The Babadook: 8 Surprising Facts About the Film

The Babadook Children's Book

Entertainment One / Screen Australia

Hitting cinemas in 2014, The Babadook quickly became one of the most visually chilling horror movies ever made, with the long arms, claws and top hat of the titular character quickly becoming iconic. Here are 8 surprising facts about The Babadook…

1) Inspired by a real boy seeing a monster 

In an interview, the director of the film, Jennifer Kent, was asked where she got the inspiration for the story. She explained that she has a friend who is a single mother, and that the boy was traumatised by a monster that he saw all over the house. 

2) ba-Babadook has a meaning in Hebrew 

Babadook sounds like a made up monster name for a children’s book, not too dissimilar to the gruffalo. But it’s actually a Hebrew word meaning, ‘he is coming for sure,’ which is pretty terrifying. It’s also an anagram for, ‘a bad book.’ 

3) No sequel 

A lot of great horror movies often get their name tarnished when multiple sequels are released. They rarely live up to the original, and usually just dilute its quality. Good news for The Babadook, then. Jennifer Kent, who wrote and directed the film, owns all the rights, and has said that no sequel will ever be made, because it’s not that type of film. 

4) Copies of the pop-up book exist 

When the film was released, you could buy a copy of the pop up children’s book for eighty dollars. Each copy was hand made and Jennifer Kent, the director, signed the first 1500 copies! 

5) William Friedkin said it’s the most terrifying film he’s seen 

The exorcist is widely considered to be one of the most frightening films ever created. However, it’s director, the celebrated William Friedkin, reserves that top spot for The Babadook, saying ‘I’ve never seen a more terrifying film.’ 

6) They turned down eight and nine year old actors

Several children applied for the role of the disturbed son, Samuel. Among them were a lot of eight year olds and nine year olds. However, the director noted that their performances were too ‘knowing’ and they lacked the innocence she wanted in the role, so they ended up casting six-year-old Noah Wiseman instead.

7) London After Midnight 

The look of the Babadook himself was inspired by the film London After Midnight; a chilling 1927 black and white silent film which features a creepy vampiric figure in a beaver-skin top hat. The reels of film were destroyed in a fire in the 1960s, but some very chilling stills of the figure remained, and it’s on this that the Babadook was based.

8) LGBTQ 

When Netflix loaded the film onto their platform, they accidentally categorised it under ‘LGBT’. This led to it becoming a jokey icon and meme among the LGBTQ community. 

There you have it – 8 surprising facts about The Babadook! 


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