Rob’s Obligatory Top Ten Albums of 2013

20 Dec

Yep, it’s that time of the year! Here are my favourite albums of 2013. Music lovers have had a bumper crop this year, and it was hard to cut it down to just ten. But here they are, in no particular order.

 

Cloud Cult – Love

This was the first album of 2013 that I actually fell in love with. The Minneapolis collective – currently an eight-piece – released their tenth studio album in March of this year and it was a fantastic, poignant ride. Lush layering, heartfelt lyrics, and wonderful harmonies all helped to create what could be their magnum opus.

 

Kavinsky – OutRun

Love wasn’t the first album to be really, really darn good though. That falls to Kavinsky. Most well known for the use of Nightcall in the soundtrack to Ryan Gosling flick Drive, the French electronic artist released his debut album in February. It may lack emotional impact, but it more than makes up for it in songs that practically drip with 80s movie nostalgia.

 

I The Mighty – Satori

2013 was a great year for rock music, though, nearly making up for the damp squib of 2012. One of the best offerings was served up by San Francisco’s I The Mighty. Their debut, Satori, has it all. Great musicianship, varied and truly poetic lyrical content, and choruses that you’ll be singing for weeks – or months, in my case. This is a strong a debut as you’re going to get.

 

Houses – A Quiet Darkness

Speaking of strong lyrical content, A Quiet Darkness was ahead of the pack. Houses delivered a concept album with a wonderful, heart-wrenching story – two lovers, separated by a nuclear holocaust, trying to reunite with one another. It captures the post-apocalyptic tone perfectly, and the catalyst is not only the dreamy ambience of the music but the sparse, yet graceful, lyrics, which work beautifully with the dual vocals of Dexter Tortoriello and Megan Messina.

 

Enemies – Embark, Embrace

I’m not sure how, but Enemies have managed to do something very unique with Math Rock. Normally the sole haven of musicians and technical music enthusiasts, Embark, Embrace swaps the often discordant noodling with uplifting, soaring melodies without losing any of the complexity that keeps music snobs (such as me) hooked. It’s great, both for pretentious folk like me and for casual listeners.

 

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

2013 also saw the triumphant return of a few of music’s heavyweights. One of the standouts was Hesitation Marks. Trent Reznor had a busy year, also releasing the impressive How To Destroy Angels debut album, and the signs were good that another Nine Inch Nails album would impress. But it surpassed even fan estimations, with not only that unique Nine Inch Nails feel, but with a true progression on show.

 

Lanterns on the Lake – Until the Colours Run

There’s nothing not to love about Until the Colours Run: a huge sound, vibrant guitar work, the beautiful strings, and wonderful vocals from Hazel Wilde. Almost every song sounds absolutely massive, and when it doesn’t – such as one of the standout tracks, the ballad Green and Gold – it only serves to further augment the impact. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little emotional.

The First – Take Courage

Enough of that teary-eyed, twee stuff though. The First’s sophomore effort, Take Courage, is a beast of a rock album. Huge riffs, thumping choruses, and a rhythm section you could set your goddamn watch to all come together to form one of the most exciting albums of the year. Listen to this, and you’ll wake up the next morning covered in tattoos next to an empty bottle of whiskey. It’s that hardcore.

 

Jon Hopkins – Immunity

Immunity has been included in a large number of ‘Albums of the Year’ lists, and with good reason. The Mercury-nominated album, Hopkins’ fourth, shows the progression of an artist truly doing what he wants to do. Building on the unique sound of 2009’s Insides, Hopkins creates breathtaking, diverse soundscapes that just happen to be some of the best electronica to have been released in years. Immunity is great. Go buy it.

 

Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

You know what? I’m just going to say it. This is Queens of the Stone Age’s best album. Rated R has the bizarre, Songs for the Deaf has the heavy riffs, but neither compares to the variety on show here. From the slacker drawl of I Sat by the Ocean, through the psychedelic Kalopsia and the Prince-esque Smooth Sailing, to the delicate piano of the title track, it’s a journey of an album, with every song expertly balanced. A masterpiece.

 

So there we go. A little rundown of what’s been keeping me sane this year. Have a Merry Christmas and a ruddy great New Year!

