Welcome to our 9 Deuce Horror group’s The Babadook discussion. You know the drill by now. I ask 9 film specific questions and then have some wiggle room for 2 bonus questions that may not be film specific. I am your host, Kent, and today I am here with Kristi, Chris, Teddy, Kayleigh, and Cece Please, if you are reading this and would like to participate in one of these, contact me. All comments in bold are from me. Jaws will be the next film that we blog about on July 1st followed by Army of Darkness on July 15.
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- The obvious question first, give me your thoughts on Samuel. Be nice, mean, whatever. He’s a very interesting kid character for a horror flick.
Kristi: I like him. I think he really did a good job at being the creepy ass kid that I like so much. (Kent: We’ll have to do Pet Sematary real soon so you can get more creep kids, or Village of the Damned. There’s a 2008 film called “The Children” that may serve you well. It fell apart a bit but I have watched it like 3 times, so it’s not terrible.)
Chris: Poor kid. Between his fucked up mom and lack of a dad, how is he supposed to know how to behave? His mom doesn’t punish or reward behavior correctly because she is having to be both sides of the parental division. Instead of being mother and child they have become each other’s support system. (I think you nailed it with them being each other’s support system.)
Teddy: Dude fuck that kid…like idk if I could put him into a rocket and fire him into the sun I would. Who makes fun of parkinsons?? I do give him credit for the home alone-esk takedown of his mom 10/10 (I’m just happy that Home Alone has been brought up in another horror blog.)
Kayleigh: There was always that feeling of pity in the back of my mind because of his dead father. With that being said, I definitely had my fingers crossed that his mother would just give him a good smack to the face. So yeah, I thought he was a little prick begging for attention in the beginning. (Early on, I suspected that he was a child who didn’t get properly punished so he exhibited little self control. I still feel that way, but as Chris pointed out, Sam served as her support system, so that would make it hard to punish him properly.)
Cece: He was severely annoying to start, I would have slapped him multiple times and probably would have sent him to a mental ward…(So basically everybody is wondering about the parenting. I concur.)
Kent: The first time that I saw this film, the kid was making me regret watching for like 20-30 minutes. The kid then started to grow on me. In subsequent viewings, Samuel has become borderline loveable, minus the screeching. I loathe screeching.
- Were you hoping that Amelia and Robbie (the dude that she works with) would end up in a relationship?
Kristi: This is an unexpected question from you. (Believe me, I wasn’t really sure whether to ask it or not, but it felt right in this particular instance, because I’m always so negative.)I like the guy but I think she needs to work on her mental state before she enters a new relationship.
Chris: Hopefully down the road she gets that chance
Teddy: I mean it’s kinda short lived so I cannot make that call.
Kayleigh: The kind of relationship I was hoping for was her just getting laid. I mean she definitely needed it. There was that whole scene with the vibrator and Sam running in. I felt she at least deserved a one night stand. (I’m worried at how often I agree with you during this. Yeah, I think she really needed to bust her lady nut and maybe have a slightly clearer mind, some sleep, and maybe she could have parented better.)
Cece: Yes, I kind of was hoping that because she clearly needed something to take her mind off shit.
Kent: I am rarely ever supportive of relationships in films, as Kristi alluded to. In this case, I really liked Robbie, for some reason, so I was cheering him on, especially once we knew just how much Amelia could have used some intimacy.
- Was Claire (Samuel’s Aunt) a likable character for you? Also, did Ruby deserved to be pushed out of her tree house?
Kristi: Claire was a bitch just like her shitty daughter. She definitely deserved to he pushed. It wasn’t Samuel’s fault it just so happened to be out of a tree house. (Yeah, I think it’s definitely a circumstance of she had it coming and it’s not his fault that she chose to run her mouth when she was 10 feet in the air. That’s on her.)
Chris: Was she likable, no? Realistic and living in the real world, yes. Barring supernatural entities possessing you, her advice was mostly spot on. Little kids are dicks. Period. But if I broke the arm of everyone who was a dick to me, people wouldn’t be able to shake hands. So no Ruby deserved a spanking or being sent to bed without dinner, but not being pushed out of the tree house. (I’m sure we’ll talk about this sometime during ESO, but if we take the tree house variable out of it, did she at least deserved the shove? If we got broken arms for being mean, I’d never be able to do this blog.)
