Transcript of 70mm’s The Babadook (2014) Episode.
SLIM Heeey, it’s your old pal Slim and this is 70mm, a podcast for film lovers. Every Monday, I’m joined by dear friend and artist, Danny Haas.
DANNY Matt, please. They ski in all the movies Matt!
SLIM And our spiritual advisor, Protolexus.
PROTO I’m tempted to say things that are like, you know, like crazy. Like, is this my favorite Star Wars thing ever?
SLIM And together as friends forever, we discuss recently watched movies. Later in this very episode, we cover Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook. Horrifying metaphor or not scary at all? Let’s find out together…. right now.
[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]
SLIM Proto did something sick earlier today in Discord. I just want to call it out.
DANNY Excuse me?
SLIM You asked for suggestions for your pick that you will reveal at the end of this episode for your horror movie for the month of October. Have you settled on a movie yet?
PROTO I’m very close to settling on a movie. Yeah, I’m about 90% Sure.
DANNY You have about 50 minutes.
SLIM Is it between like two movies? Three movies? What’s it down to?
PROTO I’ve whittled it down to four. Yeah, so I’m close.
SLIM Wow. Okay. We sent out a link to the Masters of Horror Madness bracket, March Madness. Proto put this list together of movies for our patrons to vote on. Sweet 16. And that will be the movie for the final week of the month. And I think we’re down to a final four. I’m not sure if we’ve revealed this yet.
PROTO We have not but the voting is in on the top eight. We are down to a final four.
DANNY Oh my.
PROTO Should I give the numbers?
SLIM Cripes alive. Who lost the the hardest?
DANNY Who’s the biggest loser?
PROTO The biggest loser? Well, The Evil Dead is crushing all opponents.
PROTO The Evil Dead 77% over Dracula. So The Evil Dead will be in the top four. That was the biggest winner. The closest was winning at just 54%, Suspiria over Jennifer’s Body. Jennifer’s out.
SLIM That’s your dark horse pick right Proto? Is it safe to say Suspiria is one that you really want to see?
PROTO I would love to see Suspiria. Yeah and the other two movies that are is They Live with 59% over Poltergeist. And Danny’s pick at 55% is Psycho over Nightmare on Elm Street. So we have Psycho, They Live, The Evil Dead and Suspiria.
DANNY This is an amazing top four.
SLIM Is it They Live versus Suspiria in the top four?
PROTO No, it’s They Live versus Psycho.
SLIM Ohhhhh. Suspiria versus — oh my god.
DANNY Interesting. This is big.
PROTO Let me check VGER — is that right? [Slim & Danny laugh]
DANNY Check it, please.
SLIM Check the date.
PROTO Can always edit it later.
SLIM If you are missing out, you want to be in for the votes for the final movie of the month, you can join our Patreon. Link on 70mmpod.com. And you can have a piece of the pie, you can have your say. Golly. You know Danny wants to talk about Psycho. You know it. He’s probably gonna have like teaser art on his IG.
DANNY I’m gonna have so much art for that.
SLIM He’s gonna be like, “Oh god, just watched Psycho, needed to draw so and so.”
DANNY Mother inspired me.
SLIM Oh mama. If you wanted to join the Patreon, do so at the link I’m talking about. We have some new friends this week that joined. Matt, Cody, Steven, Brian and Ben all joined the Patreon this week. And we have a survey out there right now for patrons to ask kind of what folks are interested and potentially a new tier on our Patreon. So stay tuned.
SLIM We’re brainstorming with TAPEDECK legal, VHS Village board that consists of us three, Dale and Ian (Disgraced), if he ever gets his act together. And you get discounts on merch, get access to our Discord, access to the VHS Village vault, the 70mm vault. I think we got like 13 shows in there right now. Proto, did you watch any movies this week?
PROTO I did. I got to watch one movie. Our friends over at BAT & SPIDER, Chuck and Dale, they covered the movie called The Initiation which I wanted to watch as well in support. So I watched it over on Tubi TV, The Initiation from 1984 is pretty much a low rent slasher. Weapon of choice: the garden rake.
PROTO I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t know what it was. One of those like hand — just like the size of a knife and it’s got the three prongs.
SLIM Oh yeah.
PROTO Yeah, I don’t know what the technical term is for that.
SLIM I don’t think it has a name. Mini rake?
PROTO The mini hand rake?
SLIM Rake junior?
PROTO Yeah so the killer just going off with rake junior in this movie. [Danny & Slim laugh] Not a very good movie. I mean it’s pretty bad but in my review I said it’s one of those movies that it’s so bad that it like turns the corner to start being good. So it’s like fun enough to watch. I gave it two stars.
SLIM Oh man. Death sentence.
PROTO Yeah, has a great cover though. The cover is killer.
SLIM Yeah. You chose that one for BAT & SPIDER.
PROT I suggested it. I said hey, here’s here’s a movie that it’s in your wheelhouse and Dale, he picked it. Believe it.
SLIM You also have logged The Ninth Jedi from Star Wars Visions. If we can pull back the curtain real quick.
DANNY Pull it back.
SLIM When we were at our 70mm summit, just the three of us and a host of other friends. You were so chomping at the bit to do a Star Wars Visions 70mm episode.
PROTO oh yeah.
SLIM Can you walk us through your emotional state that weekend, watching those episodes over and over again?
PROTO Well imagine this. You know, we don’t see each other much in person and there isn’t — I mean we’re getting more and more Star Wars content but, you know, it’s not like his stuff is released every single week. And here we are, we get together and the day that we get together for a couple days they release this whole Star Wars Visions content on Disney plus for us to all watch together for the first time. I mean, chilling. A chilling development. And if I may be frank.
