A little bit down the road we saw this really tall guy standing in the middle of the street, just completely still. For whatever reason, this really set off Rocky, and, um, he got really scared — he wouldn't move and he kept on pulling on his leash to go back home. There was something about this guy that was just... it was strange.
Marble Hornets is an Alternate RealityUrban Fantasy web series following discoveries made while looking through raw footage of a trite student film. The series is currently in its third loosely-defined season. Marble Hornets was instrumental in codifying parts of The Slender Man Mythos, but is not part of the Intercontinuity Crossover that includes many of the blogs and vlogs that followed it, although MH does feature in other canons as either a chronicle of real events or a fictional series... it leads to some confusion. The movie appears to have started in this post from the original Slender Man thread on the Something Awful forums.In 2006, film student Alex Kralie suddenly abandons his movie Marble Hornets in the midst of production, swearing to burn the tapes and never speak of it again. Alex's friend Jay rescues the taped material and, years later, begins reviewing them, only to realize too late why the film shoot was abandoned and that by digging it up again he may have reawakened sinister forces.Jay's YouTube account chronicles material from the tapes and, increasingly, the bizarre and frightening events of his own life. A Twitter page was added some time later. Since Entry #9, he's noted a guy named 'totheark' responding to each entry, adding a whole new level to the scary.Has a fan run wiki with commentary, a timeline, and transcripts of all the entries. Both the first and second seasons are also available on DVD.As of February 25th 2013, it's getting a big screen adaptation.
Abandoned Hospital: A place Tim introduced Alex to, an old clinic which suffered a fire and was left to rot. It was to be used for shots of an abandoned school building in the Marble Hornets film they were making. It plays a big role in Season 2 and Season 3. Entry #66 reveals that Tim was a patient there as a child.
Abandoned Playground: Entry #4 has Alex running through a playground at night, running away from the Operator... or seeking him out, complete with spooky swinging swing set and seesaws that move when Alex isn't looking. Entry #70 features the same playground.
Action Survivor: Alex reacts calmly and rationally when he encounters the Operator in #26, compared to most people's (perfectly understandable) reaction of freaking out.
Courtesy of Neil and Emmy Cicierga, of Potter Puppet Pals fame, we have Splendorman. A parody of the Slender Man mythos in general, though the presentation (text on black screen for intro, amateur film gone awry, visual tearing) is highly reminiscent of Marble Hornets.
Alien Geometries: One explanation of what is happening in Entry #23. Entry #24 shows Jay in his apartment, having set up cameras in every room; he opens a door, steps through and doesn't appear on the other side.
Always Night: Jay tries to avert this in Entry #23 by going to the creepy abandoned house during the day, the key word being "tries". In one of his tweets, Jay says he's going to "have a look around while it's still light out." The poor boy just doesn't learn. By #63, he's clearly sick of it - "So we really couldn't have met during the day? We gotta...meet under a streetlight, make it all dramatic?"
Anachronic Order: The entries for Season 1 are cut from hundreds of unmarked tapes, as well as Jay's own new recordings. Most of Jay's tapes from the missing seven months in Season 2 are labelled, averting the trope. There are still some exceptions, like Entry #38, which come from unlabelled tapes.
The Artifact: The "totheark responds to every video" theme, post-Season 1. Initially, they were there to draw ominous attention to the possibility that things might not be so done-and-over-with as Jay initially thought but Jay has already known since late in Season 1 the dangers of what he's working with, so unless it's a hefty Wham Episode, totheark's "ominous warnings" mostly revolve around something to the effect of "YOU ARE BROKEN" or "Alex is going to kill everything!" and don't really impact the plot or characters at all. On twitter, Jay has long stopped commenting on them other than "totheark responded again (Youtube link)" unless, again, it's a Wham Episode and/or totheark directly meddles in something.
Artifact Title: Almost everything after the first season has nothing to do with the movie, but rather continues the story set up in earlier videos. Though Tim gives Jay more tapes of test footage in season three, they only make up four entries.
The Masked Man pulls this off for Jay and Jessica in Entry #52 when he stops Alex from shooting them.
Jay attempts one in Entry #61 when he learns that Tim has once again become the Masked Man. Jay immediately rushes off to try and help him. All it gets him is another unpleasant encounter with the Masked Man in the next entry.
Troy Wagner: I'm glad most people liked our subtle attempt at poking fun at ourselves in a few ways with it, too. Marble Hornets has never really had much room for humor, so when the rare opportunity presents itself, we snatch it up.
Entry #27, the start of what could be called season two, starts with Jay in a hotel with no idea how he got there. Entry #52, the 'season two' end, shows how Jay and Jessica got to the hotel and why they didn't remember anything.
Also, the first and last entry of Season 1 and 2 have both contained scenic footage of Jay driving down a road as he monologues through the text on screen.
Now, Entry #70 of Season 3 has shown Alex walking around the playground seen in Entry #4. Allegedly in the very same scene.
Break the Cutie: Happens to pretty much every character involved with the disastrous Marble Hornets project, most notably Tim, especially as of Entry #65.
Particularly tense episodes like Entry #23 are usually then followed by more low-key ones.
The hotel arc was much more slow paced and peaceful than the end of season one, leading up to the more intense scares as the second season progressed.
Entry #47 is this in spades, with no Operator, no masked men, and next-to-no distortion, while in Entry #48, the Operator (possibly) appears for a brief second. They do lead up to a big Wham Episode in Entry #49.
Entry #53 doesn't have any particular scares in it, but just sets up the next season of the story.
Entry #55 likewise lacks any real scares.
Entry #63, which revolves mostly around Tim and Jay discussing their next move.
Entry #67.5, which is like the above, only without the discussion occurring on-screen.
Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Entry #52, One night after hearing Jessica screaming, Jay goes to help but turns to see the Operator standing right in the room. Jay charges and tackles the Operator, screaming "LEAVE US ALONE!" This does him little good as he is subsequently seen unconscious on the floor, and it is implied that this is what caused him to lose his memory of the past seven months.
Broken Tears: Tim breaks down sobbing a couple of times- when his meds are stolen and he's seizing on the floor in "entry"/Entry #61, and after he ends up at the abandoned hospital in Entry #65.
Brown Note: The entire series itself could be considered one, as watching it tends to have the same effect on viewers as the Operator's presence has on the characters (namely obsession, paranoia, irrational fear and insomnia). In particular, Entry #5's audio distortion and static has led to some viewers reporting of headaches and irritation.
Entry #55 lists Tim's psychiatry problems as if it was ripped right from this very trope entry: headaches, paranoia, and lack of sleep.
Burn Baby Burn: This was Alex's plan with the Marble Hornets raw footage before giving it to Jay. Entry #69 reveals he managed to burn some of them.
Call Forward: The trailer, a bonus on the season 2 DVD, has this via Tim's line.
Tim: Whenever I'm around other people, I feel like I'm wearing a mask to hide who I really am.
Also in entry #54, tying in to the theme of revisiting the original making of Marble Hornets the first shots of the tape Jay watches show the Silver Silos, which were in the very first shot of the Introduction to the series.
For those who have seen the hilarious "Marble Hornets Trailer" on the season 2 DVD, this is also directly referred to in #54 where Alex, Tim, Seth and Brian start working out the music for it, only to be horrifyingly interrupted.
Another callback to the trailer occurs in Entry #55, which shows the filming of two shots featured in the trailer.
The trailer itself features a callback to Entry #7, with dialogue and a shot filmed in said entry.
Cat Scare: This does occasionally purposefully happen, such as the jump cut to Alex's silhouette in Entry #44, but the Nothing Is Scarier nature of the series means that any time the camera pans quickly can be this, for example, Entry #23, which comprises about 5 minutes of Jay whipping the camera back and forth around a dark, empty house.
When Jay wakes up at the beginning of season two, he finds a key in his belongings. This isn't mentioned again until Entry #46, when we see where Jay found it, and we don't learn what it opens until Entry #50.
Jessica's phone number.
The bullet casing Jay finds in the house in Entry #16 might be explained as of Entry #52, wherein Alex pulls a gun on Jay and Jessica.
On his way to the red tower in Season 1, Jay briefly flashes his camera over a hole and a bit of static is heard. It's blink and you miss it. Over 40 entries and three-and-a-half years later, when Jay and Tim return to check it out, they find burned tapes in the hole, showing Alex did burn some of them before Jay intervened.
The burned tapes are an example of this trope themselves
Chekhov's Gunman: Jessica can be seen getting out of her room and walking past Jay in the hall in Entry #27. Attention is not called to her, she is just a character in the background at this time. However, she is formally introduced in the next entry.
Sarah, the actress in the Student Film isn't mentioned by any of the other characters, and we only see her in the old tapes. Jay doesn't even consider seeking her out for interviews. She is described as "gone", which may imply that she died or vanished. Then again, Jay and Tim are described as "gone" in the same breath, so it's still anybody's guess.
In season one, one of the main signs of Operator influence was when space and time started to warp and normal places started turning intoEldritch Locations. This hasn't happened since Entry #24, though there are some implications of other places being Eldritch Locations, such as The Hotel and Rosswood Park, though neither of these has been shown to be distorted the same way the house was in Entry #23 or Jay's apartment in Entry #24.
Claustrophobia: Entry #60 takes place in a very tight, confined tunnel. You'd think that would make it safe from tall, dark and Slender...well, let's just say if you weren't already scared enough of tight spaces as they are...
Cruel and Unusual Death: Entry #38 features Alex telling Jay a story about an 1800s community's preferred method of dealing with criminals: tying them up between fast-growing trees and letting them be stretched out, like a rack.
Creepy Child: Tim as a kid, at least to his doctors who would witness him screaming in fear at something they couldn't see.
It looks like the Slender Doll in Entry #18 was intended to be this but just ended up oddly adorable. You know, for a faceless voodoo doll. It's not the doll itself that's creepy, but what it represents.It makes a reappearance in Entry #60.
The doll in Totheark's video Indicator, which makes a return in Entry #62 in totheark's shack.
Curbstomp Battle: Jay's attempt to fight the Operator in Entry #52. The Operator easily trounces Jay and wipes his memories of the last couple of months. Of course it's unclear if Jay actually tried to fight the Operator or if the Operator yanked Jay over to him so this may not count.
Curiosity Killed the Cast: An underlying theme of the film. Alex's whereabouts are unknown, nobody has seen Brian for a while, Sarah flat out disappears, and Jay keeps getting sicker and sicker. Several other characters will appear and disappear as the series goes on.
The Danza: Tim, Jessica, Brian and Seth. Brian is actually a double example: Alex's Marble Hornets film features a character named Brian played by a character named Brian...played by a man named Brian. Oddly enough, Jay and Alex themselves don't follow this trope (their real names are Troy and Joseph), nor do Sarah and Amy. Jessica is a happy accident, that the character was named Jessica before they hired an actress named Jessica.
Dark World: The industrial looking place Alex is traipsing about in during Entry #22. This is later revealed to be his basement... or not.
Several entries in the first season take place during the day. Notable examples from season one include Entry #17 and Entry #23 (when Jay goes into Alex's old house during the day).
The vast majority of season two seems to take place during daylight hours. The only two entries which have happened at night are Entry #35 and Entry #39. Most of the scary scenes all occur in broad daylight.
A lot of the responses posted by totheark are disturbingly incoherent, and are often shot in daylight hours.
