THIRD YEAR ANNIVERSARY RAZZAMATAZZ!!!

7 Feb

GET OUT YOUR CARTOONISHLY LARGE SCARVES AND HOT GAY SEX, BECAUSE IT’S TIME FOR OUR THIRD YEAR ANNIVERSARY- oh my god, I’ve been doing this for three years? 

So, yeah! It’s been a busy year, what with my 1000th post, finally producing video reviews on a semi-regular basis, I began making drawings, Internet Campfire Tales got started up, I found a new “Worst Movie Ever” on behalf of Rape Zombies: Lust Of The Dead, and strangest enough, I became a pony.

WHYWHYWHYWHY

But what could I possibly do for a third year anniversary? For the first year, I had a musical number, and for the second year, I did a “top ten worst things I’ve ever reviewed”, sooo what could possibly be next?

A review!

… Don’t you dare look at me like that.

Allow me to explain: A while back, I was checking Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 100 Best Horror Movies, and as the list went on, it became very obvious that this was just a huge back patting exercise about showing how many old horror movies they had watched. Seriously, Rotten Tomatoes, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari is “the best horror film ever”? Yes, and next, we’ll switch out all of our theaters with fucking Praxinoscopes.

Anyway, as the countdown went on, and the movies got older and older, one of them in particular caught my eye. Awkwardly sharing elbow space with the 1959 Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr, was a little film from 2014.

By the name of The Babadook.

So. Tempting. To review this entire thing in rhyme.

… Well, alright. I will take you up on this bet, sir. Ladies and gentlemen and non-binary folks, grab your tiny top hats, and let’s dig into The Babadook!

Ahem!

Today’s Australian production opens with our protagonist, Amelia, getting spun round. Right round. Like a record, baby. It’s all a dream, see, as she’s remembering how, seven years ago, her and her husband got into a car accident while he was driving her to the hospital to give birth to her son. And despite all the time that’s passed, she’s still all depressed and heartbroken over the situation, ostracizing all of her friends and loved ones. Oh, and her son is Samuel, he’s socially awkward, and obsessed with monsters. There we go, I officially spoiled the first thirty minutes of this movie. You can just skip ahead now.

I’m serious, this movie has a long build up before anything starts jumping. Not that that’s a bad thing- it’s well-written, well shot, and well edited, but… it doesn’t make for very compelling reviews. It’s almost has though I shouldn’t have made my reviewing style one where I talk about every single little thing that happens like a complete lunatic.

Anyway, she wakes up, as Samuel insists she check for monsters and read him bedtime stories. Specifically, about the Big Bad Wolf. Why, hello, foreshadowing that will show up in the climax, how are you today? And the next morning, Samuel decides that he likes foreshadowing the climax so much, he hefts around his DIY catapult that he specifically designed to fight monsters. You know, it’s probably a good thing that he does end up fighting monsters. If the rest of the movie was a legal thriller, he’d feel downright silly.

While Amelia tries to get Samuel ready for school, he insists on showing off his magic tricks, then hugs her. Which… causes her to snap and shove him away? Huh, I had no idea that hugs were so offensive. I think we just explained every single one of my relationships.

After Amelia drops off Samuel at school, she heads to work at an old folks home, which of course involves making cups of tea. They are Australian, after all. But before too long, Samuel’s school calls her to come pick him up. Because… he brought a home-made crossbow to school. You can tell it wasn’t an American school, because blah blah, obvious joke about school shootings, moving on.

Because the school administration was being mildly unhappy with the whole “crossbow” thing, Amelia decides to yank him out of school. Wait, all I had to do was bring a crossbow to school and I could have gotten out any time I wanted?! Note to self, move to Australia. I’d learn how to put up with all the animal life that wants to kill me.

After an awkward visit to a super-market, Amelia takes Samuel to the park, to visit Amelia’s sister and niece. The sister has some bad news; namely, this year, the niece wants to have her own birthday party. See, because of the whole “husband died on son’s birthday” thing, Samuel never celebrated his birthday on the actual day, instead having a shared party with the niece. Except now the niece wants her own party. And to help even out this dull bit of exposition, we also have Samuel climbing on top of a swing set, to give a heart attack to every parent in the audience.

After establishing that Amelia and Samuel live next door to a kind old lady, we cut to that evening, as Samuel chooses a new book to read at storytime. Namely, one that neither of them have ever seen before. “Mister Babadook”.

“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook. 

If you’re a really clever one, and you know what there is to see, then you can make friends with a special one, a friend of you and me. 

His name is Mr. Babadook. And this is his book.

