Ehrrrmagrrrrd, you guys, Marble Hornets

I’ve got a new obsession, folks, and it’s taken me by surprise — if you had described this little Youtube series to me a few weeks ago and told me that I shouldn’t watch it because I would spend my days obsessively refreshing all of the relevant sites for updates and reading fan blogs and Tumblrs and what have you (and spending my nights being terrified of every dark corner…) I would have scoffed. And then I probably would have watched it anyway and been right where I am now.

What is this new obsession? It’s Marble Hornets, a found footage documentary style horror series on Youtube by a group of talented twenty-somethings down in Alabama. I’m hesitant to tell you much more about it than that, because it’s one of those things that is better when you start out having no idea what’s going on. I will say that it’s based on the Slender Man myth — and if you don’t know what that is, you should definitely watch MH before looking it up, and you should do it soon, because the Slender Man is becoming more mainstream by the minute, it seems; a video game came out recently, and just this week, movie trailers came out advertising not just one but TWO different Slender Man movies, one of which looks suspiciously like a *cough*ripoff*cough homage to Marble Hornets (it’s weird — less than a month ago I had never even heard of Slender Man, and now suddenly he seems to be all over the place).

I will also say that if you’re rolling your eyes at the “found footage documentary style” part, you shouldn’t, because as overplayed as that genre has become, in this instance it’s incredibly effective and done very well, and with nary an instance of nausea-inducing shaky-cam. As to the horror part, it’s the kind of good, clean, psychological horror, free of gore and light on cheap jump scares, that seems not so scary while you’re watching it but comes back to haunt you when you wake up at 3 AM needing to pee and are suddenly terrified to get out of bed. This thing has re-ignited my fear of the dark. And of the woods.

There’s also an ARG element to it that adds a whole new layer of fun and mystery if you’re into that sort of thing (it has a big following on the Unfiction forums); the story is spread out over two Youtube channels, one of which posts mysterious videos full of puzzles and clues for the protagonist (and the audience) to figure out and follow. The protagonist also has a Twitter account that is part of the story. Following the ARG aspect or the Twitter feed isn’t necessary to following the story, though. Either way, if you’d like to check it out, I recommend watching it via the Marble Hornets Wiki’s comprehensive timeline to be sure you watch everything in the correct order (and if you’re curious about the tweets and the clues, it includes those, as well as theories gathered from Unfiction). And if you prefer to read up on the Slender Man mythos despite my advice to the contrary, Alastair Stephens has an excellent write up on what it is and what makes it so effective and creepy.

And to give you just a taste, here’s the video that originally piqued my curiosity and started me down this whole rabbit hole in the first place (not really spoilery out of context, but be warned: it’s creepy):