Jay: I thought I'd take a look around while I was waiting. I got kind of lost, I guess. Alex: You got lost in woods you've never been in?
"Hey Jay, you forgot your flashlight."
Alex: Okay rolling. Brian starts coughing up a fit. Alex: Good take.
Alex: When I gave you those tapes, I told you never to mention them again. I thought that implied not sharing them with the world!
Alex, Tim and Brian are discussing the Marble Hornets film when the power goes out. Tim: Is it going to be, like, dark? Alex: There's going to be significantly more lighting.
By #65, Jay and Tim have become this towards each other.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In Entry #52, Jay possibly runs at the Operator when he appears in his hotel room. Although we only get brief flashes of whatever struggle ensued, it obviously didn't play out in Jay's favor.
Done by the Operator in Entry #49. In Entry #65, we see just where that body went.
Alex also does this in Entry #51. He drags Brian's body through a doorway and leaves it there.
Do Wrong, Right: In Entry #46, Alex seems less concerned that Jay broke into his apartment than the fact that he did it so incompetentlyi.e. he did it while Alex was taking out the trash, giving himself at most a minute or two to do whatever he wanted to do.
Dont Go In The Woods: The entire debacle is believed to have been started because Kralie's film crew got all up in the Operator's home. For some reason, these characters just never learn to stay away from those forested areas. Even when Jay tries to argue against it in entry #63, Tim insists that Rosswood Park is their only lead.
Jay:No. Tim: In the daytime this time. Jay: I've been there in the daytime! Nothing good ever happens when I'm there. Tim: Is that Rosswood or is that you?
The Dragon: Seemingly totheark and the Masked Man (who may or may not be the same person) to the Operator, although this has really in no way been confirmed.
And now seems highly unlikely, as the Masked Man seems to be working with the Hooded Figure (also probably at least one of the totheark posters) against Alex who almost certainly is some form of Dragon to the Operator.
Driven to Suicide: This may have been the reason for Tim attempting to overdose on pills after his traumatic, near-Mind Rape experience in Entry #65. Another possibility is that while he was panicking, he tried to substitute quantity for actually waiting for them to kick in.
Early-Bird Cameo: In Entry #65, Tim sports a Beard of Sorrow instead of his usual glorious sideburns. The beard made it's first appearance in Troy Moves Out, a comedy video the trio uploaded 2 months prior to Entry #65.
The distortion in the first few entries is much lighter than the ear-rapes and laser shows we would generally see from about Entry #12 onwards.
The Operator used to move a little and can even be walking in one case, as opposed to just appearing in the frame for a second and standing there, motionless. Entry #4 shows him running away after Alex spots him. He isn't shown moving all the way through season two.
Alex sure was weird back in the days of filming the actual Marble Hornets movie, but there was absolutely no indication that he'd already gone full batshit, and the latest tapes show that he obviously had
The bahavoir of the Masked men has changed over the series. In Entry #19, one of them teleports into Jay's room in and just sits there, like The Operator would, but none of them have every done that afterwards. Usually the Masked Men were much more feral, attacking the protagonists on sight, and when they aren't they just follow them on foot and film them, not teleport right to them. There used to be distortion whenever the Masked Men appeared, most noticeably in Entry #19, but there isn't anymore.
The fonts used on the title cards have changed slightly over the course of the series, adapting a subtle black outline in Entry #18 and then the thick outline used for the rest of the series in Entry #26. It's kind of weird to see the bold white text without the outline in the Introduction and early videos.
In the first entry. Alex runs to a window and peeks behind the curtains, only to see a tall man standing outside... who turns his head to stare at him, revealing one of his defining features.
In Entry #31, Jay notices a guy in a hoodie on the same trail as him. He eventually goes up to the guy and gets him to turn around... revealing an ordinary guy he's never seen before who just happened to have his headphones in.
Face Heel Turn: Alex as of Season 2. It's hinted at throughout the season, though Entry #49 and #51 are the most significant entries confirming this. #51 also suggests it may not have been a turnat all.
Fan Nickname: The fandom has heaps, considering the number of nameless characters and/or suitable nicknames for them.
While officially Tall, Pale, and Faceless is known as the Operator, not Slender Man, a lot of people call him "Slendy" anyway.
The Masked Man who stalks and accosts Jay is known as "Masky".
The man with the black burlap mask was originally called "Blasky," though the fandom has since settled on "Hoodie." Even after the revelation that Hoodie is totheark, the fandom still treats them almost as separate names and entities.
Jay's rambling, incoherent twitter posts, especially around "enttry 37" were referred to as "tweetocalypse" in reference to his collapsing mental state.
ToThePark is the guy Jay saw in the park in Entry #31. He was also known as "Hoodie" prior to the introduction of the aforementioned Hooded Masked Man, though the nickname seems to have transferred now.
Whitey/Bruce/Beardy is the person seen leaning against a car at the end of Entry #48 and is presumably the same person killed in Entry #49.
The creators of the series - Troy Wagner, Joseph DeLage, and Tim Sutton - are sometimes collectively called 'Trosephim.'
Flashback Twist: Entry #71. It turns out things did not go as smoothly as Jay remembered when he got the original footage from Alex.
In Entry #20 Jay and Alex (who at this point is still unaware of anything amiss) have a brief conversation about a painting which depicts an ominous looking forest with several trees aflame, and which belongs to their friend Brian. In Entry #38 Alex tells Jay a disturbing story of how a forest with almost supernaturally fast growing trees was once used as an execution ground for murderers/child molesters, and the condemned would be crucified to the trees and left to die as the fast growing trees stretched them like a rack, before the trees were burned down to remove the bodies.
In Entry #43, we find out Amy's roommate is named Jessica.
totheark's earlier videos in season two weren't exactly subtle on selling the message that Alex can't be trusted. In later entries, it is very much shown that he can't.
