Monday, 29 November 2010

Tribe Twelve - The Young Pretender

Having looked at the family tree of Slender-fiction, its obvious to see the original thread at the top, and branching down you have a number of "where's Wally?" type photoshops and then branching into the ARG community you see Marblehornets and then underneath, attached to the spindliest of twigs, is the sea of Slender-blogs/video fictions which we seem to be swimming in today.

Few stand out above the morass of near identical stories. But when one does stand out it can blow up fast, EMH stands at just over 3.5 thousand subscribers, Marble Hornets is at a whopping 31.6 thousand. Tribe Twelve is comparatively fledgling in status to these two behemoths in terms of age but has still managed to rack up an impressive 2.5 thousand subscribers on youtube. I'd like to look at why I think this series is gained popularity in an already saturated field.

Tribe Twelves tells the story of Noah Maxwell, a twenty something living alone in Florida. It begins with Noah explaining how he had a close relationship with his cousin Milo, how they grew apart and how strangely Milo acted in the few weeks before he was found dead in his home of an overdose on prescription medication. Each of the first few videos (described as "Layers") depicts Milo's final visit to Noah, as the videos progress we realise that Milo is being stalked by Slenderman. When Milo dies, Slenderman seemingly stays behind. Noah is thrust into a freaky world of mysterious packages, disturbing phone calls and cryptic messages.

One of the things which makes TT stand out is the technical ability of its producer, the latest Layer "Hello There" has a slick nature to it. It uses a two-tone filter to give the whole message an eerie feeling, images are sometimes too dark to make out until the filter shifts through a spectrum and you can make out the subject for a split second before it becomes too light. This "there and yet not there" approach is indicative of the thread I feel which runs through this whole series - claustrophobia and loneliness.

Once Milo is gone, Noah is alone and facing his demons. Unlike MH and EMH, where the subject is a group of friends, Noah has no support - even putting out a request to fans for somewhere to stay over Thanksgiving. I believe this sense of isolation has built quite a connection between Noah and the TT fans, you feel his pain because he has to share it with you, you believe he has no one else to share it with and so you feel more part of the story.

Tribe Twelve feels more akin to Marble Hornets than EverymanHYBRID. Jay has become increasingly isolated in the latter part of the MH story, and the epic use of silence which MH employ is similar to the cloyingly quiet scene where Noah is pursuing a stalker around his house.

Recently, Noah has been to see "Sarah" - the fan who accepted his request for somewhere to stay over Thanksgiving. They did a live stream and had some laughs but in the end Noah had to leave early with the tweet:

left early. some shit went down. dont know where im headed. fuck this. sorry sarah.

7:21 AM Nov 27th via Twitter for iPhone

So, there has been shit! I know I'm not alone in my curiousity as to what this shit was. I think Noah should just bite the bullet and stomp out to the tower again, alone, at night. Whats the worst that could happen?

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