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Looking Back On Our Debut Tour

31 Oct

Back in 2008, I was playing in a band in Exeter. We played the scene a fair amount, ticked off all the small venues in the city. We got to know a fair few of the other bands. One of them was called Ignorance of a Rival, and we played together several times. These gents repeatedly said to us “let’s go on tour together.” It never happened.

Well, until five years later. See, that band turned into Titans & Kings. Through a bit of luck, I happened to take up bass for them. Funny how life turns out.

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I’ve wanted to go on tour since I was fourteen years old. Playing music every day, a new place, new faces every night. It’s an ideal that every teenage musician has, the wandering entertainer, nothing to worry about other than putting on good shows, making sure the audience leaves the venue happy. I’ve grown older and wiser since then (well, older, anyway). But you know what?

The last week has been fucking wonderful.

London, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham. Three of those cities we had never played until last week. Thank God for Speaking in Shadows for asking us to tour with them. Thank God for Autumn Ruin, simply for being fan-fucking-tastic. We were lucky to have such a fine pair of bands to play alongside, not only excellent musicians and songwriters, but amazing people to boot.

I’ve always thought that bands should work together, to help each other not only through promotion but through offering genuine criticism and feedback to make sure that talented artists not only get the recognition they deserve, but become leaner, meaner rock’n’roll machines. Too many bands buy into the promoter ideology of band vs. band, of solely monetary goals, of petty rivalries that are really nothing more than fights over which petulant child has the biggest ego. In Speaking in Shadows and Autumn Ruin, there are two groups who put the music, the art, the entertainment first.

And quality merch to boot.

And quality merch to boot.

And that’s without even mentioning the other bands, the local support and out-of-town bands that played every night. Every single one of them was fantastic, every one adding a new variety of rock that complemented all the other acts. The soaring vocals of AvaGrace, the balls-to-the-wall anthems of Munkinpure, the absolute technique of Jar of Dirt, the wonderful hooks of Letters From Grace, the sheer pop-punk joy of Hello Tomorrow, the driving, whiskey-soaked rhythms of I’m A Model Baby, the deep, atmospheric rock of A Mouth Full of Matches, the intense energy of Bullets in Bowties. It’s not often you get one gig where all the acts are so damn fantastic, let alone four in a row.

Anyway, I’m rambling. It was an amazing four days. Some all-time favourite moments. Crowdsurfers and slow-dancers at the Barfly. Story time with Nicky Stixxx. Realising that I have a secondary career as a contortionist given how we were all able to fit in a Polo with all our equipment. Autumn Ruin absolutely destroying Dry Live with one of the tightest, most powerful sets I’ve ever seen. Spending an almost obsessive amount of time in Dawsons drooling over their left-handed Telecaster. Seeing the end of a rainbow on the drive to Nottingham. Going in to the Bodega not knowing what to expect from a gig with no home headline act, only to come across one of the most passionate crowds we’ve ever played for. Hitting the town with the Autumn Ruin lads, finding a glorious rock bar and hip-shaking-sexy-robot dancing to Slipknot surrounded by people dressed in Halloween garb. Singing a lament to doner meat at three in the morning. Getting given a personal bracelet for the band from Georgia and Teresa, being so touched that I lost almost all of my remaining rock’n’roll points. Playing the Flapper, dressed in onesies, sweating out our bodyweight. Fat Lip with Speaking in Shadows and Autumn Ruin. Speaking in Shadows then absolutely beasting it. Joining them onstage for Sweet Gemini. Lots and lots of sweaty hugs.

There were some bad moments, too. One-way systems, Pizza Hut queues, the unfortunate lack of a queue for Buffet Hut (my insides still hurt), probably being dehydrated because of wearing a frickin’ onesie onstage, getting back at one in the morning after a train ride being nattered at by a drunk woman (rightly?) questioning our rock credentials and (correctly) comparing Nick to a young Bryan Adams. Going in to work from 9AM to 10:30PM on three hours’ sleep the next day.

But was it all worth it? Damn right it was.

And personally, it’s been an achievement. It’s been a tough couple of years, and I still worry about the chronic fatigue that put me out of action, forced me to effectively restart my life. I was terrified about this tour, about whether my body could cope, over whether I could do it again. And I could. If it was possible, I’d do it again right now.

In fact, I think we should start planning the next tour, lads. There are too many cities we haven’t hit, and I think it’s time we showed them what our trio can do.

