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Try to Make It Through the ‘Beware the Slenderman’ Trailer Without Freaking Out

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Even for a case in which a 12-year-old girl gets stabbed nearly 20 times, it was particularly heinous: young Payton Leutner of Waukesha, Wisconsin was recovered bleeding out in the woods near a slumber party she had been attending in 2014. Her attackers were two of her good friends, fellow middle schoolers. What could have possessed a couple of innocent kids to suddenly turn psychopath without warning and leave their pal for dead in the middle of the night?

The two kids implicated in the attempted murder pointed the finger at the Slenderman, an urban-legend monster whose myth has been spread over Internet lore sites. And now, HBO has unveiled their first trailer for an upcoming documentary sorting through the aftermath of the shocking attack and attempting to make sense out of the most elusive, quite possibly fictitious cryptid since Bigfoot was captured taking a stroll on grainy film. As the trailer states, the Slenderman has the appearance of a tall humanoid figure — “between six and fourteen feet,” one of the youngsters on trial explains — with a featureless white face and an immaculately fitted suit. The Slenderman allegedly threatened the two responsible parties and promised that their families would be gruesomely murdered if they didn’t make a sacrifice of their classmate.

A scandalizing crime with a fresh angle that plays to generational anxieties about the evils that may be lurking in the Internet’s darker corners, the Slenderman stabbings were practically tailor-made for an HBO documentary. Now, millions of viewers can share in the terror and frantic Google searches of “who do I need to stab to keep the Slenderman from killing me and my family?”

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