A rumbling sound, then 3 sharp knocks. ba BA-ba DOOK! DOOK! DOOK! That’s when you’ll know that he’s around. You’ll see him if you look.”

(Side note: This is when Amelia gets creeped out, and tries to stop reading it, but Samuel insists that she continues. Nice work, twerp. Now we know who to blame when the Babadook is eating your faces off.)

“This is what he wears on top. He’s funny, don’t you think? See him in your room at night, and you won’t sleep a wink.

I’ll soon take off my funny disguise. (Take heed of what you’ve read…) 

And once you’ve seen what’s underneath…

YOU’RE GOING TO WISH YOU WERE DEAD.”

Man, Robert Munsch got sort of dark. Still lighter and more child friendly than I’ll Love You Forever, I’ll give him that much.

He gets a lot less scary if you imagine him saying “ehhh” the whole time.

So, unless Australia is even creepier than everyone suspected, yeah, that’s not normal. And we jumpcut to Samuel screaming in fear, as Amelia tries to read him stories to calm him down. Knowing her luck, she’s probably going to accidentally reach for a pop-up book version of The King In Yellow.

After Samuel falls asleep, Amelia goes downstairs to watch some TV before going to bed. And after getting a bevy of ads about sex hotlines, as well as old romance movies, Amelia goes into bed to… masturbate? With a vibrator? And… it’s not being exploited, or shamed, and is instead being shown as a normal and healthy human behavior?

I… I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a horror movie before. Kudos!

*cue Samuel running screaming into her bedroom, interrupting her just before she reaches climax*

Oh, come on, dude. That’s like guy rule number four, at least let her finish.

After calming the little twerp down, she stays up reading for a bit, presumably to calm herself down. And of course, when she starts hearing things going bump in the night… that’s when she decides to go to sleep. So, you wake up when you make people sleep, and you sleep when something is trying to wake you up. For an encore, she then goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed at the next zebra crossing.

The next morning, she wakes up late for work, and while she’s ushering Samuel out the door to spend the day with her sister, Amelia calls ahead to work to tell them that Samuel is sick.

At work, Amelia is fucking with the old people at the bingo game, which is just about the closest this woman comes to an emotion that isn’t suicidally depressed and/or horny. Or… both, I guess. On break, she talks to one of her coworkers, who sees how rough of a time she’s having it, so she tells him the lie about Samuel being sick.

He offers to take her shifts for the day while she knocks off of work, which she gladly does. And cue “wandering around the mall to show how disconnected she is from reality” montage. Ah, it’s as effective as it is trite. All we’re missing is the Lonely Man theme.

Eventually, Amelia notices that her sister has been leaving her messages all day, and runs over to see what the matter is. Namely, Samuel is being what you humans call “a creepy fuck”, having spent the entire day talking to the imaginary Babadook. You know, considering what we’ll learn about the Babadook later, he isn’t really a conversationalist. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to remember a time he said a single word that was “ba”, “ba”, or “dook”.

After Samuel foreshadows the ending a bit more, by whiping firecrackers at his mom’s feet when she yells at him- wait, what?! Can somebody please tell me where the line between “charmingly precocious” and “a fledgling serial killer”? Quickly, before he gets too big for me to take out? Erm, anyway, at home, the coworker stops by to see how Amelia is doing, while at the same time, bringing her a bouquet of flowers, and bringing Samuel a board game!

… So he discovers that she was completely lying about the whole thing.

It’s been three years; am I still allowed to use the “wah wah waaaah” sound effect?

Normally, I’d say that the guy deals with it well, but this is actually his last scene! Seriously, this man doesn’t show up at any other point in the movie. Was there some kind of rule that said your movie had to be a certain number of pages, so you just haphazardly tacked this schmuck on?

After he gets retconned out of the plot, Amelia goes downstairs to find where Samuel was performing a magic show for all his stuffed animals, as well as a picture of Amelia and her late husband. Oh, and the late dad’s coat on the wall, as well as the dad’s hat. And yes, it does look like the Babadook, and yes, the symbolism is blatantly obvious.

That night, during dinner, while they’re eating Cream Of White, Amelia finds shards of glass floating through her soup, and yet there’s none in Samuel’s. So, either the eldritch abomination is petty enough to mildly mess with a woman’s dental work… or Amelia is a really awful cook.

After dinner, Amelia finds the photo of her and her husband on her bed, complete with sharpie marks over the husband and her eyes. Okay, again, this was either a very complex metaphor, or the Babadook is recreating that graffiti episode of Fillmore.