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Horror Movies You May Have Missed Part V: The Bit Where The Series Goes Disastrously Downhill Until The Inevitable Remake In Twenty Years

26 Oct

I know I only wrote about this the other day, but screw it: I didn’t leave you with enough films to fill up the entire twenty-four hours of Halloween. So here are a few more movies. Take your pick!

 

American Mary

This film has garnered rave reviews in the horror circuit, and for good reason. American Mary is the story of a young medical student who enters the world of underground surgery. She then begins to use her surgery talents in two ways – to become the most sought-after surgeon in the body modification scene, and to seek justice on those who have wronged her. Including a great performance from the always wonderful Katharine Isabelle, American Mary is a grotesque treat.

 

Three… Extremes

I love a good horror anthology, and Three… Extremes is one of the best. Taking some of the top talents of Asian cinema – Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook and Takashi Miike – Three… Extremes delivers a trio of very different but wonderfully compelling horror shorts. The pick of the bunch, for me at least, is Miike’s Box, a beautifully shot chiller.

 

Maniac Cop

Someone dressed as a policeman is running around New York City killing innocent people. Is it a member of the public, or is it a genuine cop on a killing spree? Detective Frank McRae is trying to find out, with the help of Jack Forrest, played by horror demi-god Bruce Campbell, a cop framed for the murders. An over-the-top slasher, Maniac Cop is low on scares but is a hell of a lot of fun.

 

My Little Eye

A group of people enter a secluded house for a reality TV show. The goal – to live in the house for six months. At the end of that time, they will receive 1 million dollars, as long as none of them leave. However, things may not be as they seem. Shot entirely through hidden cameras, My Little Eye gives the impression that your are watching the feed directly, and as such is incredibly immersive. Watch for a minor role from Bradley Cooper, too.

 

The Exorcist III

Yes, it’s a horror sequel. Yes, Exorcist II: The Heretic was awful. But you know what? The third part is actually a very good horror flick. Directed by the writer of the original Exorcist novel and screenplay adaptation, it tells the story of a detective hunting a serial killer. What concerns him about the killings is that they resemble those of a serial killer who died fifteen years earlier. A little corny but still packing some good scares, The Exorcist III is worth watching for Brad Dourif’s performance alone.

 

Calvaire

This movie has made me never want to visit Belgium again, and that’s a shame because I damn love chocolate and waffles. Travelling singer Marc Stevens gets stranded in the middle of a wood, yet is thankfully led to an inn during the middle of the night. Almost certainly an acquired taste, Calvaire is highly disturbing and very quirky, and plays out as equal parts Fargo, Misery and Deliverance.

 

Mutant

I love a good cheesy 80s horror, and Mutant fits the bill. Also known as Night Shadows, it’s an unintentionally hilarious zombie romp. Full of classic bad-character-decision moments, and some inexplicable design choices – such as the zombies terrifyingly bleeding, erm, custard from their hands – it’s the perfect choice if you prefer some cruel laughs instead of scares. Here’s the entire movie.

 

Killer Crocodile

Continuing the so-bad-it’s-good vibe, here’s a 1989 creature feature that just begs to be watched. A group of environmentalists travel to a tropical delta to investigate the dumping of toxic waste. Unfortunately, this toxic waste has also created a giant crocodile that is hell bent on killing as many people as possible – including the audience, who will likely die of laughter. Jaws this ain’t.

 

May

May is a wonderful and strangely moving psychological horror, about a young woman who struggles to connect with other people. A tale of relationships, it delves deeply into May’s psychology and day-to-day troubles. Topped off by fantastic performances from Angela Bittis, Anna Faris and personal mancrush Jeremy Sisto, May is a cut above your average indie horror.

 

Ghostwatch

Ghostwatch is still one of the most controversial programmes in British TV history. Billed as a real-life investigation into the paranormal, this Michael Parkinson-presented documentary caused an unprecedented number of complaints, leading to the BBC putting a ban on broadcasting it for another decade. Although a little bit cheesy to watch now, some of the scenes are still very scary – particularly those regarding the poltergeist called Pipes.

 

And that’s that! Ten more horrors to watch. Hopefully that will do you until next year. I mean, I need at least that long to get through some more underrated horror flicks, right?

Wrong!

Wrong!