Many posts on the Marble Hornets Twitter page foreshadowed events that would occur in upcoming entries. For example, prior to Entry #46, Jay mentioned how he found footage of him stalking Alex.
In a truly magnificent and subtle example, Entry #69 has Jay and Tim exploring the woods from season 1, including returning to the gazebo from Entry #5 and Entry #9 and climbing the red tower again. Near the end of the entry, after they're on their way back to the car after giving up on finding anything, Jay trips on one of the miscellaneous holes in the woods, uncovering the remains of a plethora of burnt tapes. In Entry #21, when Jay is walking the very same path alone, there were bursts of unexplained audio distortion whenever he looked at one of the holes. The one he and Tim found the tapes in was even used as the thumbnail image for Entry #21.
In the run-up to Entry #26, Jay gets a text message on the 4th of April. He then receives a tape recorded on the day he got the text, showing: Alex and Amy narrowly avoiding the Operator, who appears to them at 4:04 pm. To take it further, the first hint of his presence (the footage tearing) occurs at 4:04 on the YouTube player.
The last 4 digits of Jessica's phone number are 1102. 1 + 1 + 0 + 2 = 4.
Also, enttry #37 reveals that Alex's birthday is April 4th.
The first part of the birthday is also at 4:41.
Entry #40, posted on May 4, where the Operator makes his big return to the series (Disregarding #29). The footage tears at 4:40, and several seconds later the scare comes.
In Entry #44, the Operator makes its appearance at the 3:24 mark and disappears...along with Alex.
In Entry #49, after strangling a man, Alex bashes his head in with a rock 4 times.
In Entry #51, four minutes and four seconds in, while Brian is settling up a second camera, the footage from Alex's camera tears.
In Entry #52, at 10:44, Jay is at the mercy of the Operator, and his face seems to disappear before appearing comatose on the ground moments later.
Totheark's video entitled Decay, which came out on April 4, 2012, really emphasizes this. It begins by showing distorted footage from Entry #26, effectively showing two timestamps for 4.4.2010 and 4:04 PM. An encoded message in the video also declares: "Today is your last birthday."
Entry #64: The Operator makes an important appearance, seemingly Mind Raping Tim. 64 is 4 times 4 times 4 (or 4 cubed).
Watch Entry #23 carefully. There are a few instances of this occurring in the video. One includes someone reaching their hand out towards the camera.
In totheark's Forecast, pausing roughly 31 seconds in allows you to get a glimpse of the person who filmed Jay in Entry #39 in the rear-view mirror. It seems to be a masked man, though the pattern on it is different from Tim's.
If you pause Entry #45 right at the end as Alex yells 'I'LL KILL YOU!' to the Maskies, you can see footage of the Operator from Entry #40.
In Entry #52, just as Alex, Jay, and Jessica are approaching the building in Rosswood Park, you can see Tim looking out the window at them, foreshadowing his Big Damn Hero moment later in the video.
In Entry #57, if you look at the dark space next to Tim while he's having his coughing fit, you'll see the Operator appear for a brief second. It happens twice; once at about the 6:23 mark, and again at the 6:34 mark, the exact moment the camera starts screwing up badly.
Jay seems to not understand the potential dangers of breaking into a deserted house at night, alone in the woods. He's done this more than once.
He acts even dumber in Entry #40, apparently deciding that it's a good idea to take a walk in the creepy haunted woods.
In Entry #46, Jay decides to stalk Alex at his house. This would normally fall under the umbrella of Genre Savvy, considering Alex's more than suspect behavior, but the way Jay goes about it (going into the house while Alex is taking out the trash, leaving him next to no time inside) he's just asking to get caught. Which he does. And even Alex points out how stupid he was. It goes even worse than he could have imagined when the Operator shows up.
In Entry #59, even after all Jay's been through, he's still willing to meet someone he doesn't entirely trust in what appears to be an isolated location alone in the middle of the night for an incredibly vague reason. Fortunately, while Tim is not happy with him, he just punches him once and then yells at him instead of, say, pulling a gun on him.
In light of the aforementioned Genre Blindness that Jay seems to suffer from, dropping the camera and running like hell in Entry #40 is the savviest thing he (or anyone) ever did through the series.
In Entry #47, he's smart enough to check before leaving that Alex really gave him Jessica's number and, arguably, at the end when he pretty much admits that it's more than likely that it's his fault Jessica ended up amnesiac in a hotel.
In Entry #67.5, Jay says that he's leaving in search of something. However, he doesn't say where, because he's aware that he's being watched by Alex.
In Entry #69, Jay says he thought he saw something moving in the woods and shrugs it off as a bird. Tim says that, given what's happend, they need to be nervous even when they think they've seen something. Later, after Jay sees someone that he fails to catch on camera, Tim states that they should have left as soon as Jay thought he saw something.
The Ghost: The Operator plays this role for our protagonist, Jay. Though he can often be seen in the tapes, was seen by Alex and Tim, and the viewer can see him watching Jay on several occasions, Jay doesn't actually encounter the Operator until Entry #23. When Jay (possibly) attempts to fight the Operator in Entry #52, the Operator easily overpowers Jay and wipes his memory.
Tim is the only character ever to smoke onscreen. Guess who the masked man is... This may be subverted though, since as of Entry #52, we're pretty sure Alex is evil and Tim is almost definitely against him.
Recently it seems like the Masked Man is an entirely separate persona from Tim, who was completely in the dark until he watched the tapes online.
On the other hand, the man killed in Entry #49, a presumably innocent character, may have been smoking in Entry #48.
Gory Discretion Shot: Invoked in Entry #49. After murdering a man, Alex takes a rock and lifts it above his head. The following scene was cut out by Jay, who tells us he hurled the rock onto the victim's head four times.