PROTO I love Visions. And some of the content in here and this episode, The Ninth Jedi, yeah, I’m tempted to say things that are, you know, crazy.
SLIM Just see how it feels. Just let it out.
DANNY Put it out there.
PROTO Like is this my favorite Star Wars thing ever? Of anything?
DANNY Oh mama miaaaa.
PROTO Is it that good? Is it the best? Is it better than any of the movies? Is this a storyline I’ve been waiting for? Is this what I needed?
SLIM Are you talking about Visions or this episode? I haven’t even seen this episode yet.
PROTO I’m talking about The Ninth Jedi.
DANNY You haven’t watched it? We watched it like six times!
DANNY Where were you?!
SLIM I don’t know what my state was when this episode was being consumed but I do not have any recollection of it. [Danny & Slim laugh]
PROTO We definitely played it like three times.
SLIM What happens in this one?
DANNY Proto and I would look at each other and be like, “You wanna watch it again?” [Danny & Proto laugh]
SLIM I think I remember that moment. I was in another realm but I’m excited to watch this. I agree. The Star Wars Visions stuff, the twins one. The twins thing is probably my favorite thing that Star Wars has done in the last 10 years. Like give me a movie, give me a series, give me a comic book. Give me something with the twins. Please! Don’t make me wait another 10 years!
PROTO The storylines that they begin in these. There’s such like a tease because there’s so much there. Of course we’re in the Star Wars universe. But they they’re there they’re given amazing leeway to kind of do whatever they want you know in these little vignettes and they just kind of take the Star Wars universe and tell these unique incredible stories and mix them with you know different elements of you know Japanese culture and you know, Samurai and in such cool ways that I love that though. I mean, Ninth Jedi is my favorite, but I love most of them. I think they’re amazing.
SLIM Gosh. Danny, what do you think about The Ninth Jedi?
DANNY It’s easily one of the best ones that they put out, I think. At least story wise. There’s a couple bits of it that I wasn’t like vibing with the animation of it, but I looove the Ninth Jedi story. It’s fantastic. Like it’s a really cool story. For me, I mean right there with twins, the duel was amazing. And the bride, the bride one was really cool too. I think Proto said that was given him Princess Mononoke vibes, like they really leaned into like the Ghibli kind of universe. They’re just fun. It’s really cool way to put out new content. I really hope — part of me wants them to do like Visions Season Two and it’s just kind of like the second episode continuing the stories. Or another kind of vignette inside of this universe that they’re building.
SLIM Maybe half of them be part twos and then half new new ones. You know, it’s just like do it every year or something. And some continue, maybe some standalone.
DANNY I’m all for that.
SLIM The one thing I’ve said historically several times. I’m not sure if I’ve said on the show.
DANNY We’re listening.
SLIM But all Lucasfilm needs to do is give us a Luke anything. Animated Luke searching the universe for Jedi artifacts. I don’t care if it’s live action. Cast Sebastian Stan, give me a million dollars. Your loot for the next 10 years my friend. Like Mando ends and they start a Luke series? Stop it right now.
PROTO Mhm. Mhm.
DANNY I am right there with you. I would love your Luke series.
SLIM Give us a beard. Marcie says “Isn’t Luke going to be in the Obi show?”
SLIM I don’t think so. Was Luke even born during the timeframe?
DANNY Oh you’re talking like a kid kid Luke. That’s a possibility.
SLIM Do we want whiny Luke?
DANNY I don’t think it gets close enough to — I mean they show up really quick and the animated stuff but I don’t think Obi’s at that age yet in the live action we’re getting for Luke to be in it.
PROTO Can we get Vader without the mask. Are you kidding?
SLIM Oh my god! If they — ah, we gotta move on.
DANNY But also I kinda hope we get some flashbacks as Hayden as Anakin too. Just a little bits, you know?
PROTO Taste us.
SLIM My god. Danny, did you watch any movies this week?
DANNY We have a movie coming up that has been plagued by the pandemic. The new Bond movie’s out this week. One of us has tickets to it to see it. So I thought I’d jump after watching The Babadook back on the Bond train. I wanted to watch all the bonds before this new movie came out and come to find out these movies suck. I’m not sure what happened. And I couldn’t continue watching all these films. So I watched — I can’t remember this Roger Moore movie that I watched. Hold on, let me get back to my Letterboxd. For Your Eyes Only. 1981.
SLIM [sings] For your eyes onlyyyy.
DANNY Holy cow, it’s garbage. And you’re stronger than me, Slim. I’m saying it right now. I don’t know how you kept going with these films. I don’t know if I can’t keep going. I want to skip all these. Watch GoldenEye. Skip the rest of Brosnan and then watch Casino Royale and then skip all of Daniel Craig’s and then watch this new one. I mean, it’s fascinating.
PROTO Danny order.
DANNY This is my machete. Someone put it up there. I mean, Roger Moore’s horrible. He’s just horrible.
SLIM Yeah, I can’t remember who I was talking to. I might have been Matthew, the podcast godfather. I was talking about the Bond franchise that like my average of these movies has got to be like, miniscule.
DANNY Two stars.
PROTO I was looking at your your reviews. It’s insane. Yeah it’s like an average of two stars. There’s a few one stars in there too.
SLIM But I actually funnily enough I saw Danny’s review and first of all I was stunned that he went and watch this. Second of all I was even more stunned that I gave this three and a half stars. I had a lot of fun with this.
