Those who frequent "front page of the internet" site Reddit will already be aware of the multitude of subreddits designed to keep you from sleeping at night. A few of the more popular ones include r/Creepy, r/Creepy_Gif, the poetically titled r/ScaredShitless, and r/NoSleep.
Today's spooky story comes from the latter of these dungeon domains, and it will leave you all with a chilling thought: what if Reddit got into your local cinema?
One year ago, Reddit user Dathan Auerbach posted a series of scary tales to NoSleep. In the style of many a Creepypasta and online horror story, Auerbach's stories were written in an autobiographical style and the author remained in character whilst responding to comments, more than once beginning the next chapter of the tale by claiming that a question from a reader had 'triggered' a memory which had been hitherto forgotten.
After building up an eager and hungry fanbase for the series, Auerbach used Kickstarter to fundraise for a novelisation and expansion of the six short stories, titled Penpal, which he published through Amazon.com.
Penpal was published in August, but today Auerbach revealed on Reddit that:
Before the book had even launched … I was contacted by a producer named Rich Middlemas, who won an Oscar for the documentary Undefeated this year. After talking for a while, we reached an agreement, and he is now officially on board to produce the film adaptation of Penpal! Rich has just started shopping the book around in an attempt to get it set up in Hollywood, so we've still got a ways to go, but I'm hopeful that we'll get there.
I never anticipated things getting this far, and I haven't forgotten for a second that the people of Reddit are who made this possible. The support I've gotten so far has been incredible, and whatever comes of all of this, I'm proud that it started on Reddit.
Since winning this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Middlemas' Five Smooth Stones Productions has also optioned an adaptation of David Bellavia's House to House: An Epic Memoir of War.
We'll be keeping a close eye on the development of Penpal. After all, if Slenderman can get his own video game and a Twilight fan fiction can sell over 60 million copies worldwide, it's perfectly possible that a creepy story from the depths of a subreddit could end up on the big screen.
Knowing the speed at which Hollywood grinds its gears, however, you might want to check out the original short stories to satiate your appetite for spooky stuff right now.
Don't forget to turn off the lights first. That way, you won't be able to spot anything creeping up behind you in the screen glare.