One Hour Stories and Half Hour Shows

26 Oct

I’ve got news! It’s time for another update on what I’ve been doing with my silly life, and it’s time to make excuses for why there may not be too many blog posts for the next month and a bit.

First up, I have a big announcement. I’ve started a podcast! Alongside my wonderfully talented friends Paddy Johnston and Rob Sherman, I run a podcast called One Hour Stories. The rules are simple: for each podcast, we are given a theme. We then have one hour to write a short story based on that topic. No editing is allowed, and after sixty minutes it’s pencils down. It’s a very fun challenge, and the first episode went really well. You can give it a listen here.

Meanwhile, you can find it on iTunes here, YouTube here, Facebook here, and PodOmatic here.

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Secondly, I’m off on frickin’ tour! As of tomorrow, Titans & Kings are hitting the road as part of a rotating headline tour with Speaking in Shadows and Autumn Ruin. We’re playing the Camden Barfly in London tomorrow, then hitting up Dry Live in Manchester on the 28th, The Bodega in Nottingham on the 29th, and finishing off with The Flapper in Birmingham on the 30th. If you’re free, please come on down, we’ll all massively appreciate it.

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Finally, it’s the start of NaNoWriMo on Friday. Even though I am stupidly busy with other things, I’ve decided to give it another go. My novel is divided up into small, bite-sized chunks written from a variety of perspectives, which hopefully will mean that I am able to get through it without it feeling like too much of a chore! If you’re taking part as well, drop me an add here.

I think that’s everything! Hopefully see you at a gig very soon!

Even More Horror Movies You May Have Missed

25 Oct

Crikey! It’s been a while. But with Halloween just around the corner it’s about time I shared a few overlooked frightening films, spooky stories, and monstrous movies. Now before I get lost under my own smug alliteration, let’s get cracking!

 

The Changeling

There’s no better way to start a Halloween movie night than with a traditional ghost story, and The Changeling is a perfect example of one. A composer loses his family in a tragic accident, and moves to a secluded manor house. Whilst there, he is visited by the spectre of a child. An atmospheric slow-burner, the payoff is worth the wait. Whatever you do, don’t go in the attic.

 

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

If you’d rather have something more light-hearted, try this instead. Two hillbillies take a well-earned holiday by a woodland lake. Unfortunately, their plans are ruined by the unfortunate arrival of a bunch of college teens. A wonderful horror subversion, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a trope-playing laugh riot. I’ve posted a scene rather than the trailer below, as it is best to go into this film blind, to experience it all fresh.

 

Jug Face

Keeping with the rural theme, Jug Face is an interesting, character-driven horror. Living in the middle of the woods, a small commune worships a strange pit in the ground. The pit grants prosperity, growth, peace, but only as long as it gets what it wants in return – sacrifices. Ada learns that she is to be the next sacrifice, and tries to hide it from the rest of her family. Can she escape from what her religion demands?

 

The Bay

Disclaimer: don’t watch this film when eating. The inhabitants of a Chesapeake Bay town start falling under strange and deadly afflictions. Could it be tied to the deaths of a pair of environmental researchers? Told in a found footage style, from a series of different accounts, The Bay follows the mould of Jaws – the dangers of nature overlooked by complacent leaders.

 

Cargo

This Swiss sci-fi horror knows how to build tension. A skeleton crew keeps a deep-space cargo vessel running. Laura, one of this crew, stays sane through talking with her sister, who lives on the paradise world of Rhea. However, it becomes apparent that there is another being on the ship. The setting is perfect, the isolation and the dark industrial look keeping viewers on the edge.

 

Noroi: The Curse

This Japanese mockumentary already has a fearsome reputation, but it’s yet to break into the top echelons of horror imports. An investigative reporter looks into a series of strange events – supposedly psychic children, disappearances, deaths. What he discovers leads him to try and stop the manifestation of a terrible demon. Genuinely unsettling, Noroi is a real treat.

 

The Frighteners

Peter Jackson is, of course, best known for his work with the Lord of the Rings films. If you’re a horror fan you’ve probably seen – and loved – his earlier gory works, such as Dead Alive and Bad Taste. One film that is often overlooked, though, is comedy The Frighteners. Teaming up with Robert Zemeckis as Executive Producer, the film has a wonderful cartoonish, chaotic vibe for fans of Ghostbusters or Gremlins.