DANNY You gave this three and a half?!
SLIM Yes! [Slim laughs]
DANNY How is that possible?
SLIM I said, quote “Now we’re freaking talking. All of the jokes were exquisitely edited finally and landed well.
DANNY In For Your Eyes Only?! The action?!
SLIM This is the snow one right? Doesn’t he like jet ski down a mountain and skis?
DANNY Matt, please. They ski in all the movies Matt!
SLIM I know. But this one.
PROTO He was in a dark place.
SLIM Maybe that’s true. I was about to say. You watch these Bonds, you get even a shred of entertainment in one of those movies. You’re a back up to four stars. [Danny & Proto laugh] Instantly. I don’t know if the Dalton one is actually great, but man I had a hell of a time after watching the filth of these other ones.
DANNY I don’t know if I can do it. I mean know I can’t finish before Friday obviously. I don’t know if I can keep going. I’m just gonna have to remember what Spectre was about and then just watch this No Time To Die.
SLIM Remember — another note of our vacation. We tried watching Spectre.
DANNY We couldn’t watch Spectre. It’s so bad!
SLIM I think I was yelling at the TV too much.
PROTO Yeah, you were upset.
SLIM I was pissed.
DANNY Oh man. Someone in chat said something about Skyfall. I did like Skyfall.
SLIM Skyfall was good.
DANNY I love a lot of it. It’s no Casino Royale.
SLIM No. But what is?
SLIM GoldenEye was good. Real quick, before we get into The Babadook, we do have to call out the winner of our weekly Letterboxd Pro. Letterboxd is where we all poke fun at each other see what the ratings are for movies we watch every week. So it’s a lot of fun. Members of the VHS Village are on there as well. So we follow each other we see what everyone’s saying about popular movies, maybe old school ones. We all crap our pants and we see a For Your Eyes Only review coming in on this week. And if you want to get rid of ads and have some bonus features on Letterboxd, you can get Letterboxd Pro or Patron. And this week’s winner of Letterboxd Pro is Bradley Felding on Twitter. Free year of Letterboxd Pro.
PROTO Congrats, Brad.
SLIM Half star for for Your Eyes Only. What other movies has Danny given a half star?
SLIM Can someone crunch the numbers on that real quick? You gave Endgame a half star?!
DANNY I’m sorry that’s a troll. I didn’t do that.
SLIM I fell into the fog on that one. [Danny laughs]
DANNY You tripped hard on that fog.
SLIM If you want to upgrade to Letterboxd Pro or Patron status anyway and support Letterboxd, you can do so at 20% off using the link on 70mmpod.com. So I went with my dear boy — gifting coming in as a built in feature this week Matthew says in chat. Ohhh! Okay.
DANNY That’s a great feature.
SLIM My goodness gracious. Imagine a Christmas gift? Getting gifted Letterboxd Pro or Patron status. Geeze Louise. I took my dear son, he has been asking to see Venom 2.
DANNY Oh no.
SLIM Let There be Carnage. He was seeing the YouTube videos. And then we told him we were going camping that weekend it came out and he was pissed. He’s like “I could be seeing Venom 2 right now.” So we rushed home Sunday. I was like don’t worry, son, we’ll get you to Venom 2 as soon as we get home. And I thought it was crap, Venom 2. Which is maybe an assumption because I didn’t like the first one that much. After the movie, I asked him what he thought about it, he’s like five stars. And he was gobsmacked when I told him I didn’t like it that much. I gave it two stars. I don’t know what’s going on in these movies. Tom Hardy — is Tom Hardy a terrible actor?
DANNY Ask the questions, Slim. You gotta ask the questions.
SLIM Can we safely ask this question?
DANNY You can ask it. You will get answers.
SLIM Do you have any thoughts on that?
PROTO Answers are coming in hot right now.
SLIM I will say that the post credit scene was pretty cool. This is probably a first post credit scene that I thought was like okay, okay, I’m back. So that’s all I’ll say for that.
PROTO I guess I’ll be googling that later. [Slim laughs]
DANNY Yeah thanks Slim.
SLIM Should we get into the prime topic of the episode? We’re covering horror movies all month of October. Danny chose The Blair Witch Project last week. Proto will reveal his pick later in the show. And my pick was The Babadook. And I went back to my Letterboxd review from 2015. And I called this “the best horror movie I’ve ever seen.” 2015, you know? Will if hold up? Is that true? Proto, what’s The Babadook?
PROTO After the tragic death of her husband on the day of their son’s birth, Amelia has not recovered. Seven years later, her son Sam has trouble at school, and he has trouble at home as he is unable to sleep and sees a monster at night. One night, they read a book, Mr. Babadook. It is the story of a monstrous creature that will not leave you once you let it in. Soon, inexplicable events begin to occur that Amelia can only rationalize by blaming Sam. The nightmares encroach more and more upon their lives until Amelia cannot tell what is real and what is the Babadook. As their life comes crashing down around them, Amelia and Sam must figure out how to cope with the surrounding darkness because after all, you cannot get rid of the Babadook.
SLIM Three and a half star average on VGER right now among our supporters.
SLIM Yeah. Blair Witch also had three and a half stars.
PROTO I feel like the reviews are all over the place for this movie from patrons. I couldn’t believe it.
SLIM Very divisive.
PROTO Yeah, a lot of two stars a lot of four stars and five stars. It just seemed like every rating that came in was different. There was no real consensus.
