Last month, news bubbled up that Sony Screen Gems was in the market for a movie based on Slender Man, the internet meme that’s gone from obscure nerd joke to front page horror story in just a few short years. While not much is known about the impending horror flick, a script from screenwriter David Birke is already in place. In other words, you can likely expect a Slender Man movie to creep its way into theaters sometime next year.
Of course, no matter how scary a movie about the Slender Man turns out to be, there’s no way they’ll top Doctor Whos season six foe, the Silence. The creatures are similar enough that we decided to compare them.
Sprung From Something Awful
The brief history of Slender Man began on a forum thread on somethingawful.com. In response to a June 8, 2009 forum prompt asking for real pictures with a photoshopped paranormal presence. On June 10, user Victor Surge uploaded two pictures on the thread, complete with captions that helped build Slender Man’s mythos.
The pictures were an instant success on the forum, quickly inspiring a character history and several more photos. From these inauspicious beginnings, the creep show standing in the background of children’s photos lunged forward into the public consciousness as more and more people outside the internet began to contribute to Slender Man’s mythos, painting him as a tormentor and abductor of children who lures unsuspecting victims to some unknown horror at the end of a long walk.
Some inscrutable behemoth prowling around where you’re not looking may sound quite intimidating, but in the land of fiction, Slender Man is easily outclassed by Steven Moffat’s invading species.
Our Unseen Overlords
On the other end of the spectrum from a lurker who hangs out in the woods in dress shoes, there’s Doctor Who’s season six alien race, the Silence. This group of suited-up evildoers is an unknown plague on humanity, a race of agents who are conspiring to kill the show’s titular Time Lord. Though they’re ultimately thwarted, that victory is totally pyrrhic (and extremely unsettling) and the journey the characters must take to get there ranks as one of the Doctor’s most haunting.
Over the course of the series’ two-part season opener, the Doctor plods determinedly towards his apparent death as he works to uncover the nefarious intentions of the Silence, a race of aliens who controlled the fate of humanity from the birth of mankind until July 20, 1969, when mankind landed on the moon (more on that in a bit).
Though the Silence were likely inspired by Victor Surge’s photoshop creation, they also owe a big time debt to both old UFO conspiracy theories and the work of Edvard Munch.
More often than not, when you define a character’s characteristics, they’re less scary than the creature you create in your imagination. That is absolutely not the case with the Silence, whose sunken eyes and weathered, but towering builds will have you looking over your shoulder once the credits roll.
Why They’re Scarier Than the Photoshop Bad Guy
On the level, the worst you have to fear from the Slender Man is some spooky emails (he’s very tech savvy). Even in the land of fiction, all you really need to do is get your kid inside and go watch some TV. Meanwhile, the Silence are (or were) a very real and present danger.
They’re Watching You Right Now
If you’re not looking at one of the Silence, then you don’t know if they’re in the same room as you. Even if you spot one, the second you look away your mind erases their presence. This natural phenomenon makes the Silence pretty tricky to pin down. The Slender Man is elusive as hell, but at least your brain isn’t actively conspiring against his discovery.
There’s a Shitload Of Them
The Slender Man is a lone villain working in the dark alleys of the internet. The Silence are an interconnected group of religious zealots unified absolutely in their cause. Also, sometimes they just chill out on the roof in dark rooms for no goddamned reason beyond insuring you don’t sleep.
Not only are there a literal ton of these guys lurking in the shadows across the globe, but they’re also telepathic and kind of hive mind-y, so anything one witnesses, the rest are almost immediately privy to. The Slender Man doesn’t even have an official Twitter account.
The Forgotten War
In the narrative of Doctor Who, the Silence’s grip on the world is loosened when the Doctor tosses in an edit on the footage of the moon landing.
The subconscious suggestion sends the people of Earth into a frenzy whenever they see a member of the alien race. In other words, not only could the Silence still be chilling out somewhere on the planet, you could be a highly feared slayer of the Silence and not even know it.
At the time of their on-screen premiere, The Daily Mail called the Silence Doctor Whos scariest villain of all time. That’s the absolute truth. These sharply dressed aliens may owe a small debt to the meme born in 2009, but the fear the Silence inspire far surpasses anything the hermit created on somethingawful could inspire.
You could wait the eighteen months or two years until Screen Gems can get a Slender Man movie put together — five bucks it’s just called Slender — or you could boot up Netflix and get the pants scared off you right now … well, actually you should start on season five, probably, just to get the real umph of it.