Oct 20, 2017

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Fright Night Challenge 20: Babadook

The Babadook is easily the movie on this list I’ve been looking forward to the most. During the lead-up to me going to Clarion, there was a discussion about how and why Babadook is a gay icon. The babadiscourse intrigued me enough to spark a story idea even though I’d never seen the movie. To say I’ve been looking forward to watching the movie would be an understatement. And the Babadook certainly did not disappoint! This was by far the scariest movie on my list so far while also being right up there with Get Out in the running for being the best movie on this list.

The Babadook is essentially a single mother still grieving from the death of her husband almost seven years earlier, dealing with a weird, rambunctious kid who just will not sleep through the night. She’s on the verge of falling apart when her son brings a pop-out book with the title Mister Babadook. The book starts innocently enough, rhyming about the new friend you might meet, Mister Babadook. It turns creepy very fast, finding its way into the nightmares of both mother and son. The movie is notable in that there are no jumpscares. Like seriously. The horror is just constantly rising until it reaches a crescendo.

As far as spoiler warnings go, there is a supremely cute dog who does not have a very good end and some disturbing hallucinations of a dead child who’s not actually dead.

The rest contains spoilers, you have been warned.

The thing that I loved, loved, LOVED about The Babadook was the ending. Not only was it a happy ending, it was a happy ending for everyone, the monster included. And holy shit did it work for me. I was scared enough there as the action started to ramp up that I needed to pause the movie which hasn’t happened since forever. But the monster just needed to be seen and acknowledged. Like seriously. I’m basically crying just thinking about that as a solution to anything, let alone a horror movie. And these are good tears. I mean, obviously there are undertones of grief and there are probably n+10 explanations for what happened, but for me, this is still a very distinctly queer narrative. I’m glad I didn’t see it before I wrote the story that’s now out there somewhere, hopefully finding an audience, but there are definitely similarities in the two stories.

I just loved this movie to bits and will most likely be watching it over and over and over again. After all, you can’t get rid of the Babadook.

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