Monday January 23, 2017
Irene Taylor Brodsky explores the faceless power of the Slenderman
more stories from this episode
Irene Taylor Brodsky's HBO documentary explores the ubiquitous presence of a tall and faceless internet character known as Slenderman. From YouTube to fan fiction sites, this dark online meme has been linked to real life crimes. In her film, Beware the Slenderman, Brodsky tells the story of two 12-year-old girls from Milwaukee who stabbed their friend to appease the faceless meme.
"I think children of adolescent age and pre-adolescent age have a very different brain structure," says the filmmaker. "Both of these girls showed themselves to have a very strong tendency to believe in things and they were highly creative, they were both very intelligent, and I think they had a very extraordinary imagination."
Brodsky is less interested in the origins of the dark suit-wearing character, and more focused on "this idea that the girls may not be seeing the same person that you or I would be seeing."
The internet is a constant resource and you can't put it away like you would a book, notes the filmmaker. The girls certainly feared Slenderman, but they were also attracted to him and wanted to be with him. "The fact that he is crowd sourced really shows that the facelessness is what is so appealing, because we can project our worst fear and we can also project what we need and what we want the most out of that person."
Beware the Slenderman is available on HBO.
WEB EXTRA | Watch the trailer for Beware the Slenderman below.
- Produced by Elaine Chau