they force the filmmakers to come up with creative ways to tell a story without actually showing anything that would be too expensive or difficult to film. Sometimes it's more fun to watch a movie like Reservoir Dogs that is about a bank robbery and shootout, but spends the whole time showing the leadup to and aftermath of the robbery rather than the robbery itself.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:17 AM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


the original pictures were created by a single user at SA

The original 2 photos, yes. But it quickly expanded far beyond that into dozens and dozens of images, some of them even narrative photosets.

As far as legal status goes, IANAL, and can't even begin to guess.
posted by hippybear at 11:17 AM on August 31, 2009


Now I know Jeff Goldblum's mantra: flag it and move on.
posted by neuron at 1:39 PM on August 31, 2009


What little we see of the film-within-a-film (which sounds like some horrible episode of "Dawson's Creek" to me)

See, whenever I hear that phrase I can't help thinking Lesbian Spank Inferno.
posted by scalefree at 4:20 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Marble Hornets" is an anagram of Thermal Boner.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 4:50 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


See, whenever I hear that phrase I can't help thinking Lesbian Spank Inferno.

Heh! No, I meant the film-within-a-film itself. It's all like...

ACTOR: This town, it's like...I don't know. I went to college and I thought I would never miss it. But then I missed it. The town. And so I came back here after college. But it's no good. It's like everything's all...empty.

ALEX: Maybe it is.

ACTOR: Yeah. Like it's all used up. Like a used-up thing.

ALEX: Maybe it was always used up.

ACTOR: Maybe so. Things get that way. Used. Sometimes. Empty, and just. Used, also.

ALEX: That could be true. Hey, there's like this apparition thing hovering about twenty feet away and I think we should leave now.

ACTOR: Totally empty.

ALEX: Empty as shit, yeah. Wellherewego.
[screeeeeeeeeeech]

It occurs to me that the Slender Man, in his activities as a supernatural saboteur, may have a critical agenda.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:50 PM on August 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is crazy. The build-up is fantastic; I feel really tense watching these videos, until the Slender Man actually shows up and then it's all *pfft*. But it happened over and over as I watched all of the videos, so they're doing something right. The Slender Man just isn't menacing enough for me when he shows up.
posted by owtytrof at 7:06 PM on August 31, 2009


Anyway, what I was trying to drive at (for the benefit of three people still reading this thread) when I posted from work today and couldn't really think things through, is that the awful movie Alex is actually making seems relevant to me: In its hamfisted way, it's about someone trying to transcend their small town roots, which is what Alex is presumably trying to do in becoming a (terrible) filmmaker. But he keeps getting tripped up by the Slender Man, who is himself representative of the place Alex comes from (the Slender Man is evidently bound to that place) and its history, which Alex can't escape -- it literally keeps inserting itself into the movie! If it's following Alex around, it makes sense to me that it needs Alex for something; maybe Alex's own instability provides it some kind of channel; maybe the Slender Man is himself insubstantial, and has to take possession of Alex to get anything done in the real world (which would explain the kind of bizarre, random scenes of Alex walking to no place in specific in the dead of night, the mic switched off or sound deleted after the fact). If the Slender Man is killing people, etc., generally behaving in a destructive fashion, then Alex could be a good conduit for him in that he (Alex) probably has a lot of buried hostility toward the town he feels has held him back. (Alex isn't just crazy, as we can see the Slender Man, too.) This is all pretty "Twin Peaks," mind you, but....

At any rate, as cheesy as it all kinda is, it does grab you -- anyway, it grabbed me. I don't find any of it especially unnerving, but it is kinda fun to try and push the pieces around and see what fits. Of course, I think that's also players in the game doing the creators' work for them, in a sense, because I doubt they have anything like a solid answer in mind. Still a neat diversion.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:08 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ok, I've been reading the stuff at Unfiction and doing some other kicking around. Even though I know it's all fake, I'm creeped the fuck out. My dogs are coming to bed with me tonight, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
posted by owtytrof at 10:06 PM on August 31, 2009


I understand when it is dark out and you are alone and whatnot being scared of the slender man, but at the end of #7 it is broad daylight and you have another dude in the car with you and you see him, why don't you just go over there and fuck him up. "Hey you fucking monster I am going to beat your ass! Teach you to hang around my house at night!" Instead he just drives off. Missed opportunities man.
posted by ND¢ at 4:53 AM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, there is the implication that they tried to talk to him in #12...
posted by hippybear at 8:41 AM on September 1, 2009


...and it turns out the Slender Man was really a short fat man in a girdle on stilts.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:13 AM on September 1, 2009


""Marble Hornets" is an anagram of Thermal Boner."
poted by Hot Pastrami!

Eponysterical.
posted by potch at 1:29 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


They need to cross this over with Zalgo somehow.
posted by empath at 3:52 PM on September 1, 2009


Got it -- Slender Man is the Herald of Zalgo.
posted by empath at 3:52 PM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, these videos are a poor shadow of the original SA thread where the idea was created. For instance, this awesome audio that someone created from a script that someone else made about a photo that someone else made. Very well done.
posted by odinsdream at 4:49 PM on September 1, 2009


odinsdream: there are some photosets toward the end of that thread, like 6 or 7 photos of, say, a couple on vacation, and the sets start out fairly innocent, and then around photo 4 you start to see Slender Man off in the distance, and in subsequent photos, he's getting closer and closer... it's really effective, the idea that someone is lurking out there which you aren't even aware of, but the camera is catching it because you just aren't even looking.

Jeez, I just gave myself goosebumps writing that. Great boogeyman. I can't believe the whole thing was only invented a few months ago. Seems like something that's been around forever.
posted by hippybear at 7:30 PM on September 1, 2009


Marble Hornets Episode #13
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:36 AM on September 11, 2009


For you Something Awful nerds, there's a thread dedicated to the videos now.
posted by boo_radley at 12:30 PM on September 28, 2009


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