Teddy: I’m not gonna touch that one because of my past trauma’s but I understand Claire taking care of her daughter first
Kayleigh: I felt like Claire was just aggravated with her sister and wanted her to get over her depression after seven years. She was further aggravated that Sam was a little dickhead. Yes, she came off as a complete bitch constantly, but if I was in her shoes I can’t say I wouldn’t of done the same thing. As for her child’s little tumble out of the tree house, kudos. (The point about dealing with Amelia and her depression is something to touch on. I feel we all know somebody who has been depressed for years and years, and even if you get it, you understand it, and you support the person, there are times when it grows tiresome and you offer up a bit of tough love. Or maybe I’m just a dick, and there’s another broken arm.)
Cece: Claire was snooty and yes, her kid was a brat and spoiled. (I’m not sure I got snooty, but I suppose I can see that side. Ruby was just, well you said it nicely. For all of the talk about Amelia’s parenting, Ruby turned out to be an ass as well.)
Kent: The issue with Claire is in the manner in which she is portrayed. To get in a Walking Dead reference, if the show revolved around Negan for 6 seasons and then got attacked by Rick’s group, public perception would have been different. Consider that if the film was about Claire and Ruby, then the first time we meet Amelia and Samuel, you would probably loathe our 2 stars. I feel that Claire was being a quality parent, making tough decisions. On the other hand, Ruby so(ho) deserved that shove. Now I kinda want to listen to Rancid.
- Was the Babadook present throughout the whole film, or was it only Samuel’s imagination early on?
Kristi: I think he was there. I think that’s who he was smashing the head in at the park. (I hadn’t considered this, but it makes a lot of sense.)
Chris: I was talking about this the other night with Kent. My son was about 15 months old or so when I watched this and he would sleep in my bed when he’d wake up in the middle of the night. I would come home in the morning and my wife would be a zombie because he would always be touching her, kicking her, grabbing her face. I told myself Krista couldn’t watch this until he was older, it hit too close to home. This movie succeeds because it can be read either way: a paranormal entity terrorized and possesses a family or a psychological horror where grief and lack of sleep drive a mother to attempt to kill her son. I vacillate between both views.
Teddy: I feel like lack of them sleeping aided in the whole babadook craziness (A lack of sleep is a common theme in numerous horror films, but I really liked how they utilized it in this one.)
Kayleigh: I got the vibe that maybe Sam could see the Babadook because he came to terms with it early on. It said in the story book that if you deny the Babadook is real it will only get stronger. And that’s what the mother did through the whole thing, was deny it’s existence. Sam told her “don’t let him in” constantly. I feel like because Sam came to terms with the Babadook early on, maybe it was easier for the monster to fuck with the mother compared to Sam. (This was very spot on.)
Cece: I believe it to have been his imagination early on. I think he sensed it coming, though. (That was my initial take the first time watching.)
Kent: What Kayleigh said. The acceptance and denial of the Babadook’s existence keep this film rolling throughout. I say that he was real all along.
- What do you think about the ending? Did you feel like you had proper closure?
Kristi: Not at all. The ending was weird for me. So they kept The Babadook as a pet? Like the pet dragon thing in the Munsters? I don’t know about that. (Nice shout out to the Munsters.)
Chris: See the above question. Because either interpretation works you have two different endings:a) it’s symbolic of the fact that mom’s madness still exists but she is able to keep it locked away(scary because it could get out again). Or (b) their denial of the Babadook and reaffirmation of their love for each other have them power over it but did not allow them to get rid of it. Kind of creepy when you think that it could look like her dead husband and mom hadn’t been fulfilled that way in a while… No idea about the worms. (I really liked your B Side here because it is creepy to think about it in that way, and I like to think of it in that way.)
Teddy: Are they really keeping the babadook like a pet? I really feel like it was her coming to grips with her mental illness. (Why dig up worms for mental illness? I get that it’s a widely accepted interpretation, but really, were the worms like to say that this monster is definite?)
