A Faceless Prince: More Slender Man

Seeing as my first Slender Man article did so well stats wise, I figured I’d do another one. The ‘Slenderverse’ is a rapidly growing thing, and even though I’ve been a part of it for less than a year, it has changed so much. Instead of laying out a guide to everything Slender Man, instead I’ve decided to look at a few of the other notable blogs and vlogs out there.

MLAndersenO 

The vlog series MLAndersenO follows Michael Anderson, who has recently returned home for a prolonged stay at a mental health clinic. Since his return however, nothing seems quite right. Something seems terribly wrong. His brother Shaun waves it off as nothing more than Michael forgetting to take his medication. That is, until a tall, slender man begins stalking him as well…

MLAndersenO has to be one of the best acted of the vlog series. From the way Michael is portrayed as a character trying to hold on, to his other side Patrick, who fills the screen with his grandiose and villainous nature. The plot is fairly interesting as well, and whilst it does use some things outside of the vlog to convey the story, these are not needed to understand and enjoy the plot.

CaughtNotSleeping

Meet Caught. He’s a regular, no bullshit sort of guy. When he can’t sleep, he turns to Youtube in a jest of an attempt to find answers. As he posts more videos, he gains the attention of a mysterious person by the name of Roivas Sevil (backwards as Savior Lives), and viewers begin to warn him of the Slender Man. Caught laughs all of this off, believing that someone is just fucking about with him. That is until he sees the creature himself…

CaughtNotSleeping is a rather interesting series, breaking normal conventions by having a character that is aware of the Slender Man from the beginning, and believing it to be just an internet thing and a prank being pulled on him. The audience participation in the series is also very good, making those watching along become a part of the story in small ways. It is also quite expansive with its side channels, RoivasSevil and The Help3r, giving a greater sense of immersion.

Blogs

There are quite a few Slender Man blogs out there, so I’ll just do a bucket list of what I believe are a few best ones.

The first is A Really Bad Joke, which follows Maduin (also known as the Jester). Maduin takes a different route to others, and instead of trying to fight Slender Man, plays pranks on him. Whilst the premise may seem quite light-hearted, at its core it is quite macabre and dark. The use of audio logs makes this more evident, with a weary sounding Maduin struggling to keep going.

Another is Observe and Terminate, which follows the Slender Man devision of the Paranormal Termination Consortium (PTC for short). Throughout the course of the blog, it changes hands and various conflicts in and outside of the organisation come to light. Less of a horror blog, and more like an action movie, Observe and Terminate is an interesting take on the mythos. Be warned though that at 180 posts, it is quite a long read.

One of the older blogs deserving a mention is A hint of Serendipity. It follows Zerombr (or simply Zero), who finds himself drawn into the myth of the Slender Man, and begins to try and help others in their fight against it. This doesn’t last long however before Zero himself becomes a target, and has to meet his fate. Zero is an interesting character, and formed an important point in the blog mythos of Slender Man with the Winter Solstice event. The character later returned in Last Refuge of a Dangerous Man, in which his story was concluded.

Other honourable mentions go to The Tutorial, Smiting the Gods and What You Are in the Dark. There are plenty of other blogs out there, with quite a few being fairly good, and even brilliant in some cases. My own contributions to the mythos, The Readers Resort and The Things You Shall See, are not quite as good as the ones I’ve mentioned. There are bits in them I’m quite fond of, but I feel they could’ve been so much better.

Hopefully that’s enough Slender Man to keep people satisfied for quite a long time.

Film Review: Juno

Juno is a 2007 film, directed by Jason Reitman, staring Ellen Page and Michel Cera. The film centers around 16 year old Juno (Ellen Page), who gets pregnant after having sex with sometimes boyfriend, sometimes best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). The film then follows the optimistic, and mostly upbeat journey, as Juno tries to find an adoptive family, comes to terms with being a pregnant teenager, and puzzles out the mystery of love.