That night, the Babadook… drops a wardrobe on Samuel’s head. Um. I guess the Lion and Witch got pissed. Well, actually, we don’t get to see what happens, we just cut to Amelia running into his room to see the kid hyperventilating underneath his bed, with the wardrobe smack-dab in the middle of the room.

To calm herself down, Amelia tears the book into shreds, and leaves it under the barbecue outside. After a rather uneventful night, relatively speaking, we cut to the niece’s birthday party next day. It is, to a point, awkward, from Amelia insulting all the other moms there and getting into an argument with her sister, to the niece telling Samuel that he’s not “good” enough to have a dad and how nobody wants him and the dad died because he didn’t want to be with him- alright, kill her. I don’t care that it’s a seven year old little girl in a princess crown, fucking axe the bitch. Strike her down and TAKE YOUR PLACE AT MY SIDE.

Actually, that IS pretty close to what actually happens. Samuel cracks, and shoves her out of the treehouse, breaking her nose in the fall. Ah, sounds like music to my ears. On the drive back, with Samuel screaming like a fucking banshee, he suddenly starts seeing the Babadook outside the car window, and begins convulsing in fear. Which is probably how the directors thought this movie would get treated.

One cut later, and she’s taking the kid to the hospital. The doctor launches into a huge diatribe that essentially boils down to, “he got super scared”, and offers to get him in to see a psychologist. But until that can happen, Amelia wants a prescription for tranquilizers, just to make sure he can sleep. To be fair, I wanted to tranq that little asshat the first time his voice reached an octave previously only reached by echo-locating dolphins. Maybe Samuel is the result of some kind of government experiment?

“Gentlemen, we’ve done it! We have replaced this seven year old’s vocal chords with a dog whistle! … Why did we do that?”

That night, Amelia is convincing Samuel to take his medicine.

“I don’t want you to die, mother!”

“Don’t worry, Samuel, I won’t be dying for a long time.”

“Did you think that about my dad before he died?”

… Holy FUCK, kid. Good job working in that emotional crotch kick! Although, I suppose when you’re that height, it’s not a crotch kick, it’s an uppercut.

Pictured: Your genitals.

That night, with the tranquilized Samuel, Amelia finally managed to catch some sleep, and she wakes up all nice and refreshed. Presumably, with a Disney song playing in her head!

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

… At least, until the Babadook book shows up on her front step.

Yep, the book is back, now taped all back together after Amelia tore it into pieces. She drags it to the dining room table and starts flipping through it, only… well, now there’s some new pages…

“I’ll WAGER with YOU. I’LL MAKE you a BET. ThE MORE you DENY, the STRONGER I GET.”

And yes, that actually IS the way it’s capitilzed. I take my job seriously, dammit. Next page is a massive, screaming pop-up of the Babadook, screaming for a little cartoony version of Amelia to “LET ME IN”. 

“You start to CHANGE when I get in. the BABADOOK growing right UNDER YOUR SKIN. Oh COME! Come see. What’s underneath!”

What follows are gruesome, pop-up depictions of Amelia snapping her dog’s neck, strangling Samuel to death, and then slitting her throat. And no joke, I would definitely own a book like that if I could. Seriously, that’s rad. She immediately torches the book, and then calls up her sister for advice. The sister is still furious with her and tells her to call the police about her “stalker”, before hanging up.

*ring ring ring*

Oh, looks like the phone is ringing! I guess the sister is calling back?

“BaaAaAAabaAaaAaAdook, dook, DOOOOOOOK-“

“… Wrong number.”

Amelia pops by the police station, but unfortunately, it’s kinda hard for them to investigate anything when you set the only piece of evidence on fire. And even worse, behind them, the Babadook took the time to hang up his coat and hat, just to screw with her.

… At least, I ASSUME that’s what he did. Either that, or I guess the Babadook really DOES work as a cop. Oh my god, wouldn’t that be an awesome buddy cop show? “Dammit, Babadook, you’re a loose cannon… but you’re the best we’ve got!”

“Babadoooook!”

Case closed!”

She looks… cheery.

Anyway, long story short, she skedaddles. When she gets home, she finds a swarm of cockroaches living behind her fridge, which is really the least scary animal they have in Australia. And as she starts cleaning, officials from the government come by to check why Samuel isn’t attending any school. Gasp! Cobra Bubbles, what are you doing here?

Of course, the cockroaches disappear once the officials are here to see it, and they can tell she’s having a bad day, so they decide they’ll just come back later. And no, that isn’t even a little important to the plot, how could you tell? That night, as Amelia cleans, she sees a quick image of the Babadook standing in her elderly neighbors house. Although also pointless, at least the Babadook’s motive at this point is “just gonna screw with her”, so… fitting?

