The true crime story that sprung out of an Internet folk legend is one that shouldn’t have been true. For those unfamiliar with the myth of Slender Man, the unnaturally thin, tall man in a suit with a featureless face first appeared on the Internet forum Something Awful in 2009 as a Photoshopped image. Since then, his folklore has grown, and led to the charging of two 12-year-old girls with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in 2014 for luring their 12-year-old classmate into the woods to stab her 19 times with a large kitchen knife in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The near-fatal stabbing was blamed for being a sacrifice to please the Slender Man, whom the accused girls thought were real.
HBO and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky have partnered for a true crime documentary that not only explores the horrific story but the progression of modern folklore today and the consequences it has on people’s imaginations during this digital age of the Internet. The film includes exclusive insight with the parents of the accused.
Beware the Slenderman will be premiering at 9 p.m. Friday, March 11 at the Topfer Theatre at SXSW. The festival will also host a panel discussion called ”Down the Rabbit Hole: Slenderman, Children & The Internet” will also be held with Brodsky as well as Bill Weier, the father of one of the accused 12-year-old girls, the following Sunday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center.