Marble Hornets: Part 1 Completed
May 9, 2010 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Marble Hornets (previously) started out as Alex Kralie’s movie project. However after Alex became more paranoid the movie was aborted and he planned on burning the tapes. Jay (or "J") then convinced Alex to give him the raw footage instead. J began watching the tapes and noticing several odd things about them when suddenly things started happening to him.

After almost a year, the popular alternate reality game Marble Hornets has completed Part 1. (link to credits)

In the videos, Alex and J are stalked by Slender Man which was created at the Something Awful forums (NSFW, link to original thread which has some creepy stuff), which is also where Marble Hornets was originally posted. Unfiction picked up on the game and devoted a section of their forums to it. Clues were found in the videos by analyzing the audio/video (most can be found on the Unfiction forums under the individual threads for each video).

Updates to the series were given through a Twitter account, J’s Youtube account, and later through a Youtube account called totheark. The Twitter updates are not necessary to understanding the story though, they just give updates on what he’s been investigating outside of the videos, J’s thoughts on the events/videos, and a few uploaded pictures.

All videos from the Marble Hornets and totheark accounts in order of posting:
Introduction; Entry #1; Entry #2; Entry #3; Entry #4; Entry #5; Entry #6; Entry #7; Entry #8; Entry #9; totheark: Regards; Entry #10; TTA: Operator; Entry #11; TTA: Deluge; Entry #12; TTA: Impurity; Entry #13; TTA: Exit; Entry #14; TTA: Program; Entry #15 – Interview with Tim; Entry #16; TTA: Addition; Entry #17; TTA: Signal; Entry #18; Entry #19; TTA: Return; Entry #20; TTA: Version; Entry #21; Entry #22; TTA: Attention; TTA: Admission; Entry #23; Entry #24; Entry ######; Entry #25; Entry #26; Credits
posted by Deflagro (41 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Goddammit i love marble hornets

I mean, even the credits were creepy.
posted by litleozy at 5:08 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

The few times I've tried ARGs in the past I had way more fun reading about them than I had playing. I suspect this is because I approached them more as games to win than as social activities.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:13 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

It wasn't really an arg.
posted by empath at 5:42 PM on May 9, 2010

Yeah, it really classifies somewhere on the spectrum of new-media or transmedia storytelling, which granted includes ARGs, and doesn't make it less awesome.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 5:45 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm scared.
posted by thecjm at 5:45 PM on May 9, 2010

...classifies somewhere on the less interactive end of the spectrum...
fixed that for me.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 5:49 PM on May 9, 2010

I missed the original Marble Hornets post on the blue, but found it through an AskMe post a while back, and boy if it isn't one of the best things I've ever found via Metafilter. I'm glad there's going to be a part 2.
posted by Caduceus at 6:04 PM on May 9, 2010

The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew: "Yeah, it really classifies somewhere on the spectrum of new-media or transmedia storytelling, which granted includes ARGs, and doesn't make it less awesome."

Yeah I never really participated in it as an ARG but instead just took it as a story that had hidden clues to the answers in it.
posted by Deflagro at 6:05 PM on May 9, 2010

I am a goon also (yes, ostracize me if you wish), and I still fondly remember watching this whole thing coalesce out of nothing. It was a seriously cool experience.
posted by Samizdata at 6:54 PM on May 9, 2010

I really like the slender man mythos, btw, and how the Something Awful forums neatly got around the origin of the meme by saying that they actually created Slender Man by writing about him, how he's like pure, condensed fear.

There is a real movie here if someone wants to make it, and it would be fucking terrifying.
posted by empath at 7:37 PM on May 9, 2010

from the intro video: "I asked what he planned to do with the countless number of tapes he had filled." "... he gave them to me."

So, they're countable?

