As a lover of Lovecraftian creatures and horrific nightmares from Stephen King’s imagination, I hold a special place in my heart for an ongoing YouTube series, Marble Hornets. The show is an independent horror series featuring unknown yet horrifying creatures, masked men and a terrifying atmosphere so thick that it’s rock solid.
This winning formula comes from the series’ creators, writers, directors and actors: Troy Wagner and Joseph Delage. In 2009, the two decided to create a low-budget, high-octane-nightmare-fuelled series around what many people on the Internet call the Slender Man.
The Slender Man is a blank-faced man in a suit and tie who causes death and insanity wherever he/it may appear. Although the Slender Man appears several times and in a way that would make Clive Barker sleep with the light on, he is referred to as “The Operator” in the world Marble Hornets takes place in.
The series starts innocently enough: hundreds of video tapes are left behind by Alex, a college film student. Alex’s friend Jay finds these tapes three years after Alex quit filming his independent movie (also named Marble Hornets) and moved away.
What begins as a simple attempt to resurrect Marble Hornets turns into a frantic rescue mission to find Alex. In order to document the Operator’s constant interferences with him, Alex begins to tape himself 24/7. From examining the tapes, it soon becomes clear throughout the entries that Alex’s life is in danger. As Jay digs deeper into the Marble Hornets footage, the Operator begins to take notice of Jay as well.
Filmed in the increasingly popular style of Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, creators Wagner and Delage manage to create a scary and thrilling tale. Perhaps the best part is that it is free to view. Just search YouTube for “Marble Hornets” and all 50 episodes, ranging from 30 seconds to 8 minutes, can easily be found.
So, is the series good? Hell yes.
Despite the low quality of some of the shots (due to a budget that wouldn’t even feed a herd of hobos), Marble Hornets delivers on scares with excellent acting, amazing writing and an intriguing setting.