Which as the text captions later inform us are "unsurprisingly" unnumbered and without dates. You can just picture Jay having the same kind of reaction to that fact.
Entry #69 ends with Jay and Tim finding burnt tapes hidden in the woods featured in Season 1. Some of these are proven to still be watchable.
He Who Must Not Be Named: The Operator is never explicitly named in the series, although the word comes up a few times in totheark's videos. The closest the entries come to naming him is in Entry #11, where one of the drawings on Alex's bedroom wall is simply the word "OPERATOR" beneath the recurring crossed-out-circle symbol. Until Word Of God confirmed it towards the end of Season 1, this was the only time that the name was associated with the character, even in totheark's videos.
Hidden Depths: From the very beginning, there's more to all of the characters than meets the eye. Then, once we get into the second season, we see just how much the characters are keeping from the surface. However, it almost always seems to do with them hiding their slow spiral into madness.
Idiot Ball: Even when it becomes clear that there are several people stalking and possibly trying to kill him, Jay continues to telegraph his next move over YouTube. This comes back and bites him on the ass in Entry #52, when Alex threatens to kill Jay at gunpoint for posting the videos and incriminating him, amongst other reasons and in Entry #59 where Tim explodes at him after finding the videos and refuses to ever speak to him again. He also returns to the same haunted house multiple times, often at night, and has a habit of wandering off into the woods despite nothing good EVER happening to people who do that in this series.
Idiot Hero: Jay's not necessarily holding the idiot ball - he's just kinda dumb. Despite this, his deduction skills aren't bad. He just never, ever seems to think anything through.
Incurable Cough of Death: One of the Operator's calling cards; his mere presence is enough to cause people to break into coughing fits, while people who've had repeated exposure to him tend to develop a chronic cough.
Jay develops a rather ominous cough in season one, starting with a few minor ones in Entry #15. He also has a particularly violent episode in Entry #16.
Brian has a coughing fit in Entry #51, about a minute before the Operator shows up.
Tim seems to suffer from this more than any character in the series:
In Entry #20, he had a coughing fit very reminiscent of Jay's in Entry #16.
In season two, we see it again in Entry #51 when Brian finds him curled up into a corner in an abandoned building.
In #53, he started coughing again while getting a call from an unknown individual. Granted, he was also smoking, but still.
Most notably, we hear him coughing at the end of Entry #56 after Alex attacks him and leaves him for dead. In Entry #57, which takes place immediately after, he's coughing violently throughout the whole entry. It also explains how he wound up in the abandoned building in Entry #51.
In #58, he starts coughing just as strange stuff starts happening to him and Jay in the hospital.
He's at it again in #59, and explains that it only started up again recently...when Jay showed up.
Entry #61 shows the worst case of it so far: Tim can't find his medicine when the cough starts up, and leads to what appears to be a mixing of a coughing fit and a full on seizure.
Entry #64 shows the second worst case of it, as the coughing fit leaves Tim rolling on the ground and unable to run away when the Operator finds him.
Tim's cough culminates in Entry #65, as he starts coughing up blood. That may have been set off, though, by what just happened to him.
Infinite Supplies: Jay has been driving across the country for several years now paying for hotel rooms and seemingly never runs out of money despite having no stated occupation.
It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Averted. Frogs and crickets in the forest can be continually heard during static interference.
It's All My Fault: In Entry #66, Tim admits to Jay that he feels everything that happened to the cast of Marble Hornets is his fault because his exposure to the Operator as a child may have been what lured it to them in the first place.
It's for a Book: Jay's explanation for having a camera strapped to him in Entry #28:
Jay: I'm, uh, shooting — shooting a documentary. Jessica: Oh? What's it about? Jay: Uh, hotels!
Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: As told by an Unreliable Narrator. The story is comprised of clips Jay edits and uploads while looking through a mass of largely unlabelled tapes, some of which have been tampered with, some of them featuring Jay himself in situations he has no memory of. Sometimes someone will log into his YouTube account and upload clips in his name, and a couple of times he's revealed that he hasn't been telling us the whole story... Much of the timeline for the season 1 tapes can only be guessed at, and as of #53 it's still unclear when entry #37 took place. Later lampshaded when it's pointed out that Jay just points his camera at random stuff and finds things out almost completely by accident.
"I was taking out the trash! What could you have possibly hoped to find in that amount of time?"
And in Entry #53, when Jay finds more production tapes from Marble Hornets, he audibly groans 'Great, more tapes', about the same time most of the audience was thinking the same thing.
Laser-Guided Amnesia/Mind Rape: Quite a lot of it, and probably why both Jay and Alex have been constantly filming themselves. Jay even forgets the seven month gap between season one and season two and must piece it together via video.
Jay begins investigating Marble Hornets almost three years after it occurs. By that time, the original cast had scattered or disappeared and several locations (such as the house) were trashed.
As of Entry #59, we learn that Tim was/is even later. Not only does he not remember most of the past three years due to Laser-Guided Amnesia, he only catches up by watching Jay's Marble Hornets channel on YouTube. He's not happy.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: With the series having dropped most of its ARG elements after the first season, it's pretty easy to forget that it's not just in real life that the entries are being posted on YouTube, but also in the story itself. This comes back to bite Jay on the ass hard later.
In Entry #52, one of the reasons Alex threatens to kill Jay is because he's posted all his videos on YouTube and revealed his secrets to the world.
Leave the Camera Running: While the entries themselves are mostly cut down to just the relevant parts, the source footage is primarily taken from someone literally leaving the camera running. For example, Jay inherited hundreds of tapes from Alex, but most of them contained nothing of interest.
"From the film production class that brought you Mon Amour Intemporel"
Line-of-Sight Name: A behind-the-scenes example, according to Word Of God. The actors wanted something that sounded like a stereotypical pretentious student film, and Troy (Jay) picked the title based on the next two things he saw while driving.