<pedant>Even if an infinite-capacity bag of holding was required for the transfer, they're still countable.</pedant>
posted by zippy at 7:44 PM on May 9, 2010

Loved this project. Just a great undertaking. And one of the few successful ones I think.
posted by matthewstopheles at 8:01 PM on May 9, 2010

I creeped myself out so extremely when Slender Man and Marble Hornets first were posted on the Blue, I'm reluctant to revisit it now. Stunning how someone can even know that it's a boogeyman myth which originated at THIS website on THIS date with THIS moment, and still end up totally freaked (and completely unable to stop reading more).
posted by hippybear at 8:15 PM on May 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you're 12.
posted by clarknova at 8:37 PM on May 9, 2010

That was a blast of a Part 1. I'm looking forward to more. I LOVE stuff like this and I'm impressed with these kids. So go on... you crazy film students, you.
posted by Kloryne at 8:49 PM on May 9, 2010

Oh jeez, I have never heard of the Slender Man before. This is not the sort of thing I should be investigating when working alone at the office at 2 AM. Every time I look up I see his gangly torso snaking through the door.

Screw this, I'm going home.
posted by painquale at 11:33 PM on May 9, 2010

I'm a goon as well! Thank you for the great post, Deflagro.
posted by dead cousin ted at 12:47 AM on May 10, 2010

Doing some research for my dissertation and I nearly shit myself when I found this book in the library. Seriously checking behind my shoulder for the rest of the day, swearing that I could see something on the edge of sight... yeah...
posted by litleozy at 1:27 AM on May 10, 2010

I'm glad there actually *was* something on the tapes, otherwise that "Introduction" video he edited and uploaded preemptively would have looked pretty silly!

I'm sorry, I just feel like what is otherwise a really sweet series of videos (not an ARG) kinda comes blatantly apart at the seams in some places...
posted by a sourceless light at 1:35 AM on May 10, 2010

Got about three pages in to Slender Man pictures on the message board. I need someone to hold me now.
posted by gc at 1:49 AM on May 10, 2010

Special Thanks:

Oak Mountain State Park

The City of Northport
I just realized that this whole thing was filmed across town from me.

The fact that Entry #19 could now have plausibly been filmed in, say, my old dorm room makes this whole exercise infinitely creepier.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:00 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Damn you all. I'd forgotten about the original Slender Man post in the blue, and here he is again.

Made worse by the fact that my son awoke last night (I swear this is true) with a nightmare about something that sounds an awful lot, in retrospect, like Slender Man.
posted by anastasiav at 6:21 AM on May 10, 2010

The thing that keeps me coming back to Something Awful is that occasionally, the goons do these really awesome collaborative things that seem to made up everything I like.

Steady on Goons! I may not like you, but I respect you.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 AM on May 10, 2010

creepy as fuck. enjoyed the hell out of it, great job to the makers, and lifts my spirit about the state of the creative spirit.
posted by angrycat at 7:44 AM on May 10, 2010

I've been enjoying Marble Hornets, but I started getting fairly worried when it seemed to abandon the Slender Man entirely for Masky and Jay's sleepwalking through parallel dimensions blah blah blah. Masky is always good for shock cuts but isn't creepy like SM is, and I really don't have much faith in the way the mythos is being deepened away from imminent fearsome death and towards I-don't-remember-any-of-this-footage-being-shot whatever stuff.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:38 AM on May 10, 2010

Ok, well, this thread has given me chills. Not so much because the videos are creepy (though they are), but because I think Slender Man was the first person that I ever killed in a dream.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:40 AM on May 10, 2010

I keep thinking that I'm about to see the Slender Man whenever I turn my head! I'm hunting for him in the background of scenes in real life! Why did I watch those videos? This is the worst.
posted by painquale at 12:37 PM on May 10, 2010

Heh, this was listed as a Marble Hornets video somewhere, and although it's a fake, it's still pretty great.
posted by painquale at 12:52 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

That's pretty awesome, painquale.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:56 PM on May 10, 2010

I like Masky. It reminded me of what was for me, the scariest moment in the Exorcist, the priest's dream of his mother descending into the subway, cut with a white-masked figure.

Although, Masky, the whole bizness with the pills, makes things more complicated.

