Friday, June 22, 2012

Postmodern Horror: The Slender Man Mythos and House of Leaves

For any avid readers of novels riddled with mind-screws, multiple narratives, and horror you've probably read Danielewski's House of Leaves, for those who haven't a brief summary. A family moves into a house, the father (for no discernable reason) decides to measure out the house to every inch to make sure it meets the dimensions in the schematics. He finds and incosistancy of 1/4 inch and this bothers him to the point of obsession, then the dimensions of the house change and he and some mates go explore an enormous cavern inside of a closet within the house and the horrors commence.
yeah...something like that

But what fascinates most readers is its style. Footnotes can go on for pages, their are books within books, multiple and distinctive narratives.

In the last few years along the underbelly of the internet, The Slender Man Mythos has been popping up. Stories about him describe a mysterious being who rather slim, faceless, and kills or torments victims into insanity.

What's different about Slender Man is that he is the product of no one author. He is a mutated urban legend that never gathered enough momentum to escape cyberspace. Anyone with a keyboard and wifi can add to the story and that's what makes him more opaque and uncomfortable.

Somehow they reminded me of each other.As if they were two sides to one coin complimenting and foiling the other.

Slender man is the logical extreme and foil to Danielevski's work. Here's how.
  • Within House of Leaves, Danielevski masquerades as at least a half dozen authors, for Slender Man the mythos is actually built up around the stories of more than two dozen authors
  • The dimensions and measurements of the house are subject to change, Slender Man's entire story is subject to change due to unlimited authorship
  • Both entities often drive their victims to madness but rarely kill them outright
  • Their method of killing is not well defined
  • Both have no faces (bonus points because Slender Man has a head)
  • Both are mute
  • Both have no explained motives
  • The house exists in a fixed location and is stationary, while Slender Man can be anywhere and stalks.
  • The house destroys a family, Slender Man prefers solo victims
But the best part of these two is that they represent different evolutions of a story in the same post-modern world. House of Leaves is like Community, in that some of its only good if you get the reference. The Slender Man is like what Japan does to every single popular story. Take Battle Royale, it has book which led to movie and a manga and sequel and merchandise etc. Slender Man has films, stories, comics, art, and forthcoming books. It proves that even no one is getting paid people love different flavors of the same damn desert.

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