Kayleigh: I hated the ending. I feel like the movie can obviously be construed in two different ways. One, it was all in their minds long story short. Or two, it was all real. And if we’re going with the second option, which is the one I’m leaning towards, I’m pissed. Because I just have two major questions. Why the fuck are they keeping it as a pet locked up in the basement? Secondly, why the fuck does it eat worms for dinner? (They needed a replacement pet. The worms thing has been brought up, but knowing how horrified you are of them makes this far more interesting to me.)
Cece: I do, in a sense. I feel like this movie was very much alluding to a person and how they deal with their own mental illnesses/depression. In the end, she is ‘seeing the Babadook’ and confronting it, in turn, she tells her son it’s getting better. That, to me, is referring to her finally coming to grips with things and seeing it for what it really is and how it’s continuing to get better each day. (Then why the worms? Everything you said makes 100% sense, but why the worms? Why the big to do about feeding it? If it was about mental illness of sorts, wouldn’t they have done the ending slightly differently to leave it more open minded?)
Kent: In case it’s not obvious by now, this film has 2 schools of thought. A literal one in that the Babadook was a real monster and they conquered it and now feed it, which is cool as hell. The other one about mental illness and whatnot is ok, but it’s a less satisfying ending to me. Sometimes the absurd is more fun than the probable reality. I can’t sit here and say that it was 100% proper closure, but for a genre known for 85% horrible endings, this one was good and gave us something. So I will give it a thumbs up.
- What was the creepiest or scariest part of the film for you? I’m not asking if you were scared.
Kristi: There were a couple. The book reappearing with the added pages and the bedroom scene when The Babadook was all doing his Babadook creepy ass voice. (How I enjoyed the creepy voice!)
Chris: The dog, the tooth, just his appearance. They did a good job of making him creepy as fuck. I liked the scene where he lunges at her and turns into the coat on the floor too (Teeth and dental stuff always makes me cringe when watching. )
Teddy: dog neck snappin was no bueno.
Kayleigh: For me I had two different scenes that stuck. First, when the mother ripped her own tooth out after she murdered the dog. Gross. Second, one of the first times the Babadook really messed with her. She’s laying in bed sleeping, gets awakened by the door slowly opening, and then you see it’s hands (or whatever it’s got) appear on the side of the door. Dumb bitch pulls the blankets over her head, and when she looks out again it’s crawling all over the ceiling. I would have shit my pants. (I have never understood the whole ideology of pulling sheets or blankets over your head. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I want to keep my eyes on whatever is fucking with me.)
Cece: The most cringe worthy was the killing of Bugsby. I hate when they kill dogs in movies. Also, creepiest would probably be when Babadook moved in those creepy motions. Also when he ‘possesses her’. (The dog was a common response, and totally warranted given how it was done.)
Kent: The kid screaming/screeching in the backseat of the car. I also really found some of the stuff on TV to be of the creepy variety and helped set a neat tone.
- At the end, who did you feel worse for: Amelia or Samuel?
Kristi: Samuel. I know it was technically The Babadook that killed the dog but still, she killed the dog!!
Chris: both, but Kayleigh’s answer is awesome (Nodding)
Teddy: Mostly I would say her because it seems like she is legitimately suffering from PPD regardless of Babadook possession. (Well, plus you have to consider how bad you feel after the possession. There’s a film on NetFlix called Ava’s Possession that goes into the aftermath of being possessed and I really enjoyed the film. Good story, good ending surprisingly. I highly recommend it for a film that didn’t get any hype.)
Kayleigh: Honestly, I think I feel worse for the kid. His mother can’t cope with shit. Bitch has had seven years to get over her dead husband and move on, but can’t. I mean this kid is only six years old, his father died on his birthday, the mother refused to celebrate on the actual day of his birth for his whole life. For a six year old he’s had to grow up pretty quick. Setting traps, making weapons, dealing with a Babadook possessed mother, your dog got murdered, your mom drugs you with tranquilizers because she’s seeing shit, and she chases you with knives…. The best we can hope for is this kids gonna be a serial killer when he grows up. (I can’t really add to this great response, but as a person who still treats their birthday with some enthusiasm, it really irked me how shitty his BDays had been celebrated. LingFest still happens.)
