The Slender Man is a fictional supernatural character that became an Internet meme after being created in a Something Awful forum contest, whereby website members were challenged with making everyday photographs appear paranormal. Eric Knudsen (posting under the alias “Victor Surge”) published two photos of children with an unnaturally tall, thin, featureless faced man stood behind them. Since then, stories about the Slender Man’s terrible acts have been composed and circulated online, with narratives commonly featuring the eerie-looking figure stalking and abducting people, particularly children.

Drawing on traditional mythology, folklore, and legend, the character’s backstory grew deeper and started to encompass many different forms of media, including literature, video games and popular culture. Now, Screen Gems is in the process of developing a film based off the fearful icon, who is set to inhabit the big screen in 2017.

Comic Book has exclusively revealed that the studio is seeking a Fall 2016 production for the Slender Man feature film, and has already managed to line up a script, written by David Birke. With 11 credits to his name, the horror enthusiast is no stranger to terror-inducing screenplays, having recently penned the psychological thriller Elle and the horror remake/adaptation 13 Sins, which premiered at the 2014 SXSW film festival. His most recent work being on the upcoming feature Deadworld, an adaptation of the comic book series set in a post-apocalyptic scenario following an outbreak of zombie attacks.

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Assembling a formidable team, Screen Gems also has an extensive history with the horror/thriller genres, with films like Boogeyman, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Hostel in its creepfest of a back catalogue. Additionally, the studio (a subsidiary of Sony Pictures) distributed the Resident Evil franchise, which became the highest-grossing film series based on video games after amassing $900 million worldwide, and also has the vampire film series Underworld under its belt.

While the news of Slender Man’s self-titled film will undoubtedly fascinate horror fans, it could turn out to be a nightmare for the creative team behind American Horror Story, as an insider recently revealed that the elongated stalker of children would be the focus of the sixth season. Choosing to take a straightforward approach to a horror entity might help to breathe new life into the aging series, but would their storyline be able to compete with the likes of a cinematic adaptation?

At this point in time, no one knows the focus of the series’ next cycle and according to EW’s source the character rumors are “untrue”. An official announcement to reveal the theme had been expected in March, but instead AHS creator Ryan Murphy remained ambiguous about the premise at the show’s PaleyFest panel. With two storyline ideas in the mix, it seems as though there’s only a slim chance that Slender Man will be joining FX’s anthology television series, as well as making his big screen debut next year.

Screen Rant will keep you updated on all new developments for Slender Man, which is currently planned for a 2017 release.

Sources: Comic Book, EW