An accidental example, due to a text-to-video program, a video called Megadrunk (Mirror) managed to get on the account briefly on April 8th, 2011.
The Season 2 DVD contains footage from an unused version of Entry #37. It was fully complete, but scrapped because it didn't achieve what the creators had hoped it to do. They instead replaced it with what is now called enttry #37.
Lost Woods: A wooded area that was once the execution place for condemned criminals is somehow central to the plot. The Operator seems closely tied to these forsaken regions.
Almost every entry in the first season has the Operator in it, be he the centerpiece of the video or in the background for only two frames. Justified since the first season is Jay going through Alex's videos looking for oddities and then posting what he finds.
Entry #19 has the Masked Man staring through Jay's window for a few frames before and after appearing in his room.
In Entry #52, as Alex is leading Jessica and Jay into the sawmill/storage area, the masked man can be seen for only a half second, peering from the building's second floor opening in the background. Just for those who thought there was some teleportation occurring.
The video and audio glitches in some entries serve as Meaningful Foreground Events. They give a hint to the viewer either that they should put down their drink immediately (as in Entry #40), or that the person on camera is suffering the effects of contact with the Operator, as with Jessica and Alex in season 2 and one very subtle instance of visual tearing when Tim is giving Jay his number in Entry #53.
In the radio interview, Troy has said that five words that sum up the series would be "AHHH! Look at the background!"
Meaningful Echo: Tim hands Jay a bag of tapes in Entry #54, claiming he hasn't watched them because he's "not the movie guy" and doesn't have the right equipment. He uses this exact phrase again in the first tape Jay watches.
Mind Screw: Pretty much every video totheark has made. A handful make vague sense when combined with the entry they're responding to, but most don't.
Minimalism: Keeping with the student film theme, most of the videos seem to be set in public areas and the cast is tiny. The whole series is a testament to what can be achieved with little budget but lots of creativity. We still don't know how exactly the Operator was filmed.
Minimalist Cast: There's a total of about 13 characters, 4 of them only appearing one-to-two times, and only five are actively involved as main characters. Of those five, only two of them get most of the screen-time, whereas the other three are usually busy off-screen.
Mistaken Identity: Alex thought either the man in Entry #49 was one of the Masked Men or Jay. It ends poorly for the guy.
Mood Whiplash: In Entry #46, the funniest line in the series is immediately after Jay spots the Operator staring at him out the window, and seconds before what is quite possibly the most effective Jump Scare in the whole series.
Intros and finales are associated with shots of scenery from inside Jay's car while he's driving with text appearing over them.
Totheark's videos often have themes of water.
Multiple-Choice Past: This is what talking to Jay must be like from Jessica's point of view. He's gone from "I'm shooting a documentary" to "My house is being renovated" to "My job relocated me." She eventually calls him on it.
Myth Arc: Who or what is the Operator? What happened to Alex and the Marble Hornets crew? Who are the Masked Men and totheark and how are they linked to all this? Where's Jessica? The search for answers to these questions makes up the whole story.
One occurs in totheark's video called Inquiry, which appears again with even more distortion for one frame in Reminder. It appears to be a distortion of Tim's face. He does it again in the Decay video with a different face.
One of the most horrifying ones in the entire Mythos occurs in Entry #60 when The Operator gets within inches of the camera.
He doesn't do anything! He just stands there!Menacingly!
Traditional scary unreveals are rife throughout the series. Entry #11 sets up a nigh-legendary scare when Kralie wakes up, walks around his empty house, checking out each window. Satisfied at finding nothing, he returns to his bed and falls asleep. And then a shadow passes by. You will never sleep again.
On a meta level, every video under the Marble Hornets account has its comments disabled, leaving you without immediate insight into what other viewers are thinking or feeling and removing the possibility of a comical comment relieving the fear of the video.
Not So Different: In Entry #52, Jay attacked the Operator, demanding to know what it wanted. In Entry #70, we learn that Alex had done the same thing not long before he disappeared the first time. And just like Jay, it seems that Alex confronted the Operator to protect a girl that was important to him (Jessica for Jay, Amy for Alex).
Offscreen Teleportation: Possibly one of the Operator's abilities. Demonstrated in Entry #26, when Alex sees his girlfriend playing with one of his old cameras...which calls the Operator to their location. Entry #54 suggests it might not be teleportation at all - he just moves really, really fast when no-one's looking.
Ominous Save Prompt: Jay's eerily timed uploading of Entry #32 before going into Jessica's room.
In the earlier entries of season one, Jay was referred to as simply "J," which was how he signed his name. After being asked his real name repeatedly, he eventually confirmed it to be "Jay," and fans gradually switched to calling him by his full name (although there are still some who continue to refer to him by his first initial).
Also an example by the fandom, if the interview on their alternate channel is anything to go by. It's 'the Operator', not Slender Man.
Only One Name: Save for Alex Kralie, no last names are given. Jay stated his (to Jessica) once, but muted the sound afterward. In 60, Jay finds a medical form with Tim's name on it, but his last name is smudged out except for the first letter (W). Especially notable in Jessica's cause, since her actress didn't have her last name stated right away. As such, many fans know both character and actress as Jessica, thus causing confusion when talking about the character and actress.
Parental Neglect: It seems that Tim's mother was "never really around" to help him through his darkest hours when he was confined at the mental hospital as a child. Tim's father is never mentioned at all, suggesting that he wasn't in the picture.
Properly Paranoid: Alex, and later Jay, seem like insane paranoids taping themselves 24 hours a day, but examining these tapes shows that they have VERY good reasons to worry.
In Entry #50, Jay thinks he hears footsteps behind him as he and Alex walk through the woods. There was. He later catches Tim following him and chases him around for a bit.
