The father of a girl who attempted to kill a classmate in the hopes of impressing Slender Man has some harsh words for Screen Gems' upcoming film. Anyone who's spent a good amount of time online is likely familiar with the Slender Man character, a horrifying monster who began life in 2009 via a creepypasta story by Eric Knudsen, then evolved into a full-fledged meme. Slender Man has gone on to develop quite the fan following, and has even been adapted into things like video games and web series.
That would be all well and good, were it not for a 2014 case that came to be known as the Slender Man stabbing. In Waukesha, Wisconsin - a suburb of Milwaukee - two 12-year-old girls lured another classmate out to a wooded area, then stabbed her 19 times. The victim - Payton Leutner - thankfully survived the attack, but was obviously seriously wounded. When questioned by police, the two attackers - Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser - claimed that they needed to kill Leutner in order to impress Slender Man, and also to protect their own families from his wrath.
Both Weier and Geyser have since pleaded guilty to attempted murder, with Weier recently being sentenced to 25 years in a mental institution. Geyser has yet to be sentenced, but prosecutors are pushing for 40 years in a mental institution. The reason she's looking at a longer sentence is due to Geyser being the one who physically stabbed Leutner, while Weier stood back, watched and urged her friend on. The trailer for Screen Gems' new Slender Man movie came out today, but one person who wasn't pleased about it is Bill Weier, father of Anissa. He offered the following comments to the Associated Press.
"It's absurd they want to make a movie like this. It's popularizing a tragedy is what it's doing. I'm not surprised, but in my opinion it's extremely distasteful. All we're doing is extending the pain all three of these families have gone through."
Sony Pictures - parent company of Screen Gems - has yet to offer a response to Weier's criticisms. Slender Man - directed by Sylvain White and written by David Birke - doesn't appear to be directly based on the aforementioned 2014 stabbing in any noticeable way, but it's not hard to understand why someone involved with that case - which was previously chronicled in the HBO documentary Beware the Slenderman - might take issue with a film focusing on the character.
On the other hand, Slender Man existed long before Weier and Geyser's crime, and millions of other people have read the Slender Man mythos without incident. Plus, other criminally insane people have claimed that horror fiction inspired their own crimes in the past, and that didn't lead to those stories then being made off limits. Either way, one wonders if the makers of the Slender Man movie will have any response to Weier's rather blunt statements.
- Slender Man (2018) release date: Aug 10, 2018