SLIM We should call out, there was a watch party in our Discord for The Babadook. The same night I watched it. Bunch of reviews.
DANNY Did they invite you?
SLIM I didn’t get an invite. It would have been nice. Maybe I got a heads up to hang out with some friends. But that’s cool. So if you need some friends to do watch parties like The Babadook with, you don’t have your movie friends, your movie friends are waiting for you in our Discord. So join up. Danny, what was your experience with the Babadook, the first time you saw this? Do you remember?
DANNY So like a couple years ago, I’ve said a couple times on the podcast, I finally decided to get into horror movies. They weren’t ever my thing. I don’t really I wasn’t really vibing with them, then I think I was just afraid to be scared, I think, I don’t know. So when I started watching, I went straight into modern, more modern horror movies. I watched Hereditary and Midsommar. And The Babadook was up there because I think you had told me about it. And of course, I read your Letterboxd review and I’m like, well, I kind of have to see this if I’m dipping my toes into more modern horror movies. So I mean, my Letterboxd review two years ago was “I’m unsettled and I never want to watch this film again.” And so here we are. Watching it again and talking about it on a podcast. [Slim & Danny laugh] But yeah, that was my first, that was one of the first horror movies I watched getting into the genre.
SLIM Mmm. Proto, do you remember?
PROTO I don’t remember — I vaguely remember this coming out. But, you know, I was always a big trailer guy, but not really, you know, horror trailer.
SLIM Big trailer guy.
PROTO Didn’t want to really watch horror trailer, so I don’t think I really knew much about this you know, beforehand, other than you, I knew that you loved it. But outside of that, I hadn’t really heard much about it. Like I don’t think many people talk about it. I don’t think it’s like on like, Best Of lists much.
SLIM I don’t think it’s aged as well. I feel like other horror movie — like people do compare it to Hereditary. I don’t see them as similar movies really at all. And we’ll get into this later, but like, I don’t know if, like calling The Babadook a horror movie is like different in a way that Climax is like a horror movie. Sort of. Like it deals with things in a different way. It’s not like, I don’t think it’s like a scary movie. But I think it’s horrifying. It’s hard to explain. But I think other movies have come out since The Babadook that have like, pushed it down the list. Like A24 or whatever. Like all those kind of — The VVitch — has probably replaced it in a way.
PROTO Well, I think that horror movies they they give so there’s some Little cues that movies give at the horror movies that give you to give you a sense of what to expect. And I feel like this movie gives you those cues of like, oh, you know, here’s a door opening, oh, but then it’s not anything and it’s kind of telling you that like, oh it’s happening now but it’s gonna happen again, it’s gonna scare you at that point. But it doesn’t really actually, that point never comes but I feel like it plants the seeds in your mind so it creates that tension that you should be expecting like these normal horror movie tropes of being scared at these points but it doesn’t always fulfill them in the same way. At least that was my experience watching this, because I think you’re right. Like I don’t know if it is scary necessarily. But I yeah, I like that saying, it’s not scary but it’s horrifying.
SLIM There are some reviews coming in from the Discord, you know, some of the two stars and a low ratings. Said like, not very scary. Like I didn’t wasn’t scared that much. And for my viewings of The Babadook, the scariest things are the mother dealing with a child that she like, can’t handle because of her mental state. Like this son, just you know, everyone kind of called out, you know, how annoying is that son? Most annoying son and movies. But like, so when I first saw this movie, the thing that jumped out at me was like postpartum depression and dealing with mental health and depression and dealing with a child that you’re like, not capable of handling. And that stuff is like really scary in my opinion. Like anytime this kid was like really annoying, if you’re not like capable of handling that as a parent, that could just be the end. You know, so like all those scenes I was like holy shit, is she gonna lose her mind and like kill him and herself? So that’s like my first thought every time I see this movie.
DANNY At this point, it’s like he’s coming up on a seventh birthday. And her not dealing with the grief and loss of her husband made her incapable of loving her son for the past seven years. So he’s like this because he has never been loved by his mother to the fullest. That any mom that hasn’t had to deal with that kind of loss has dealt with. I mean, it’s horrifying that it opens with their car crash. And then you see this decapitation of her husband at the end. Like it’s insane knowing what she watched on the day she gave birth to the son. I mean even the idea of in-utero kind of trauma that this kid went through before even being born and so of course he’s gonna have issues and anything in psychological issues and all this kind of stuff. She’s gone through so much and has never dealt with it.
SLIM Right? Yeah. Yeah, like the the main the horror stuff — like there’s some really smart editing in the movie in my opinion. Like where, there’s like these crazy audio cues and then she cuts it back, Jennifer Kent, she directed this and wrote it. And it was just a different take on horror, I think probably that I had seen — that I hadn’t seen until this movie came out, where like Proto said, it just takes a different angle than what you’d expect of kind of like an artsy horror. I don’t know if it was Tony who called this ‘prestige horror’, like what The VVitch was like and It Follows. The other two I just didn’t really like that much. Proto, what’s on your list for The Babadook?