 

Antiviral

If you prefer something high-concept in your horror, then try Antiviral. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, son of the acclaimed body horror master David Cronenberg, Antiviral shows us a world where celebrity culture and genetic engineering have disastrously combined – allowing true fans to infect themselves with the same strains of disease as their idols. It’s a fantastic debut, a terrifying world imagined well – Antiviral is bound to get under your skin.

 

Lie Still

A low-budget English horror, Lie Still follows John Hare, unemployed and recently single. He moves into an old apartment building, but soon realises that he may not be alone. Extremely low-key, it’s a surprisingly effective film, helped by the suitably dark setting and tapping into genuine fears of what goes bump in the night.

 

Sauna

A historical horror, Sauna is a Finnish film set at the end of a war between Russia and Sweden. Whilst negotiating new borders, two brothers come across a village in the middle of some marshlands. There, they are faced to confront the acts they have committed.  Bleak yet artistic, with a fantastic and open-ended plot, Sauna is a real gem – not only terrifying, but a great film all round.

 

Have a Happy Halloween, everyone! And guess what? There are more horror recommendations to come!

You better believe it!

You better believe it!

What Previous Google Projects Can Tell Us About Calico

6 Oct

On September 18th, Google announced the launch of its most ambitious venture yet; tackling the aging process of the human body. California Life Company, or Calico, will be led by Arthur Levinson, current Chairman of Genentech and Apple, and promises to try and “improve millions of lives.”

The project is ambitious, and certainly a far cry from what the technology giant is known for. However, Larry Page and Google have regularly tried to push forward into new frontiers – funding electric cars, augmented reality glasses, and even asteroid mining. But what, exactly, can we learn from Google and Page’s previous undertakings?

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The most obvious comparison to make is with Google Health. A service for storing personal health information, similar to Microsoft’s HealthVault, it was supposed to merge medical records with a variety of partners to allow for a centralised, integrated profile. Google Health launched in 2008, yet was discontinued as of January 2012, Google’s cited reason being that it did not “create the impact we wanted.”

Although the project was a failure, proponents of Calico can still be upbeat. The new enterprise is focused on long-term goals, whereas Google Health was clearly aimed at the more immediately reachable target of creating an empowered user base in control of their own medical history. Expecting short-term definitive results from a project whose goal is to combat death would be a bit inflexible, to say the least.

There have also been other recent closures. Google Reader, a RSS interface that was still popular with a large base of power users, was discontinued in July of this year. Although the main reason given for the closure was the steady decline of membership, there have been reports that Page personally had no interest in continuing Reader – and because of this, no manager wanted to take on the project and move into an area that their own CEO saw as unessential.

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Google Labs, too, was abandoned. A system to help promote, distribute and test prototype Google features to interested parties, it was eventually ceased in 2011 – soon after the announcement of Google Health’s closure – with Page citing a need for greater “focus” on areas of advancement.

Both Labs and Health closed soon after Page officially became CEO of Google, and tied in with a new Google strategy: “more wood behind fewer arrows.” This was, essentially, to put more support behind the projects that truly mattered. Will this include Calico? Is it a venture that Google will want to put time, effort, and money behind indefinitely? Or could it eventually become a project dropped in favour or something deemed more worthwhile in the future?

Perhaps hints can be found in Page’s other recent investments, all of which fall into the areas of future technology and humanitarian enterprise. There was, for instance, the high-profile investment in Makani Power, the research and development company aiming at creating airborne wind turbines to produce renewable energy. In 2013 it was taken into the fold of Google X, a division that has given us Google Glasses and is working towards the creation of self-driving cars and neural networks.

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As an individual, Page has also made a series of private investments in future technology, including Tesla Motors, an electric car manufacturer. Then there is Planetary Resources Inc, a company with the aim of mining precious materials from asteroids. It sounds far-fetched, but so far the celebrity venture – other investors include Ross Perot Jr. and director James Cameron – has had great success, raising their target of $1 million from a Kickstarter campaign, and Planetary Resources Inc is currently planning for a launch in 2014, to test out technologies for their asteroid-locating satellite.