Cece: I felt worse for Samuel. Yes, I was highly annoyed by him in the beginning, but like, he was seeing this coming from a mile away and had to deal with his mom undergoing everything. (I really like this point. Everybody has been in a situation where you not only see something bad happening in the future, and you warn the person, but then you have to deal with the bad shit that you tried to avoid to begin with. Totally shitty.)
Kent: I say Samuel. Not to be too redundant, but his mom didn’t do a great job sticking up for herself or him, and I feel that is an important aspect of parenting. Both are sympathetic in their own right, but as the child of an insane person, I can find a better bond with Samuel.
- Would a sequel for this film work for you under any conditions?
Kristi: Not so much.
Chris: No it’s ambiguity is it’s success and a sequel would either seem redundant from framing a similar situation or answer the ending one way or another
Teddy: no, unless its Kevin Mcallister from home alone lol (I truly hope that Home Alone gets mentioned in the Jaws blog. This really needs to be a thing for us.)
Kayleigh: I’d only watch it under the condition they explain the worms for dinner. (You and the fucking worms. I will ask you, is there any possible reason that they could present to you that you would find satisfying, since you’re a hater of worms?)
Cece: Nah. I think it’s respectable in it’s own right.
Kent: Well, why the hell not? They have it trapped. Maybe Amelia starts up a proper relationship and he finds the book. He then moves in and starts noticing oddities only to have Samuel reveal what is happening, because that boy doesn’t have a filter. Maybe Amelia has to go away somewhere for the weekend. This could lead to the guy getting taken over by the Babadook. It may not be great, but it would still be better than numerous other sequels. If nothing else, I know that I would watch it and promptly bitch about it on social media. Just had another idea. Amelia is sick of Ruby being a little rude bitch to Samuel, so she reads the book to Ruby and then Ruby and Claire have to deal with it in the sequel. Kinda like passing the curse along. Think about it like “It Follows: Babadook Edition”.
- Would you ever read this book that is in this film (Mister Babadook), to a child?
Kristi: Nope. That shit would give me nightmares after I watched it the first time. For a kid, I think the book would have the same effect. (That’s the hope and the dream.)
Chris: not to my kids. Maybe my nieces or nephews (I enjoyed this response.)
Teddy: hell yeah I would. Be it a lesson to never be bad (my parents did it with Stephen King’s IT) (I’m really curious if there was any one particular part of IT that may have gotten to you as a kid. Feel free to message me. I had a few that got me as a kid.)
Kayleigh: Yes, yes I would. And then I would move the book around the house, and make sure to put it in places where the child would keep finding it. I’d maybe even go as far as knocking on the front door three times too. Occasionally whispering “Babadook dook dook…”
Shit would be funny. It’s no different really from that creepy elf thing that people move around at Christmas time. (That’s just fucked up. I’m very impressed and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.)
Cece: Nah, man. That shit is scary. (Go on.)
Kent: Well, we all know that I would make a terrible parent, so this response will not improve my standing. Of course I would. I think back to my childhood and I loved a good ghost story when I was young. Sometimes that stuff would keep me up for hours at night. I wouldn’t sleep well, have nightmares, wake up to a shadow that didn’t look quite right, all that stuff that makes your mind wander. So yeah, I would love for my child to have similar experiences. It builds character. Also, here’s a picture of the special edition case for the blu ray.
- Have you ever seen any other Australian horror flicks, like The Loved Ones, Wolf Creek 1 & 2, The Snowtown Murders, or any other?
Kristi: I have not. I’m down for suggestions though. (I always have suggestions for you.)
Chris: Wolf Creek 1. Wyrmwood:Road of the Dead. The early Peter Jackson movies that I can’t remember the names now. Edit: Dead Alive and Bad Taste. Remember one in the ‘80’s called Fortress about a class of children and their teacher being kidnapped and tortured in the outback. (I feel that I’m the only person that has seen Dead Alive. I liked that movie long before I knew Peter Jackson’s name. Wyrmwood is really good, and I don’t think it’s on NetFlix anymore, but if it is, people should check it out. I want to check out Fortress as it sounds awesome.)