PROTO Well, my first note is that the hair of the mom and son, they have like very messy hair in the beginning of this movie. [Danny & Slim laugh] They need to get a brush in there or something. But yeah, I love the depiction of just, of just really like a woman at her wit’s end in this and that kind of does speak of what you guys were saying. You know, that people are saying like, the kid is annoying, or whatever, but he’s also like, incredibly tender with his mother and you can tell that he is just desperate to be loved. And there’s moments where he wants to be loved and like, you know, like, I have that with my kids too where it’s like, you feel like your kid is trying to drive you crazy with the things that they’re asking for right now. And you think they’re like malicious in their intent. But then they also will like turn around and just, you know, just want you to hug and they’ll start you know, like weeping and just be like, I just want a hug, you know? And that’s what I see in this kid, is like the same thing where he’s like desperate for his mother’s love or some kind of affection, some kind of human interaction, it’s clear that they have no one in their lives. You know, he has this cousin that he can’t connect with. Everyone thinks he’s weird. He has no friends at school. All he has is his mom. And every time probably his mom looks at him, she is just flashed with the death of her husband. So this kid is really on an island. But amazingly, you know, as a human he’s still capable of seeking out love in this way. And I think that depiction is, is really great in this.
DANNY The car scene with the sun when they’re driving back, when he starts freaking out, that’s been the meme for a while. “Why can’t you just be normal?”
[clip of The Babadook plays]
SAMUEL Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!
AMELIA Why can’t you just be normal!
SAMUEL [screams] Get out! Mummy!
[clip of The Babadook fades out]
DANNY The performance that the kid pulls off is like, it’s terrifying. Like it is like it goes from like, annoying to he’s having a seizure. And I almost have to look away cuz it’s so it feels so real. Like, whatever he’s like, the hands and his eyes rolling back, and he’s on the backseat. And it’s like, I’m looking at a nightmare scenario as a parent. And so like, it’s really like, that scene comes up. I’m like, haha, it’s the meme then like, oh, the meme doesn’t continue because no one wants to see this. Like this the next scene after “Why can’t you be normal?” Is him having a seizure in the backseat of the car. And it’s, it’s so rough, and like he’s seeing the Babadook. And she can’t see it yet because she hasn’t let it in yet. And it’s just, it’s terrifying. Like, like you said, it’s not scary. It’s just hard to watch. It’s hard to watch this. Casey and I talked about how kids in horror movies, how did they go on after filming this? And like, be normal? Like you know how like actors will get into like, mode and be in a scene and be into it. So they can be super emotional. Like how do you get a kid like this to be the way is in this film, and still be a normal kid afterwards. And I was watching an interview with Jennifer Kent and the scene where the mom levitates across the room and she’s yelling at him about wishing he was dead. And the thing she said to him, like that scene. She’s not performing to him. And the kids not there. Like I didn’t even realize like I’m like, oh yeah, no shit. Like, there’s no way that kids in that room. And she was telling how they get his reaction. And they just said normal things like “We’re gonna take away your Legos” and stuff like that, like stuff that he’ll understand or react to. And it’s just like, oh, this makes sense on how they can make this film and also take care of this kid because there’s so much between him and his mom. That is just heavy, heavy stuff.
SLIM You had the scene where she’s lying in bed — like the whole movie, you know, she’s just trying to sleep, like I just need some sleep.
[clip of The Babadook plays]
SAMUEL I took the pills, but I feel sick again. I need to eat something. I couldn’t find any food in the fridge. You said to have them with food. I’m really hungry, mum.
AMELIA Why do you have to keep talk, talk, talking? Don’t you ever stop? I need to sleep!
SAMUEL I’m sorry mummy. I was just really hungry.
AMELIA If you’re that hungry, why don’t you go and eat shit?!
[clip of The Babadook ends]
SLIM And it’s just a shot of trying to relax. And you can just feel her breathing and he just stop asking for the food. [Danny laughs] Oh my god. That is legit.
DANNY If that when she tells him to eat shit or something?
SLIM Yeah, why don’t you go eat shit is what I think she yells. [Danny & Slim laugh] Like, oh my god.
DANNY Oh gosh.
SLIM I mean, it starts out with him on that swing where she’s trying to talk to her friend. You know, and you just feel like that sense of dread start to build. And there’s that scene where she finally flips out to her friend’s friends, like she doesn’t really have a group of friends, but like they’re all complaining about how hard how hard life is, and how they can’t find time to go to the gym. You know, meanwhile, she can barely contain her existence.
DANNY Oh my gosh, what scene.
SLIM At this point with her depression. And she loses it. What a great scene.
DANNY That’s her sister though, right?
SLIM Oh, yeah.
DANNY When she’s like, it’s been seven years, get over it or something. I’m like, come off it. Please. Where have you been for seven years with your sister? [Slim laughs]
SLIM Proto, what else you got?
PROTO Oh, I wanted to go back to the scene in the car. So when he has the seizure, is that scene supposed to be a that he’s having the same experience that she has at the end of the movie where he’s expelling the Babadook in the same way that she did? Because that’s kind of how I took it, that he is, you know, getting rid of it in the same way. Because he before that he was kind of like doing things like violent things in the same way that she does at the end. Is that how you guys took it?
SLIM I don’t — my viewing of The Babadook film, I don’t take like any of the Babadook character literally, like my entire viewing of the film is the Babadook is her depression and how it impacts her like, the end of the like the his quote at the end of the movie is, you remember when she’s like sick. And he comes over has this amazing scene where he’s like, I know you don’t love me.
[clip of The Babadook plays]
SAMUEL The Babadook won’t let you. But I love you, mum. And I always will.
[clip of The Babadook ends]
SLIM Like that entire thing is her unwilling to accept that she needs help, and that she won’t let the depression kind of like, take over for a little bit and then sit back. So like the entire scene with the Babadook in the basement is her accepting the fact that she’ll never get rid of the depression. But if she can handle it and keep it at bay, and kind of come in waves, she can then handle it. So like the Babadook stuff, and like the horror scenes in these in this movie, I don’t think are that scary. It’s just like a physical representation of like, in my view, postpartum depression and depression in general for her.