Anybody know who the girl was in the last video?
posted by angrycat at 1:29 PM on May 10, 2010

angrycat: "Anybody know who the girl was in the last video?"

I think it's supposed to be Alex's girlfriend since he moved out of state and never talked to any of his old friends again.
posted by Deflagro at 1:52 PM on May 10, 2010

I've been following Slender Man and Marble Hornets since the beginning, and on one hand, Marble Hornets breaks down some times, like the bad acting (even the people acting being bad actors aren't all that good at it), the logical contradictions, the sometimes meandering plot and slack pacing, and sometimes bad decisions about where to take the plot.

On the other hand, I have to say, that final entry nails it so hard that every little problem with what came before is forgiven. Even though the guy playing Alex isn't a great actor, that final jump moment, the girlfriend's hysterical reaction, everything's spot on, and it's scary as hell.

The mythology is also at least kind of interesting (although I agree with shakespeherian in that I would have liked more focus on Slender Man and less on the other stuff). I particularly like the seeming inversion of the motif of harmful sensation (which we all know from The Ring and so on) where seeing or sensing is what hurts you, to something where the act of recording causes the monster to appear.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:32 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Which is what makes it so interesting, it's like that Simpson's episode with "Just don't look! Just don't look!" That if everyone stops talking about, writing out the creature, it vanishes, but trying to record and document it makes it happen. It's a wonderful play on the idea of scientific discovery and a VERY nice idea to hang a horror motif on, which they've done very well.

If I was a t all interested in started up my blighted, delayed directing bug, I'd want to do a horror movie with this idea.
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just had a sleepless night after reading about the Slender Man. The idea of a creature (or hell, anyone) coming into my room while I sleep just freaks me out.
posted by Alnedra at 6:15 PM on May 10, 2010

For me, it was the photosets that people posted that really got me. Usually presented as "I found this camera while hiking in the woods, and these are the pics that it contained," the sets would show a person or people out having a good time in nature or whatever. Then, slowly, emerging from the distance or the shadows (or the distant shadows) would come Slender Man. Slightly closer with every photo, obviously stalking the innocent crew who didn't notice his malicious presence...

I just gave myself goosebumps typing that. I'll be damned if I'm going to search around for any examples. I'm sure the Something Awful forums about Slender Man has links.

posted by hippybear at 6:45 PM on May 10, 2010

I've had such a visceral reaction to this series that I had to stop at Entry #22. I love creepy stories, but somehow this one is spooking me right to the core.
posted by In The Annex at 7:53 PM on May 10, 2010

In The Annex: "I've had such a visceral reaction to this series that I had to stop at Entry #22. I love creepy stories, but somehow this one is spooking me right to the core."

Oh, what I would give to see your reaction to the final entry. It's a gut punch.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:32 PM on May 10, 2010

The one that gave me a gut punch wasn't the last one, which I found a little too horror-movieish.


It was the one where Alex heard something from his bedroom, turned out the lights, grabbed his camera and went around the windows of his house, looking through the blinds to find it.

He never noticed that the Slender Man was standing next to the door that he (Alex) was peering out of.

Even writing that is giving me the shivers and sweaty palms. Looks like it's gonna be another sleepless night....
posted by Alnedra at 1:17 AM on May 11, 2010

The thing that struck me was that it's a twist on the motif of the Unreliable Narrator. Only in this case the camera, that objective, unbiased recorder of unvarnished fact is subverted into the role of Unreliable Narrator.
posted by lekvar at 3:43 AM on May 11, 2010 [5 favorites]

Alnedra, I never noticed that before! That's really creepy... It's Entry #11 and you can see him at 1:07.
posted by Deflagro at 2:03 PM on May 11, 2010

Okay, I've seen the rest of it. Whew. Now, I'll have to pull my spine out of the ceiling.

Joakim, the ending was frightening, but not as trippy as Entry #23 was.

Extreme sound design and the use of video always freaks me out in horror films.
posted by In The Annex at 5:11 PM on May 11, 2010

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