Given this continual, philanthropic strategy, can we be positive regarding Calico? Time will tell. Progress is unlikely to be apparent for decades, even with such a respected expert as Arthur Levinson on board as CEO. Google and Calico are exploring a revolutionary territory: precisely the sort of area that excites Page, but with many pitfalls and dangers of becoming a time – and money – sink. But given how different these recent projects are from those abandoned since Page took over Google’s reins, perhaps there is a long-term cause to celebrate. The Calico project is, after all, a noble one, and one with the potential to change the face of medical science.

Who Owns Slender Man?

2 Oct

On Monday, a fascinating article regarding commodification of memes was posted, in particular surrounding the use of a phrase from Hark! A Vagrant (a damn, damn fine comic that you should all be reading) on Grumpy Cat merchandise. It’s raised questions about ownership in the online sphere, about content created and adapted by the faceless creative collective of the internet. Is it moral to sell merchandise and content that has been built upon the ideas of other, uncredited people? Is it even legal?

So, speaking of faceless things, let’s take on this issue by picking a single online presence to go under the microscope: Slender Man.

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For those of you who don’t know, Slender Man is terrifying. Often dubbed the “first internet urban legend”, it has reached far beyond the expectations for an internet scary story, particularly one with such humble beginnings. Slender Man actually originated on the website Something Awful, in a thread where members were challenged to create paranormal images. A user called Victor Surge, real name Eric Knudsen, created a series of images showing a tall, tentacle-armed figure that kidnapped children. It took the thread by storm, and before long Slender Man had moved beyond Knudsen’s vision.

Marble Hornets is the first, and most popular, Slender Man YouTube series. Its creators, Joseph DeLage and Troy Wagner, also used Something Awful, and were inspired by Knudsen’s images to create a vlog series that would evolve further into an ARG. The series was an instant hit, and is still one of the most frightening things to be found on the web.

Interestingly, the term ‘Slender Man’ is never used in the series – the being is called The Operator – and some parts of the Slender Man mythos, such as the tentacles, were removed. Marble Hornets, now in its third season, spawned various further Slender Man narratives, all adding and subtracting parts of the character to suit their own needs. Two more popular YouTube series were created, called EverymanHybrid and Tribe Twelve, as well as various blogs and stories.

Then, in 2012, Slender Man made its largest jump into the cultural consciousness. A free-to-play game called Slender: The Eight Pages, created by Parsec Productions, was a smash, loved by horror fans and picked up by a number of gaming sites. Before too long, Slender Man was a household name in geek circles, and with that came more projects. Many derivative games, including other strange, tall characters. The Slender Man, a Kickstarter project to make a feature film that successfully reached its target of $10,000. World domination beckoned for Slender Man, which is a terrifying thought for a creature that is partly deemed to get its power from the number of people who believe in its existence.

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However, with these latest projects, the issue of ownership and creation really came to a fore. With Marble Hornets, Knudsen was accepting of their use of his character – after all, it was for a free series, certain aspects had been changed, and it was even born out of the same space – the Something Awful Photoshop thread. Knudsen even found it “interesting” that people were able to build upon his original images to create something more, although over time he has become more hesitant over his praise of other uses of Slender Man. One thing is clear – Knudsen has generally been happy for people to use the character, as long as it is not for profit.

And as such, there have been teething problems for a number of other projects. Although Faceless, a video game based on the Slender Man mythos, received the consent of Knudsen before creation, Steam – the online distribution service – refused to allow the game to be shared through their system until they had received permission from Knudsen themselves. Slender: The Arrival, a sequel to Slender: The Eight Pages, has licensed the character from Knudsen. This appears to have been necessary because unlike its predecessor, The Arrival is not free-to-play. Interestingly, the game was also written by the creators of Marble Hornets, meaning that the three largest influencers on the urban legend were all involved in the project.

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The Slender Man movie has had less luck. After achieving its Kickstarter target, the film was completed and put online in 2013. However, the film was forced offline after legal action. This, in spite of the fact that the film was originally going to be a free online release. What caused the need for legal action by a mysterious third-party rights owner? The use of the name Slender Man? Or is it that the project had already gained money via Kickstarter? Either way, the film has had to change a variety of components before re-release, which we are told is coming soon.

And that’s the saga of Slender Man ownership up to date. So far Knudsen has, generally, been able to protect his creation from outside use, albeit with difficulty. But if Slender Man continues to grow as a narrative, how much longer can he keep control?