Michael Gallagher, a 23 year-old filmmaker, is now dead center in 4Chan’s crosshairs after daring to make a movie about a villain from the “dark corner of the web.”
The film, “Smiley,” which opens in limited release on October 12th, has raised the ire of 4Chan’s forum posters, as well as the subgroup Anonymous, which has previously been associated with “hacking and bullying” tactics against financial institutions and the “Church of Scientology.” 4Chan and Anonymous apparently don’t like to be fucked with.
Gallagher, who also runs the weekly sketch comedy channel “Totally Sketch” on YouTube, first attracted negative publicity after posting the trailer for his movie to his website. Postings from various 4Chan users are now calling for Gallagher’s death, and Gallagher claims he has received similar threats over the phone. “One caller said he was ‘going to wipe me off the face of the earth, and find me and murder me,’’ Gallagher said via an interview with the Huffington Post.
The filmmaker’s mostly taking it in stride though, saying that the amount of hate mail he’s gotten from trolls in the past has served as a warmup. Still, the sheer volume of hateful emails was shocking, with him receiving up to 40 emails a minute. Even his phone number and his family’s Facebook account info were published in the notoriously opinionated forum. “It got very out of hand.”
The trailer, which runs like standard horror fare, never mentions 4Chan, Anonymous, or any aspect of technology for that matter, save for the occasional glimpse of someone at a computer screen. So far, test screenings of the film (including one in Los Angeles last night) have run smoothly and without incident, leading speculators to wonder how much of the hype — on the side of Gallagher and on the side of 4Chan — is real?