A few days ago, I was surfing the web as usual when I stumbled on an ad for a new HBO documentary called Beware the Slenderman. The documentary is about the case of two young girls who stabbed their friend and left her to die to please Slenderman. Beware the Slenderman was aired on Monday but won’t be shown here in the UK until 10 pm tonight.
You bet I am going to watch it! In fact, I am planning on reviewing it. However, as I read more about the documentary and re-read about the Slenderman stabbings I could not help but think, hey, have Creepypastas past their sell by date?
I was in my later years of high school when the Creepypasta trend started, and I became obsessed with these internet horror stories. Heck, for a while I believed that some of them were real. I was up late at night reading conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory about Slenderman in particular.
However, besides the aforementioned Beware the Slenderman I haven’t heard anything about Creepypastas in quite a while.
Popular content about Creepypasta tales seems to be dying out. Take the most famous example, Marble Hornets. If you haven’t seen this video series on YouTube, do yourself a favour and watch them. It’s pretty good. However, the last video was uploaded on June 20, 2014, and the channel has since gone quiet.
Even some of the smaller channels that started off by reading Creepypastas have since moved on to more original content.
There certainly isn’t a lack of interest. Horror stories are still being swapped on the r/NoSleep Reddit board as well as the Creepypasta website since (from what I can tell) it seems to still be going strong, but there isn’t the same buzz around the newer stories compared to some of the originals.
Part of it could be that people have grown out of the fandom. What is popular last year might be forgotten next year. That is not a new concept at all, but I don’t think it is that simple. After all, we aren’t talking about some niche anime or indie game here. Every corner of the internet was in on this.
Another possibility is that the internet is now a much more cynical place. The internet has always been a messed up place, but with fake news *cough* Buzzfeed *cough* people are now starting to doubt everything they read. It’s gotten to the point that it is not only accepted but it is a joke! Think about that.
Part of the appeal of Creepypasta stories was the idea that these stories could be true. So much so people were pointing to “evidence” and discussing ideas online, spreading these stories like the plague.
You try posting a new Creepypasta and claim its true, you might have a few that will buy it, but without a doubt, you will get called a liar or worse.
While horror stories are still popular online, most of us have accepted that they are just that, stories. It kinda kills the magic and a bit of the fear behind Creepypastas.
In conclusion, Creepypasta stories have suffered due to the changing online culture which is unfortunate. But times and tastes are changing, and if you don’t change with them, you risk falling behind and being forgotten. Although characters like Jeff and good old Slenderman won’t be forgotten entirely. Maybe Beware the Slenderman could stir up more interest for the classic Creepypasta formula, but I doubt it.