That night, as Amelia tries to sleep, she hears something moving outside her bedroom door! Hah hah, but don’t worry, it was just the dog! Annnnd thirty seconds later, then she hears something else moving outside the door. Then it opens the door. Then a man in a suit and hat sneaks into the room- okay lady you are officially allowed to react now.

The Babadook moves across the room entirely in stop motion, while making bizarre clicking sounds, and saying it’s own name in it’s creepy, crackling voice. Which is, in fact, totally awesome sounding. Until finally, it bounces! And we get to see it’s face as it jumps on Amelia, annnnnnd…

Baha haha hah! Oh my god, that monster design is hilarious. Um, can we just go back to the “hidden in shadows, stop motion clicking” thing? Or even just the pop-up book? Anyway, after he crawls inside her mouth, she turns on every light in the house and runs downstairs to stay up all night, watching old silent movies. Oh, so now I see why this was Rotten Tomatoes’ list; it spends just as much time jerking off old movies as they do.

After a fair bit of hallucinating, we cut to the next morning, with Amelia completely at wits end, thanks to her lack of sleep. Yeah, she has been slowly losing it, and when Samuel asks for some food, she screams some profanity at him. Mother of the year, ladies and gentlemen.

After she realizes what she said, she decides to make it up to him by taking him out for some ice cream! Annnnd on the way back, she sees the Babadook climbing all over her car, so she panics and drives on the wrong side of the road, crashing into some poor guy, who rightfully reads her the riot act. Annnnd then she drives away. Yeah, she is definitely jack-knifing from “poor victim” to “dangerous menace to society”.

Well, on the bright side, at least she’s not going to get any crazier, right?

*cut to Amelia sitting, fully clothed in the bathtub with a serene smile on her face*

Um. Alright, that is… understandably worrisome, but there’s nothing else that’s going to go wrong-

*cut to Amelia dragging her dead husband’s violin out of storage so she cradle it while she sleeps, screaming at Samuel when he tries to touch it*

I’d say a third thing, but you’re totally waiting for me to say a third thing to prove me wrong-

*cut to Amelia taking a kitchen knife and cutting all of the phone lines because Samuel tried to call for help*

Yeah, it’s official, she’s cuckoo for cocoa puffs. Just put on Combine Harvester and we’ll make it a wash.

After cutting the phone lines, Amelia takes measures to lock every single door and window in the house, to make sure that “the Babadook can’t come in”. And we cut to Amelia forcing Samuel to take his tranquilizer pill, so he can go to sleep.

“I am the mother and you are the parent, so TAKE THE PILL.”

Emilie Autumn would be so proud.

She tries to stay up, but as she does, reality slowly starts to break down for her, and she sees Samuel bleeding to death on the couch… only when she starts panicking over it, she realizes that Samuel is perfectly fine. And she’s swinging at him. With a knife.

… You better get him TWO bowls of ice cream after that.

*cut to Amelia getting Samuel more ice cream in the very next scene*

Wait, holy fuck, that really is what happens next? Damn, I’m good. As Amelia channel surfs, late at night, she sees a news story about how some woman just stabbed her son to death… on his birthday.

HER TELEVISION CAN CLEARLY SEE THE FUTURE!

Or, you know, she’s hallucinating again. Either or, really.

Now fully embracing the the madness (that’s awesome!), she follows a dream-Samuel down into the basement, where she meets dream-dead-husband! Who… for some reason looks exactly like Rhett.

Seriously, is that just me?

They embrace for a bit and everything is happy and we can be together forever and oh by the way, Amelia, would you mind bringing me the boy? That’d be super swell, thanks. Despite the fact that Amelia is fully around the bend at this point, she starts running away the second the husband starts talking about needed Samuel. For… what, is never made clear. Eating? Let’s go with eating, the Babadook seems the type.

As she runs from the basement, the Babadook pops in from the kitchen, and she goes running. She hides and barricades the door, which works for about… oh, ten seconds, until he gets in anyway. He pounces on top of her, she screams, annnnnd it was all a dream!

… That last scene, I mean, not the whole movie. It’s too cool for that.

*sunglasses*

It’s official, mummy dearest is no longer in the driver’s seat, and her first act once she wakes up is to grab the dog, and…

Um.

Snaps it’s neck.

YAAAAAY! THIRD YEAR ANNIVERSARY! 

