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Slender Man creeps toward movie deal

The lanky, blurry apparition known as Slender Man has been haunting creative writing spaces on the internet since it emerged from the Something Awful forums in 2009, and now it might be heading to theaters. The New York Times reports that Sony Pictures' Screen Gems division wants to produce and distribute a movie based on the horror meme, and is currently negotiating with Mythology Entertainment, which bought the rights to the character from its creator, Eric Knudsen. Hollywood is a little late to the party — the character has already made a spiritual appearance in Minecraft and other games — and Slender Man stories have appeared all over the web in various forms. It's also already been fingered as the nexus of some real-life horror.

Slender Man caused a flash panic in 2014 when it was associated with gruesome assaults. Within the span of a week, a 13-year-old girl in Ohio attacked her mother with a knife, and in a separate incident, two 12-year-old girls stabbed a classmate and left her for dead in the woods; both cases were allegedly related to the influence of the Slender Man meme. HBO later explored the meme in a two-hour documentary that interpreted the violence through a tortured parental fear of the iPad.

If the deal goes through, production of the new movie could begin this fall.