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Thursday, March 14, 2019

What Could Have Been: This Man

Creepypasta’s are the internet generations version of campfire stories. Scary stories that are told and then passed around from person to person. BEN Drowned, Candle Cove, No End House, and many others fall into this category, with the latter two having been brought to the small screen thanks to  Sy-Fy’s television series, Channel Zero. It’s also thanks to that show that the genre has had its chance to showcase some of its best stories to people that would otherwise wouldn't think twice about reading the actual stories.

However Creepypasta's are no stranger to a larger format of entertainment media. Marble Hornets, the series that popularized Slender Man, was an internet film series. It was thanks in part to that series that Slender Man would become something of an icon in internet culture. Years later, he'd also get his very own feature film.

What am I getting stuff here? Creepypasta's, while they're often given a bad name thanks to the array of less-than good works, aren't strangers to the behemoth that is the entertainment industry. Case in point: This Man (also known as Ever Dream This Man?), a story that began to circulate towards the end of 2009, and quickly became a Creepypasta.

The story states that in 2006, the patient of a well-known New York psychologist had a patient sketch the face of a man who had repeatedly appeared in her dreams. It was in these dreams that the man gave her advice, sometimes for her personal life. The woman also swore that she had never seen the man in her life

Ever dream of this man? I haven't!

Days pass when another patient to the psychiatrist comes in and sees the portrait on her desk. He immediately recognized it and said that the man had also appeared in his dreams. Like the woman before him, he also states that he’s never seen the man in his life.

Perplexed, the psychiatrist sent the portrait to several of her colleagues, who reported back that a few of their patients recognized the man as a visitor in their dreams; each of them referring to him as “This Man”.

That’s where the story ends; the final two paragraphs stating that, between January of 2006 and “now”, over two thousand people have reported seeing “This Man” in their dreams and that there’s no sound conclusion as to he is. Interestingly however, the website has a section entitled “dreams” that houses a small collection of stories that speak of encounters with “This Man”. Some portray him as a benevolent individual, while others: malevolent. Regardless if he was a saint or demon, the question was always the same.

Just who was he?

The truth was less interesting than one would like to admit. A sociologist and marketer by the name of Andrea Natella—who runs a company named Guerriglia Marketing (which claims to stage subversive hoaxes)—was the brain behind the whole thing, having previously done other social experiments in the realms of politics, pornography, and advertising.

With the mystery solved, the legend of This Man became another entry in the world of internet Creepypasta’s. That is, until the turn of the decade. In May of 2010, it was announced that Sam Raimi’s production company—Ghost House Productions—would be making a movie based off of the legend, with Bryan Bertino of “The Strangers” fame helming the project.

And that is where it ends.

Ever since the press release, there hasn’t been so much as a murmur about the movie. Had it been made, it would have centered on a man trying to figure out why he’s been appearing in the dreams of complete strangers.

In the end however: Hollywood is a rough place, with numerous bright-eyed men and women going in hoping to become the next big actor, actress, director, or screenwriter. Most don't achieve their dreams and those that do are almost always in thin ice. Even then, they have to reach a point where they can't feasibly end up blacklisted or deemed box office poison.

In the case of This Man, it's likely that the studio deemed Bertino to be too inexperienced to tackle the film or the script to be too much of a risk to take, and thus shot it down.

Another possibility is it was simply passed on and forgotten about, along with hundreds of other scripts. If this is the case though, it leaves me wondering how or why the script hasn't leaked online. It's not uncommon for such a thing to happen, especially in an age where it’s easy for anything to leak online, big or small.

In the end though, This Man is one of but many, many movies to find itself trampled beneath the iron boot that is Hollywood. It's a shame, because it sounded like it could've been a great film. Alas, in Hollywood, money is the name of the game. If your script doesn't sound profitable, you won't get anywhere.

This story doesn’t have a sad ending, however. On February 14th of 2018, Nick Antosca, the creator and executive producer of Channel Zero, stated in an Ask Me Anything on Reddit that he’d like to dedicate a future season of the show to This Man. Whether that becomes a reality, however, remains to be seen as the show was canceled in January of 2019. There are rumors he wishes to move the show to Chiller, or make another, similar show. Until then, while the legend may be solved, the movie is likely to forever remain as elusive as the man himself.

1 comment:

  1. Tyler "Bio" RodriguezMarch 19, 2019 at 9:56 PM

    Hmmm never heard this story before. Certainly could have potential, a pity it got canned, especially since stuff like the Slenderman film was both too late and cinematic garbage.