DANNY Yeah, I felt you know, it’s funny, because when I watched it the first time, I was just in horror, movie mode, like I’m watching the Boogeyman torture this family, and then the end happens where she’s locked the Babadook into the basement of their house, and continuing to feed it and live with it. And it wasn’t until then then it kind of like snapped that the Babadook was just this metaphor for grief that she and trauma that she had not dealt with. And the grief is going nowhere. Like, it’s always gonna be there. She’s just managing it now. And learning how to live with it. And once that kind of clicked, the second viewing of it, I watched it with that knowledge of the babadook is real, grief is real. But it’s being experienced, specifically by this family. And we’re watching them deal with that kind of trauma. And it just made this movie way different when you watch it from that kind of perspective.
SLIM Yeah, that’s why I personally connect with this movie so much. And like so what I totally understand the low ratings for this. Like I get where people like, it’s not scary. It’s not for me, like the kid is annoying. And I’ve talked about, like depression on my previous podcast I do with my wife on Faves, where we talked about parenthood and her struggle with postpartum depression, which is kind of like a taboo topic, but it shouldn’t be. Where like, I feel like people should be comfortable talking about that stuff. Because you could end up like her and be in a really bad place where you don’t get help, like your sister tells you to get over it. And you don’t know that it’s okay to ask for help. So that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to talk about this movie because I feel like it’s very powerful in that way. And that’s why I love Jennifer Kent, like there’s no other movie like this that would just be so metaphorical in explaining the kind of trauma that can happen to someone that can’t control it or needs help. So that is why I connect with this movie so much, like the real suffering, the real horror in this movie is like human suffering. So like when I first saw this movie, I was like, god damn, I never felt a movie like this that was able to convey, you know, depression so well. So it’s kind of a weird, it’s like weird to say that this is like the best horror movie I’ve ever seen, where it’s just the way that it It empathizes with like a real human struggle and it’s billed as a horror movie, so that’s why I hope kind of people can see it in a different way and see how we it can be a struggle for people sometimes.
PROTO Yeah I mean it’s weird cuz it’s a movie that like you know it’s like oh, a horror movie but it’s like in a completely different ballpark than say something like Paranormal Activity that may be just trying to scare the bejesus out of you as you watch it whereas this is it’s actually it’s doing something completely different. So it really, it’s kind of like what you were saying, like a prestigious horror, I like that term where it’s in a different different category.
SLIM I want the scenes where she goes to sleep and it just like fast boards like she never got the rest.
DANNY Mhm. Stressful.
SLIM Ugh. I felt sick.
PROTO There was that but then there was also the scenes of her above the bed with a smile on her face like slowly descending down onto the bed. Where it’s like sleep is like her only escape, like her only respite from this world that she’s living in. And sometimes it gives her what she needs but then a lot of the times it doesn’t. I actually read a review on Letterboxd where someone was theorizing that this it’s about depression but it’s also about drug addiction as well and, they’re saying that there’s a lot of cues in the movie that she she has a drug addiction like her eyes get dilated, she stays up all night watching TV, there was a few other things and I thought that was an interesting read. Also like when her son gets, when she finally gets the prescription from the doctor for it and she has like a real like sigh of relief that that like she now has a drug that to calm her son. And then she has a lot of paranoia. I thought that was an interesting read on the movie and I think I could see that as well I feel like I’d have to watch it again and that would kind of give me like different insight. But I think this movie it has enough range where it could be about many different things.
SLIM Yeah, Meg said she read that review too and that’s him tying her up was her withdrawals from the drug.
DANNY Let’s pivot for a second and talk about how good Essie Davis says in this film. Like her performance isn’t is like believable and part of the reason I find this movie so unsettling is because of how good she is. I mean it also chalks up to how good Jennifer Kent is, her eye for this film. There are so many shots of just blown out with light there’s a shot where she’s like screaming and her face is just pure white just the terror and like the her strangling the kid in the in while she’s tied up in the basement, there’s just her performances from just trying to cope and public to what’s going on behind the doors like just the two different personalities that you kind of see of her. I don’t understand why this performance isn’t talked about like a Sigourney Weaver Ripley kind of character like this is like a performance that like I wish people would watch just because it’s so good, she’s incredible in this film.
SLIM I just searched her Letterboxd. She’s in Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions?
DANNY She’s coming up baby. In the next two.
SLIM Oh my gosh! Essie month. [Danny & Slim laugh] Let’s see, what else do I have on my list. There’s talk of the dog. The poor dog in this movie. Horrific stuff. I mean someone said the book kind of told you what was going to happen in the movie. I remember when I first saw this, Meg my sister, if you’re listening, love you Meg. I think she tried to track down that OG book.
DANNY Oh it’s a real book?
SLIM Or they made, you know, like A24 makes those things. I think they put out a version of the book that was like the legit thick bound Mr. Babadook. Not sure if it’s readily available now but man can imagine having that book in your house?
DANNY No. [Slim laughs]
PROTO Imagine stumbling across that in somebody’s house?
SLIM My god. I’d probably come downstairs my son’s like, trying to hide it or throw it out in the garbage. Um, let’s see the dog scene was brutal. I think Kev pointed out in chat. The audio in general, the audio of the film, the sound design. Amazing. You know? Did you watch this with your new soundbar, Proto?
PROTO I did. Yeah, I did.
SLIM We didn’t talk about your soundbar. The Official 70mm Soundbar.