Juno, staring Ellen Page and Michael Cera

The story itself takes place over several seasons, beginning in autumn when 16 year Junior High student Juno (Page) discovers that she’s pregnant. After deciding that abortion is a bad idea (after being told that babies have finger nails), she decides to give the baby up for adoption. Browsing through a local paper with friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), she finds the perfect couple in Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner respectively). The film then follows the twists and turns one would expect a teenage drama to follow, as well as few most wouldn’t.

The film covers heavily the theme of teenage pregnancy. It displays an overtly optimistic view the subject, with the most prominent mishaps involving the adoptive family. It doesn’t explore the social ramifications, or even go deeply into the characters personal territory, such as school life, home life, and expectations on them when pregnancy is factored in. This is a shame, as for the most part the film plays it safe, keeping most of the changes physical, and leaving the characters development in these areas to a minimum. Other aspects which the film explored were things such as abortion versus adoption, and whilst the film could be said to have a pro-life message, it doesn’t push these views onto the viewers, which is an impressive feat.

Juno (Page) sitting on the chair, pipe in hand.

The characters are relatively interesting, though much of the depth and exploration is done through and by Juno (Page). Whilst she makes some personal realisations throughout the film, the other characters are left for the most part as they are. Paulie Bleeker (Cera) remains pretty much the same throughout the entirety of the film, and any development that’s made is barely visible. But the film is centered on Juno after all. The characters mostly stay true to form throughout, though there is a moment that feels slightly out of character with one of the adoptive couple, Mark, pulling out a stock standard cliché that can be seen from a mile away. It feels wrong for the character, considering the enormity of the decision he makes is treated as a small thing, as well as the way he pulls it off. The actors do well with their performances, making the characters believable enough to invest interest in. Page brings the snarky Juno to life, and Cera plays the role of shy, quiet and awkward guy to perfection. The supporting cast vary, but generally do a good job with what they’re given.

The script, on the surface of things, is very well written. The whole affair feels very plot-lite though, with much of the drama coming between Juno and the adoptive parents. Without those scenes, it would feel like a montage of sequences building up to a pregnancy, without any sense of drama or motivation. The scenes that shine are those between Juno and her father. It gives the story a sense of meaning and direction beyond the obvious forthcoming pregnancy. The humour of the film caries a dry, snarky tone, and for the most part works, but a few intended laughs fall flat. The dialogue tries too hard though, with most things that come from Juno’s mouth being snarky or ‘smart’ in nature. Whilst this fits with her character, it does grate after a while, and the back end of the film has moments where there is no snark, which is a welcome thing. The faux teenage speech however doesn’t loosen up as much, leaving the viewer trying to decipher what they were actually trying to say. An early scene in the convenience store has possibly the most grating moment of dialogue, though the scene after almost takes the cake, with the phrase “what the blog”.

Juno (Page) using a Hamburger Phone, whilst (possibly) talking in faux, snarky teen speak.

The direction of the film is nicely done, and creates the great Mid-West America feel, though at times it seems to resemble Canada more than the north west, with the filming in Vancouver showing through. The opening shots of the seasons are commendable, and capture the feel they are trying to convey for each moment of the story, as well as firmly establishing the time. Autumn is a splay of orange and yellow, capturing the warmth of the moment, and the beginning of things to come. Winter is a white sheen, using dull colours to give off a sense of dawning responsibility. Spring uses cooler colours, to give a sense of new life and new love. Reitman also seems to have a fondness for close-ups, which are used effectively throughout the film. Also, kudos must go to the music choices, with the soundtrack being an assortment of brilliant tracks from across eras, which really solidifies the films upbeat tone.

The film itself works, and that’s the most important thing. Despite some minor let downs, it is a decent film, even if it’s one I normally wouldn’t watch, or probably won’t watch again. But for those who want something with a bit of drama, a little romance, and a touch of dry humour, this is hard not to recommend.