At least two movie theaters in Milwaukee have said they don’t think they will screen the upcoming ‘Slender Man’ movie — which is based around an online horror character that inspired the brutal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl in a nearby city in Wisconsin — saying the film hits ‘too close to home.’
Representatives of the Avalon Theater and Fox Bay Cinema Grill said they don’t think the venues will screen the film. The theaters are both located just over 20 miles away from the scene of the 2014 crime in Waukesha, in which Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both 12, lured a classmate the same age into the woods, stabbed her 19 times and left her for dead. Both girls told detectives they had to kill the other girl to protect their families from Slender Man.
Weier later pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree homicide due to mental illness or defect and Geyser pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder as part of a plea deal in which she will be committed to a mental hospital.
“That’s hitting a little too close to home,” owner of Fox Bay Cinema Grill, Roman Kelly, said. “I just don’t see us bringing it in to view because I don’t know the people in Milwaukee want to see a movie about that — given what’s happened.”
The movie will hit theaters May 18 and a trailer released Wednesday shows scenes of a girl stabbing herself and Slender Man following a girl in the woods. The father of one of the two attackers, Bill Weier, told the Associated Press Thursday that Sony Pictures’ decision to release a movie about Slender Man is in poor taste and he hopes local theaters don’t show the film.
“It’s absurd they want to make a movie like this,” Weier said. “It’s popularizing a tragedy is what it’s doing. I’m not surprised, but in my opinion, it’s extremely distasteful. All we’re doing is extending the pain all three of these families have gone through.”
The movie is not based on the girls’ case, but rather on Slender Man himself. On IMDb, the upcoming film is described as “the story of a tall, thin, horrifying figure with unnaturally long arms and a featureless face, who is reputed to be responsible for the haunting and disappearance of countless children and teens.”
The Avalon Theater showed a documentary on the Slender Man case during the Milwaukee Film Festival that featured the two families. But the theater will not screen the fictional film since it’s only a horror movie related to the tragedy, according to Mark Strube of the Neighborhood Theater Group, who works on programming for the Avalon.
“It’s a little bit fresh for the community to just play a basic horror film that involves this tragedy,” Strube said.
A psychologist for Milwaukee Public Schools, Margaret Altschaefl, said every local family should have a discussion about the film and ask questions about it.
“Is my child capable of understanding what’s going on in the film? That it is a film, that it’s not real?” she said.
Media representatives for Sony Pictures did not reply to an email requesting comment. Marcus Theaters has also not returned a request for comment.