Marble Hornets isn’t an internet TV show. It’s an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), an interconnected web of plot lines spread across Youtube, Twitter and Wikipedia. But, if you’re going to talk about shows on the internet, you have to talk about Marble Hornets. Few others have even come close to using the medium as well as it does.
With the meme-born-monster, Slenderman, as the principle villain, characters (not the actors) interacting with reality and viewers, a growing plot that will never run out of opportunities for fans to create more stories and a possibility that it could go on forever, Marble Hornets has firmly established itself as the first real horror story for the internet.
A film student called Alex has disappeared. Fellow student Jay finds and watches what remains of his old class project, titled “Marble Hornets”, and starts to notice something strange. Somebody was following Alex; a mysterious figure in a black suit appears in the background of nearly every scene. Worse, Jay starts to see the same man himself. Then it gets weird.
By weird, I mean that the plot becomes thicker than concrete. You can’t just jump in, Marble Hornets needs to be watched from the start, probably with the aid of a Twitter timeline if you want to have any idea what’s going on. Once you do get into it though, it won’t let go.
Mainly this isn’t due to the story itself being gripping but because it’s consistently and constantly terrifying. A long shot of a field can be enough to make you jump; a static overnight recording gives you nightmares. No matter what else is going on, there’re enough frights in Marble Hornets to keep it entertaining.
As far as ARGs go, Marble Hornets could be the best. However, it is definitely not for everyone.
Most people watch internet shows while they’re doing something else, and while you can try that approach with Marble Hornets, doing anything else while it’s on will ruin the experience. Also, unless you’re into mystery solving and are able to put up with constant bizarre events it’s probably going to annoy you. The biggest problem might be practicality; because of its realism things happen in real time. If nothing happens for a month, there won’t be any updates for a month. If there’s been a big plot development, you’ll have to check for updates every five minutes for a week.
Inaccessible and difficult, Marble Hornets is worth the effort.
The main (Jay’s) Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MarbleHornets
The main (Jay’s) Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/marblehornets