Slenderman (aka Slender Man) is the King of Creepypasta, the first full-fledged horror icon that was created by and for the Internet generation. His featureless face and octopus-like tentacles proved compelling, and the fictional supernatural fiend starred in many spin-off stories (and thousands of memes). Of course, the fascination and lure associated with Slenderman proved problematic when two 12-year-old girls seemed unable to separate fantasy from reality.
In Wisconsin back in 2014, two female pre-pubescents lured a classmate into the woods where they stabbed her 19 times. The perpetrators were reportedly attempting to curry favor with the ominous Slenderman, hoping, in fact, that he would take them to live in his lair. Obviously, the media pounced, drawn as much by the case’s brutal details as the urban legends that surround them.
HBO’s true-crime documentary Beware the Slenderman aired earlier this week (on January 23rd). If you missed it (like I did—oops!), the film is now available to stream on HBO GO, HERE.
Official Synopsis: The news horrified the world: Two 12-year-old American girls lured a friend into the Wisconsin woods and stabbed her 19 times in an effort to appease a faceless mythical entity known online as Slenderman. But there’s more to the story than the dark headlines it generated. Delving deep into this shocking crime, the sobering documentary Beware the Slenderman examines how an urban myth could take root in impressionable young minds, leading to an unspeakable act.
Directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky (HBO’s Oscar-nominated The Final Inch), the documentary covers all sides of this unusual ongoing case, drawing on an eerie array of Slenderman-inspired art, games and self-produced video, all culled from the Internet, along with heart-wrenching, unprecedented access to the two girls’ families, courtroom testimony and interrogation-room footage.