PROTO Yeah, my sweet brother in law and sister gifted me a soundbar as an early birthday gift and they stay with me over the summer so it was a nice gift they got me out of the blue, and I hooked that bad boy up and it feels great. And I had an I’m I don’t know if I have to you know, give the credit to the soundbar, but I had experienced with this movie that I can’t really think of another movie that I’ve had this much — there was like three different occasions where I had like full body chills watching this.
SLIM Excuse me?
PROTO And I don’t even know what it was. It wasn’t like I was scared. It was just, maybe it was like I was just, like, unsettled by what I was viewing. And I can’t remember all of them. But the one that got me was when she’s watching TV and there’s like that news report of the mother who kills her son and then you see the woman in the window and it’s her there was something about that and like the sound of it and just the way that it was presented that I just like, just chills up my spine watching this and I can’t think of another movie that, I mean let alone once but doing it more than one time. So that was just like — I was like what is happening to be while I’m watching this?
SLIM Oh my god Megan posted the screencap. Yeah grin at the end of that zoom in. No, thank you. Unsettling. Danny, what else is on your list for Babadook?
DANNY All of my other notes are just one word like descriptions of the things that are scary as hell. Like the Babadook himself is a terrifying figure. Him on the ceiling. Like you know what, I’ll when you see his face, quickly jumped down from the ceiling at her. It’s kind of silly. Like I would prefer just to have never seen his face. But the fingers and the shape of him and the sound on the phone when he calls and says “Babadook, dook, dook” and screams and there’s just, like it brings you back around like you’re watching a horror movie. Like you’re watching something meant to be scary. And it was — I just can’t get over it. And honestly, I can’t get over whatever they did to chop off the husband’s head. Like that gets me — it’s so gross, because it feels so real. I don’t understand it. Like I had to go back and watch it again. But there’s just so, I like the elements of horror that’s in this that kind of keep you on your seat.
SLIM Yeah, totally agree.
DANNY Her vomiting the blackness, it’s not blood, but it’s whatever. It’s disgusting. I don’t like that.
SLIM Yeah, I think we covered this. It was at the social workers that came to the house. Like or the people from the school I mean, that couldn’t have gone over any worse. Just a mess. And her kind of like explaining why her house is a mess. And how he says like, I’m still so sleepy from the drugs you gave me. Like when he tells that to them. Goodness gracious. My other scene that I didn’t talk about was after she feeds the Babadook, you know, quote unquote, “feeds” the Babadook in the basement. He asked her like how it was.
[clip of The Babadook plays]
SAMUEL How was it?
AMELIA Quiet today.
[clip of The Babadook ends]
SLIM Anyone that has like experienced depression or shame or anything that like they needed help with, that reaction and that description is so visceral and so real. That like a lot of the times where this happens to you, you have to let it take over for a bit, like you have to let the Babadook come and and do its thing for a period of time and then you let it pass. And I thought that communion, that conversation between the two was just unbelievable. For anyone that has gone through that kind of thing. It’s just very powerful. So I commend Jennifer Kent for this movie. I can’t believe it got made.I think it was maybe based on a short instead and eventually became a full feature but yeah, she became instantly one of my favorite directors after this movie for sure.
DANNY Have you watched The Nightingale her other movie?
SLIM I have. I have. I was super amped to watch The Nightingale. It is a depressing watch in a different way than this is. There’s a lot of sexual assault in it. There’s a lot of violence, it’s a really hard watch. Very brutal and difficult watch so I would not go in without being very sure that you want to sit through that.
DANNY There’s a, what I watched when I was talking about Jennifer Kent, there’s a great little12 minute Vanity Fair interview with her and she’s talking about filming both the Babadook and Nightingale and just kind of like the differences that approaches she took and she references Come and See when she’s talking about The Nightingale and how she chose — cuz it’s a war movie she said. She said The Nightingale’s a war movie and so she was pulling a lot of inspiration from Come and See which it’s really funny because she has a screen next to her while she’s talking about Come and See and she just kind of stops and just keeps watching the movie. She said she could watch this movie all day. [Danny & Slim laugh] It’s just, it’s really crazy.
SLIM Isn’t Come and See like four hours or something crazy?
PROTO Yeah, I watched it last year and it’s around two hours.
SLIM Closing thoughts? Anything we missed Proto, for Babadook?
PROTO The other thing I thought was cool was just the house, the color scheme of the house, this blue color shades of blue throughout the whole house. It felt almost to me like a like stage set and the way that it was lit. You know, it was mentioned earlier the lighting and this was just so interesting. I don’t really know how to talk about it. But it just felt unique and just directed in a particular way and I think it just added to the whole experience. Some of this movie created you know a feeling like I said earlier that I haven’t had. And so I like the way this story is told. I thought it was great writing. Like you were saying earlier Slim, I liked the ending. I liked that it wasn’t just like throwing it out like, oh the Babadook’s dead. We won. But it stuck to the metaphor and it was that much more powerful. Watching it though, I just don’t necessarily enjoy watching this kind of movie. I think the whole time I was waiting for it to be over almost. I got similar vibes like why from when I watched Hereditary. It was like, when is this going to be over so I don’t have watching this anymore.
DANNY Completely agree.
PROTO There is like so much that’s great about this in terms of performances, the writing and just the directing. So I give it three stars. [Slim & Danny laugh]
SLIM Three stars is good. Three stars is fine. Everyone’s seen the merch on VHSVillage.com. That’s why it’s there. Historical precedent. Danny what’s your final thoughts for The Babadook and rating?
