Monthly Archives: November 2014

Film Review – The Babadook (2014)

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

This could be the biggest revelation in Australian horror since… well, ever. One of those rare films that burrows under your skin and leaves an impression for a long time after the credits roll, it has been generating overwhelmingly positive critical reviews since its worldwide debut at the Sundance Film Festival where it won Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay and Feature.

Amelia (Essie Davis, who you might recognize from Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions) is a single mother left to raise her six-year old son Samuel alone after her husband is killed in a tragic accident. Samuel is obsessed with magic and fantasy stories, an obsession that increases tenfold when he asks his mother to read from a pop-up book that mysteriously appears on his bookshelf. It turns out to be the story of a nightmarish character called Mister Babadook, who wants to ‘eat your insides.’ After hearing the story, young Samuel becomes convinced it is real. Of course, Amelia doesn’t believe him. Parents rarely do. But then Samuel turns into the most horrible, despicable little kid on the planet, and all manner of strange things start happening around the house. As the sinister events increase, Amelia comes to think Samuel might just be right about Mister Babadook after all.


Part of the appeal is the fact that the Babadook was written and directed by a woman, Jennifer Kent. As such, it benefits from a female perspective, sense of empathy, and even tenderness in places, especially when describing the unique bond between a mother and a son. Don’t get me wrong, there are shocks and scares a-plenty. The Babadook contains some of the most genuinely terrifying scenes in recent memory. The difference is that the scares are less visceral and in your face. There is no gore here, and very little in the way of cheap thrills. Instead, it gets you on an emotional level with all the accuracy of a sniper’s bullet creating more tension and atmosphere than any idiot with a bucket of fake blood can ever hope to.

For one reason or another, until now women have only been able to exert limited influence on the horror genre, but that could all change as audiences grow tired of gore-fests and start searching for something deeper. In many ways, the character of Mister Babadook could be a metaphor for angst, grief, alienation, fear, guilt and a ton of other emotions, none of them good. The embodiment of dark energy. How much is real, and how much is imagined, is often left ambiguous to the viewer. Deliberately so, I think.

The Babadook was reportedly produced on a meagre budget of $2.5 million, and has already grossed ten times that amount just weeks after opening in the UK. It goes on general release in America on 28th November, after which those figures are sure to climb into the stratosphere. An instant classic.

This review first appeared on the Huff Post UK:

Dead Harvest is here!


Each year, as summer fades to memory, and the sky begins to grow dark, and the leaves change colour and fall, the faint, fetid scent of death—of slowly rotting things—begins to drift in, hanging on the chill air like a ghostly pall, making us wonder what this year’s harvest will produce.

Well…the harvest is here. And it’s dead.

With these 50 dark tales (and nearly 700 pages of terror!) readers will experience fear, depravity, love, and loss. And a kind of chill that won’t soon leave your bones.

My contribution, Harberry Close, is the story of a frustrated commuter who gets on the wrong train and ends up somewhere he never wished to be. But that’s just the beginning of his nightmare.

DEAD HARVEST is a crop like no other—and includes stories from: Richard Chizmar, Tim Lebbon, Jeff Strand, Ronald Malfi, Greg F. Gifune, James A. Moore, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Tim Waggoner, David Bernstein, Richard Thomas, Jon Michael Kelley, Brian Kirk, Chad P. Brown, Lori R. Lopez, Stuart Keane, Tim Jeffreys, Ahimsa Kerp, C.M. Saunders, Martin Reaves, M.L. Roos, Gregory L. Norris, Angeline Trevena, Jeremy Peterson, Christine Sutton, Gregor Cole, Lori Safranek, Jaime Johnesee, Bear Weiter, Kyle Yadlosky, Aaron Gudmunson, Sara Brooke, C.L. Hernandez, Patrick Lacey, John Grover, Todd Keisling, Jason Andrew, Dana Wright, Andrew Bell, E.G. Smith, Amy Grech, Mark Patrick Lynch, Wayland Smith, Jonathan Templar, Marie Robinson, Michael McGlade, Jordan Phelps, Nick Nafpliotis, Matthew Pedersen, Bryan Clark—and introducing Billy Chizmar.

Enter the harvest and get lost . . .

Front Cover

Front Cover

Edited by Mark Parker, Scarlet Galleon Publications, LLC

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