Slender Man Movie Producer Wants to Create True Terror with the Faceless Figure

The Slender Man has taken on a life of its own since it first crept its way into an old black and white photo on the Internet.

Now thanks to the insanely popular Slender game that has been downloaded countless times and made even more people afraid of the things they can't see, it's inevitable that this mysterious, frightening figure would get the movie treatment.

Baltimore filmmaker Steven Belcher wants to make the definitive Slender Man movie that's more than just a "found footage" remake of the infamous video game or the myth that constantly swirls around him. He plans to make a full length film with a deep storyline and frightening sights that makes audiences ask themselves "Is it worse to be afraid of the dark or the man who is afraid of the light?". He also wants to keep the mysterious nature of the Slender Man in the fans' capable hands and launched a Kickstarter campaign to make it.

Belcher talked with Side Mission about how he stumbled upon the Slender Man myth and video game and came to his decision to make a movie about him, the pitfalls of making a movie connected to a famous video game on an independent level and what audiences can expect when they are plunged into darkness.

SM: What was your first exposure to the Slender Man character?

SB: Well, the character…a few friends of mine turned me on to the popular series like Marble Hornetsand Everyman Hybrid and things like that. So, I would say it was probably a year ago when I started watching those. Then Slender the game came out and from there just pretty much blew up. So, it started out with the video series and then the game is pretty much where I started to get its gravity and I started to research it and all that.


SM: What interested you about it? Is it because it was just scary?

SB: Well, it’s actually funny because at the time I was writing another sci-fi thriller, psychological horror movie with an original story, which was entitled "The Storm". Upon researching the Slender Man further, I realized that I was pretty much writing this same exact story as what Slender Man already was. So, I figured instead of, for lack of a better description, bust my ass trying to promote the original story I was already doing, if Slender Man is the same exact thing, I might as well use that as the basis to promote the film since it already had a massive fan backing. So, pretty much what I did is use the similar elements from my previous script and reshaped them into what is the Slender Man script now. So, a lot of the things that I already came up with that were originally Slender Man based, I just wrapped the story around that.

SM: Based on what you know, does it have much of a story? Is there anything in your research that was based on any kind of folklore or anything or is it basically just this thing that is out there?

SB: Yeah. It started on Something Awful. There’s a lot of misinformation out there because…it’s an alternate reality game is what they made out of it. So, a lot of it is made to seem like it’s real but from what I’ve researched there’s not really that much basis in history. I mean there are things that have been created that make it seem like it is. There are a few things here and there, old folklore tales that have similar archetypes but aren’t exactly related. But they’ve wrapped the Slender Man story around that to make it seem like it’s been a part of history forever.

SM: How much has the story that you have now changed from the one that you were starting to write before you decided to meld it with the Slender Man? Is it pretty similar or did you have to adapt anything?

SB: There’s similar themes and similar things that happen to some of the main characters. But as far as the overall story goes, it’s very different now. It has the same underlying story arc, but a lot of the things that happen are strictly Slender Man style and not really related to the script previously in any way. But a lot of the themes, like the hardcore themes, are directly related. But not a lot of the scenes and what happens to the main characters and things like that are the same. The main character himself, besides Slender Man, the hero I guess you could say, is still pretty much the same as it was in the screenplay before. I mean he’s pretty much like a guy who’s in his late-20s, early-30s, had a tormented past and doesn’t really know who he is or who his father was and he’s searching for him and all that stuff. That has made its way over. But as far as what happened to his father and all that is completely different.


SM: Now, I’m sure you’re familiar with most video game movies and how most don't generally consider them to be very good. Is that a concern?

SB: Right. That’s always a concern. But I guess unluckily and luckily, since I am an independent filmmaker and not backed by Hollywood in anyway, I have a lot more leeway. I have a lot more creative control. So that way, since I am a huge horror movie fan…

SM: But how do you make that balance where you make the fans happy but you’re also making a movie that someone who isn’t familiar with it can enjoy it? Do you have to skimp on some things?

SB: Well, you have to think about that making any movie or any topic that already exists, any character, any story. Every filmmaker has to be wary of that. I mean you have to think about things that the fans are going to like and what audience members in general are going to be attracted to. But luckily, with the whole Slender Man universe it’s so vast and there’s so many different things that are a part of it that everybody can find something that they like about it and attach themselves too. It’s surprising to see that not only do a lot of young males like this but also a lot of females. You don’t really see that in a lot of already established stories. Usually, there’s things that guys like, there’s things that girls like and that’s the way it’s going to be. But all kinds of age ranges and male and female across the board are Slender Man fans. That’s just not something you really see. But luckily for us, it makes it easier to not only target the fans but to make it accessible to everyone.

Since it’s such a vast universe with so many different topics and themes, it’s going to be easier to connect everyone to something. I mean there’ll always be those people you’re not going to win over, as with everything. Luckily for us, across the board, it’s pretty accessible.

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