Entry #50 again. Though one might think Jay to be Genre Blind again to due agreeing to meet Alex after their fight in Entry #47, he appears to be using his head by bringing a pocket knife, just in case Alex tries something. He doesn't, but can't be too careful. This is brought home in Entry #52, when it was revealed that Alex intended to murder him. Not that the pocketknife would have helped since Alex had a gun.
In Entry #52, we also see that Jay has the good sense to sleep fully-dressed and still wearing his shoes and chest-mounted camera, so that if something wakes him up in the middle of the night he can be up and running immediately.
In Entry #67.5, Tim and Jay go on the run once they realize Alex is now on the hunt for them.
In Entry #69, Jay swears he saw someone watching him who quickly disappeared. The camera wasn't able to see who it was, but the audio did get distorted.
Public Domain Soundtrack: The audio in Forecast may be from Beethoven's Fifth, fourth movement, played backwards with other obfuscations.
Rapid Fire No: Jay does this in Entry #46 when he sees the Operator through the window.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Because the show is written and produced on the fly, with entries being posted to YouTube pretty much as soon as they're done, delays and last minute script changes are common. Jay can update his twitter to say the next entry will be posted shortly, only for creator Troy to hit a snag that causes Jay to lost 2 days of time. Luckily, Jay is a pretty Unreliable Narrator so it works in character. Notable examples include:
Noentry had to be quickly pulled down and re-edited after eagle-eyed viewers noticed a continuity error.
Entry #50 was delayed by about a week because the boys were waiting for an as-yet-unknown item to be delivered. They later revealed it to be Alex's jacket. They couldn't have done the Entry without it.
Entry #65 had the longest in-season wait between entries in the series' history, thanks to crazy weather that was hitting Alabama that prevented filming.
In Entry #35, the Masked Man is finally revealed to be Tim.
In Entry #43, we find out who Jessica is: she was Amy's roommate.
Entry #52 is one big reveal about Alex's true motives, how Jay and Jessica ended up in the hotel in the first place, and how they suffered their amnesia.
Entry #59 Tim has been suffering from Laser-Guided Amnesia for most of his life, and specifically doesn't remember anything about being the Masked Man.
In Entry #66, we learn that Tim has been seeing The Operator since he was a child, and might be the reason that everyone else has been affected by it.
Re Watch Bonus: In Entry #20, Alex is describing the abandoned hospital from Entry #51, #58, and #60 to Jay.
Right Behind Me: Could be retitled "Right Behind Me: The Series." Notable instance in Entry #46: the Operator appears in Alex's house behind Alex. Jay bolts as soon as he appears, but Alex doesn't seem to notice.
Rouge Angles of Satin: Entry #52 was uploaded twice, because the first version contained typos. The second upload also contains a typo, but this is dismissed by Word Of God saying that it was intentional, as it's just how Jay types.
Scrapbook Story: It starts out as one of these, and then Jay learns he has problems of his own.
Seeker Archetype: Jay. At first he just watched out of curiosity, but his focus quickly changed to trying to find out what was going on, and eventually he settled on the goal of finding Alex. This Twitter post indicates he may have been becoming obsessed.
Jay: Looking through some surveillance footage. Not sure what I'll find. I feel like I just have know one more time what's been going on.
In Entry #51, Alex says that the footage is to be from the main character's old elementary school that burned down, which is the premise of the entry "I'm Okay" in Everyman HYBRID.
The trailer for Alex's original film had Alex quoting the Zybourne Clock.
Slender Man Mythos: It was/is the first video series featuring Slender Man (although they like to call him the Operator). Can be credited with a large portion of the mythos' popularity.
Slow Walk: In Entry #43, Alex seems to do this as he walks towards the Operator. Unlike most examples of this trope, it's impossible to tell whether he's heroically defying the Operator's influence or if he's gone crazy from The Operator's influence.
Snark-to-Snark Combat: Tim and Jay really have at each other in Entry #63. It's not surprising, considering what they've both been subjected to up to this point.
After the terror of Entry #23, Jay declares he no longer wants anything to do with any of this. Soon after, he tweets about feeling "totally functionless after quitting." However, Entry #24 shows that Jay can't really just quit this anyway.
Season 2 is this in spades. Almost every Breather Episode is Jay being told to stay put and wait for Alex to call him. This comes to a head in Entry #47, when Jay has finally had enough and calls out Alex on their lack of progress.
Entry #63 is an entire So What Do We Do Now? episode, as Tim and Jay discuss their lack of progress, what their priorities should be, and what their next step is.
Speak of the Devil: Something similar. It seems that disturbing anything related to the disastrous "Marble Hornets" shoot will draw the attention of the Operator.
Stylistic Suck: What little we see of Marble Hornets the student film underwhelms. Lampshaded in Entry #58:
Tim: I'm going to be completely honest here: I really don't understand why you're going through all this trouble just to finish off this movie, 'cos, as far as I remember, even by student film standards it wasn't particularly good.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: By Entry #63, Tim has agreed to start working with Jay. They're by no means friends, however, and spend more time bickering and arguing than discussing their next plan of action.
Tempting Fate: In Entry #51, Alex keeps mentioning that they're in an abandoned burnt-out building and that nothing could possibly go wrong a lot. Far too much for a genre-savvy viewer to feel safe. Slightly subverted in that Alex was intentionally leading Brian to the Operator.
Word Of God says that the shadow 'reaching into Alex's head' at the end of Entry #22 was a happy accident (the original plan was to simply have a shadow pass over him).
Seth wasn't in the original script, but his girlfriend (who played Sarah) asked for him to be included, Troy and Joseph wrote him in as the cameraman for the student film. Slight case of Ascended Extra, as he came back later as the only survivor of the student film.