Afterwards, she reaches inside her own mouth, and pulls out… a tooth? A shard of glass? A USB drive? Not a clue, but the sound effect is nice, so I guess we’ll roll with it. Now with one kill under her belt and eager for another, Ameli-dook starts hunting down Samuel, and smashing down his door. By… swinging into it like a monkey.

… The epitome of terror?

As Ameli-dook starts monologuing about how much she despises Samuel, he responds like all good children do… and whips firecrackers at her. Oh yeah, and that’s not all. He takes advantage of the distraction to run and fetch his home-made crossbow, and DIY catapult! “Chekov’s gun, mothafucka!”

He goes running from Ameli-dook, and as he searches for a place to hide, she gets distracted by the elderly neighbor, checking to see that they’re okay. And… Ameli-dook doesn’t kill her? A horror movie more interested in the characters than shock deaths?! Man, what genre am I even watching?

The conversation seems to shake Ameli-dook out of it a bit, and tearfully walks over to Samuel to admit that she hasn’t been sane for a very long time. She goes on about how everything will be better and they’ll both be fine, and how she can’t wait for him to meet his father- wait, what was that last part?

And yeah, Samuel ain’t having none of this crap, and shanks her with a kitchen knife, before running into the basement. And when she tries to follow, he sets up his trip-wire traps to slam her face-first into a wall, before taking out her kneecaps from behind with a cricket bat. You know, this kid may be a living version of every Tim Burton character ever, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t badass.

When Ameli-dook wakes up, she’s strapped to the floor, Guliver’s Travels style. Samuel tries to get the Babadook out of her, but unfortunately, before he can manage it, she gets a hand loose and starts chokin’ a bitch. But somehow, Amelia is able to over-come the Babadook, and vomits up a torrent of black ichor. But, hey, no more Babadook! Movie over, right?

Well, no, not exactly. Because, as they start to leave, Samuel points out one very crucial point of the story: You can’t get rid of the Babadook.

… Well, THAT’S fucking cheating!

The slimy fucker drags Samuel upstairs, and Amelia follows behind, where she sees the Babadook, represented by an entire section of the room, completely shrouded in darkness. And after playing the death of her husband again- seriously, Babadook, learn a new tune- Amelia finally decides to face up against the creature.

“You are NOTHING. This is my house! You are TRESPASSING IN MY HOUSE!”

*cue room shaking, and massive, wing like appendages reaching out through the dark*

If you touch my son again I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!”

And apparently, that was the magic buzz word of the evening! The shaking stops, and we see the coat and hat float out from the darkness, before falling to the ground. And naturally, the first thing she does it poke it, because of course you poke it.

From the Babadook’s point of view, we see it rise up, scream at the duo, and head down into the basement, where Amelia quickly locks it in. And cue epilogue! Couple weeks later, Amelia has gotten the stitches out after Samuel’s little Home Alone routine, the officials from the government are making sure they’re getting integrated back into normal life, Samuel is having his birthday party on the actual day, Amelia is finally adjusted to the point where she can freely discuss her husband’s death, and her and Samuel finally have a happy, healthy relationship!

Except.

Well.

You can’t get rid of the Babadook.

We see the two of them gathering worms into a large bowl, and Amelia carries it to the basement door, which has about twenty different locks, and after shooing Samuel outside, she goes inside.

The Babadook sees her, screams with fury and pain, and almost attacks her. She assures it that everything is fine, and after the Babadook retreats into the shadows, it sullenly drags in the worms they’d gathered for food.

You can’t get rid of the Babadook.

But befriending it is certainly an option.

So, that was The Babadook! And now, it’s time for the shocking reveal about how I reviewed this for my third year anniversary: This is the BEST horror movie I have seen in a very, very, VERY long time.

The writing, acting, directing, sound design, camera-work, all of it, was suburb.There’s so much metaphor and symbolism and mood that they ring out of even the smallest of shots, I have watched this movie three times in the span of the last few weeks, and every single time, I notice something I never saw before. I hear people talking about how this is a new classic, and I would not have even a little problem with that. I don’t just want this to be popular, I want this to be influential. I want to say, oh, this reminded me of The Babadook, and for people to know what the hell I’m talking about. I want Babadook costumes to be on Halloween racks, next to the Ghostface and Jason masks.

But then again, I also want there to be Avery Strange costumes up there too, so go figure.

Thanks for sticking around for three years, you degenerate motherfuckers! Keep going, and sooner or later, we’ll hit the new high score!

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT YEAR: More Internet Campfire Tales, more hardcore pornography, more video reviews, more fan art and more rape zombies than ever before!

And of course, more ponies.

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