Teddy: I have not most of my foreign horror experience comes from Asia (I would like to know what you have seen from Asia. I’ve seen some stuff and generally like it. Aside from the popular stuff, I dig Takashi Miike and Dumplings, for example.)
Kayleigh: I’ve seen Wolf Creek 1. And I’m pretty sure there’s a tv series out there right now that’s based in Australia with an Australian killer. He like goes around finding tourists, and kills them. I don’t remember the name though. (Kayleigh and I later talked and came to the conclusion that it was the TV show based on Wolf Creek.)
Cece: Nope! But maybe I should! (Get TubiTV if you have a Firestick or Chromecast or something like that, and download TubiTV and search for The Loved Ones. I think you will enjoy that.)
Kent: Obviously, I have. I strongly encourage horror fans to check out The Loved Ones. It’s a really good film. It may not be for all of you, but it’s solid. I liked Wolf Creek 2 better than the original. Part 2 knew what it was trying to be and it was unapologetic about it. The Snowtown Murders was interesting to say the least, and it may still be on NetFlix. I had totally forgotten about Wyrmwood which was awesome as hell, as well as Dead Alive. Thanks Chris.
- Just to get you thinking, name a few foreign horror flicks that you enjoyed. Canada doesn’t count. Yes, Shaun of the Dead counts, and yes, everybody here has seen it, so pick something else if you have others.
Kristi: If you haven’t suggested it to me, I haven’t seen it. Lol. I think this is the first and only.
Chris: Pontypool(Canada does count). The Audition. Under the Shadow. Martyrs. Haute Tension (High Tension). The Host. Let the Right One In. Ringu. I’m sure there are more that I am forgetting (I can’t even be mad about you bringing up Canada because you went with one of the most underrated horror flicks of all time in Pontypool. I love that film. It’s so good. It’s still on NetFlix I believe. Martyrs is fucking amazing too and I feel is must see for horror fans looking for something fresh. Just don’t watch the American remake. I would rather get punched in the balls once than to watch that awfulness again. They lost so much from the original and fucked the ending. Makes me mad. Haute Tension is a tad overrated in my opinion, but I own it and I don’t hate it, BUT I have gripes. I don’t think I have seen Under the Shadow or The Host, so something for me to check out.)
Teddy: Ju-ON 1&2 were amazing. I also love the REC series (hate the quarantine version though) (Alright, first of all, I liked Quarantine 1, but the sequels were shit. I struggle with somebody saying they liked Rec but not Quarantine because it was almost a shot for shot remake only in English. Maybe you got some gripes that I didn’t notice or can’t recall. With that being said, Rec 2 is really good and I liked the 4th one. Part 3 was the only one that I felt missed the mark. It’s a great franchise that I highly recommend as well.)
Kayleigh: I’ve seen Funny Games, which is set in Austria. It’s really more strange than scary. It’s about a home invasion. These two guys get in this nice family’s house under false pretenses, then pretty much take them out one by one after psychologically torturing them. It’s worth a watch. (It’s a solid movie that got remade 10 years later in America with Tim Roth and Naomi Watts. You can watch the American one and not miss anything as it’s a shot for shot remake and Naomi is fucking amazing and hot. It’s such a quirky movie, and I loved the breaking of the 4th wall. Good movie to bring up!)
Cece: i haven’t seen many, but I guess I could mention the ABC’s of Death films since they have many contributing directors. (Shit yeah you gotta mention those ABC’s of Death, both 1 & 2. They tried some interesting stuff. The first one is better, and not every letter is a winner, but you will have fun with some, and if you watch it with others, the same things you enjoy probably won’t be what they like.)
Kent: Marytyrs, Frontiere(s), Inside, Takashi Miike’s Imprint, Irreversible, A Serbian Film, Salo, Antichrist (maybe??), Ringu, The Eye, and a host of others that I have seen. I love me some French horror. Haute Tension (or High Tension) is also French I believe. I’m probably omitting about 20-30 other great ones. Oh, and Baskin (on Netflix). If you have Amazon Prime, check out Asylum. It’s a really solid British Anthology that was surprisingly rewarding. The Theatre Bizarre is worth a watch, I think.
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