Tim's line in Entry #9 about Alex spending too much money on tapes was improvised by Tim Sutton himself.
Title Drop: The final line of Entry ###### drops totheark's (account) name.
"AND YOU WILL LEAD ME TO THE ARK/ AND YOU WILL LEAD ME, TOTHEARK."
Jay's typo-laden, cryptic tweets, erratic posting patterns and blackouts have not done his credibility any good.
Alex's confrontational outbursts, erratic behavior, and inability to explain why his judgment should be trusted doesn't help others feel good about him. As we learn in season 2, these doubts are well founded
totheark has frequently threatened, mocked, and stalked Jay and Alex (to say nothing of the masked men physically attacking them both). However, the fact that he keeps dropping clues and warnings about the events suggests that tta might be trying to help or protect Jay.
Entry #71 shows that Alex handing the tapes to Jay did not go the way Jay remembered, and hints that Jay's recollection of other events might not be trustworthy either.
The Unreveal: in entry #68, Hoody takes off his mask while in front of the camera... but his face is just out of the frame.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Alex seems rather apathetic to the Operator showing up on his porch and in his house. The implications aren't pretty.
Vague Age: Everyone. They're out of college, or in their last years of it, but they're not nailed down by exact age. Only Tim gets a specific age range stated... in season three. It seems that unless it's important to the plot, it's not going to come up.
Villain Teleportation: We see this in #65 when Tim is teleported by The Operator from the tunnel to the water several times. And then to... somewhere else which may be wherever the Operator hangs out, or at least it's wherever the Operator took the body of Alex's victim.
In Entry #45, Alex is at the mercy of two masked men... who immediately flee when they see something off-camera. Alex doesn't turn around, but the telltale film tearing strongly implies that it's the Operator.
After an entire season of antagonizing Jay, one of the masked men ends up saving him and Jessica from Alex in Entry #52.
In Entry #67, The Operator appears in time to stop Hoody from shooting Alex in the head.
A special shout out should go out to Entry #49, as it's the episode we find out Alex is a murderer.
For that matter, Entry #51. He's been a murderer even back when he was making his film, and is possibly working for the Operator.
Entry #52 reveals that Alex tried to kill Jay and Jessica, to be stopped at the last second by Tim. And that night, they were visited by The Operator, who erased their memories.
#59: Tim reveals that he has no memory of anything that has happened while he was the Masked Man.
After a Fridge moment, in Entry #60.5, Jay finds a photo of his and Tim's argument from #59 in the folder containing Tim's medical documents. The "WATCHING" on the back is very reminiscent of totheark's videos. He's finally made direct contact with Jay.
Entry #61. The hooded person steals Tim's pills, causing the latter to go into a seizure and eventually leave as if in a trance. His destination? Implicitly Rosswood Park. Jay goes in after him.
Entry #64. Alex is not only still alive, but is watching Jay and Tim.
It gets worse in Entry #67: Alex came extremely close to offing Tim, and was only stopped by totheark's intervention. This makes Tim and Jay realize how deep they're in and forces them to go on the run to an anonymous hiding place in Entry #67.5.
Entry #71: One of the tapes Alex attempted to burn shows the moment when Jay asked Alex to give him the Marble Hornets tapes which [[caused this whole mess to get started. Everything seems to be going normally... until Alex suddenly beats the crap out of Jay. Naturally, Jay doesn't remember any of this, causing him (and the audience) to question what else Alex has caused him to forget.
Rocky, Alex's dog, is mentioned in an early video. Alex tapes himself for weeks. We never see or even hear Rocky. totheark's Forecast video hints at something very bad happening to the dog, though. That weird pulsating thing at the start, what could it be? A heart of some kind, perhaps. Some eagle-eyed fan spotted that the clip was taken from a video called "Experiments in the Revival of Organisms", in which Soviet scientists reanimate the organs of a dead dog. Oh dear...
The interview with Tim in Entry #15 brings up Alex finding dead animals on his lawn.
Jay calls out Alex after their ambushing of Tim. "You broke his leg with a block of cement!"
Alex also calls out Jay in Entry #46 for breaking into his house (and doing a rather poor job of it as well). He does it again, much more scathingly in Entry #47, though Jay counters with one of his own.
TTA calls Jay out for wasting time (in his ownway).
Alex in Entry #52 calls out Jay for getting Jessica involved and breaking his promise to never mention Marble Hornets again. At gunpoint, no less!
Tim all throughout Entry #59, with a nice helping of "The Reason You Suck" Speech. He calls Jay out on undertaking the whole project, for keeping secrets from him, for stalking him, filming absolutely everything, ruining his and several others' lives, and otherwise failing at just about every single turn.
Tim calls Jay out again in Entry #63 (much more calmly this time) for some of his later actions. Namely, leaking his Medical Files on the internet.
Whole Episode Flashback: Technically the whole series is a mish-mash of non-linear chronology and footage filmed in the past, but some entries tend to stand out more than others. Entry #22 and Entry #51 are the most notable, as they both jump backwards in time from the chronology of events the viewer and Jay are currently following, and they show footage of the student film which is integral in explaining the disappearance of the cast.
Entry #67 goes into this as well, with the tape that Jay found revealing that, during Tim's drug-induced visit to his old hospital, Alex showed up, was attacked by the hooded man and Tim and was possibly saved by the arrival of the Operator.
Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Rare non-comedic example in Entry #59 when Tim questions Jay about why he feels the need to record everything and post it on YouTube.
Tim: All you ever do is point your camera at every little thing that happens! How does that help anybody? Jay: In case something happens, I want people to know. Tim: Like who?! Who the hell is gonna' care?
Word Of God: Two interviews so far that mostly cover behind-the-scenes information, the first here and the second here. Tim also conducted an interview for a podcast, revealing his role in the production and telling stories about filming. This can be found here.