DANNY My rating on Letterboxd right now is four and a half stars. That was my first viewing. Second viewing, having more knowledge about this film. I just — it’s great. It really is great. I can’t get over how good Essie is in this film. And I feel like she deserves five stars. So I’m going to give this — I’m gonna up my rating for Essie, five stars.
SLIM Wooww. Five stars just for the hair. I mean, oh my god, the hair alone. Did you drop the art yet? I forgot to talk about the art! Drop the art. I mean, Harry Potter and Babadook in the same night.
DANNY God, I don’t even wanna look at this. [Slim laughs] Creepy as hell.
SLIM I mean, look at that! In the artwork channel right now. Is this a joke? [Danny laughs] God damn! Oh my god.
PROTO I love seeing his suit in the police office. [Danny laughs]
DANNY Ohhhh god.
PROTO That was creepy as hell. Holy crap.
SLIM Yeah, yeah, Sean that’s pretty much what I said. So yeah, so everyone knows my thoughts, it’s still five stars for this. I think it’s a very important movie. I think it’s incredibly done. And the message inside of it is is a very important one. So I hope you will give it a shot and try to see it from a different way. That’s The Babadook. We’re almost done. We got two more movies this month. And Proto’s about to reveal his pic in just mere moments.
DANNY Has he decided? It’s time.
SLIM The big reveal. I don’t think we have any — let’s see. Let me double check. Yeah, no VMs, no letters. People just want to hear the top four choices that Proto has collated for your pick next week for October. You ready?
PROTO Yeah so I mean this, you know when I first had to come to a decision. My go to, the movie that I was feeling, it felt right, was this movie Pulse that we had talked about, the director Kurosawa. I was like let’s do something foreign, something different, I’d never seen any of his movies but they’re all highly praised, he also did this movie Cure. But then you know, I mean doing Blair Witch and then also doing this. I was like, maybe we need some levity in here. You know, maybe we can’t go this hard. So then I was thinking what about An American Werewolf in London?
DANNY Ohhh, I’ve never seen it.
SLIM Fudge me.
PROTO You know? I was thinking maybe that’s the pick. But then I was like am I just picking this movie — kike why am I even picking this movie? Am I just picking it because I’m trying to steer the boat? Steer the Village a particular way? Can I just like pick a movie? And I said maybe we need just a classic, something I haven’t seen. Maybe we need to pick Hellraiser. You know?
SLIM Excuse me?
PROTO I was like, I read Dale’s review. Dale has an amazing review. He’s talking about the horniness of this movie. I was like Halloween, horniness, horror. Is this is what we need right now?
DANNY Dale’s nodding right now.
SLIM Do we need the horniness? [Slim laughs]
PROTO But ultimately, I need to make a pick for me, what I want to watch right now, and what I want to watch right now — I am going to go with An American Werewolf in London.
SLIM Oh my gosh.
PROTO I feel like this would be a fun movie. It’s got a lot of good ratings from the Village. So I’m excited.
DANNY I’ve never seen it. Have you seen it Matt?
SLIM Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
SLIM Wait. An American Werewolf in Paris. Or what did you say?
PROTO In London.
SLIM Okay, okay, okay. American Werewolf in London. I’m just seeing real quick if this is streaming anywhere before I respond.
SLIM Is it on Peacock? [Slim laughs]
DANNY Ohhh baby Peacock.
SLIM America’s network. Peacock USA. [Danny & Slim laugh] Or it’s a rental. I have seen American Werewolf in London. This is a very fun movie. The dummy work in this movie. You ain’t ready. You ain’t ready. [Slim & Proto laugh]
DANNY The dummy work? Okay.
SLIM I’m excited to rewatch this. This could be, I don’t want to tease out my opinion. But my rating is out there, I haven’t hidden it. This could be a yearly Halloween movie.
SLIM Yearly horror pick. We’ll see. We’ll see.
SLIM First of all, great pick. What’s the Final Four again for voting for the Masters of Horror Halloweenies month?
PROTO Top four is Psycho, They Live, The Evil Dead and Suspiria. So we’re gonna get one of those too.
SLIM Geeze Louise.
PROTO That’ll be announced next week, the winner.
SLIM What an app. We did it. The Babadook. We have three episodes down. Danny’s gonna be in New York Comic Con. Actually, New York Comic Con will be over by the time this episode airs. So I hope everyone came up to Danny. Thank you so much for going up to him. Saying hello, buying some art from Danny. And not getting within six feet. You did it. You did the deed. Proto, any final thoughts for this week as we venture in for An American Werewolf in London?
PROTO No… no final thoughts. [Slim & Danny laugh]
SLIM We’ll see everybody next week. And don’t forget Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is available on our Patreon right now just for supporters. We’ll see everyone next week.
[70mm theme song ramps up, plays alone, fades out]
SLIM 70mm is a TAPEDECK production with original artwork provided by Danny Haas. Spiritual guidance and VGER, the robot who loves movies created by Protolexus. Producer emeritus Dale_a. Transcript provided by Sophie Shin. Prints and other merch are available on 70mmpod.com. This episode was mixed, edited and produced by me, Slim. Support our Patreon for access to the VHS Village Discord to talk movies with new friends, access to exclusive episodes, discounts on merch, and a physical membership card mailed to you. To check out other TAPEDECK podcasts, find the link in the episode notes. And if you’d like to support our friends at Letterboxd and upgrade to Pro or Patron status, you can do so with a 20% off discount using the links at 70mmpod.com. Goodbye!