Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, two grown children made themselves their sixth cheese tray and pulled out the couch. "Let's watch a mov-ay," said the female one, who was sort of drunk. Her boyfriend stopped on The Babadook. "This might be too much." Well, it was and it wasn't. We watched it and loved it: the movie is terrifying on every register, unhinged, elegant, carried by the director's "refusal to make a distinction between the fantastic and the psychological."
After the movie was done, my boyfriend took a deep breath. "Damn," he said. "That was ridiculous." He smiled contentedly, turned over onto his side. "Good night," he said, and immediately fell asleep. I kept the lights on and read for two hours to calm myself, which worked, but not really.
So, here are all the things I have mistaken for the Babadook (pictured above in one of its many guises) since watching The Babadook. (No spoilers, there isn't really a way to spoil it.)
1. My dog
She's big enough to murder if me if she wanted and her crate was in the basement the night we watched The Babadook. She breathed heavily and knocked her paws against the lock in her dog-dreams. Ba-BA-ba DOOK DOOK DOOK, ba-BA-ba DOOK DOOK DOOK.
Around 3 AM I became convinced (though she was certainly asleep, soundly) that she required some sort of tribute offering in order to contain her anger at being kept in a basement so far (30 minutes) away from home. I tiptoed to the kitchen to bring her a bowl of water, but along the way I encountered...
2. The Christmas tree
I mean, YIKES! But I talked myself down. I was like, "Calm down, Jia, you idiot. Just go get the Babadook in the basement a nice bowl of agua for her troubles." I got her bowl and thought, "Maybe she is hot down there and deserves a little extra something-something." I turned towards the refrigerator and got the shock of my life when I encountered...
3. The sound of the ice machine
Because it starts with a rumble. And then:
I prevailed over myself eventually and brought the bowl of ice water to my basement Babadook. When I saw that her furball body lay dormant, I breathed a sigh of relief, only to freeze in terror when I saw...
4. Everything else in the basement
You'll see him if you look!
I managed to get back up the stairs away from the approximately 173 assorted Babadooks, where I crawled into position on the pull-out couch and started reading (the lights were still on "so that I could read"). However, the Babadook still reared his horrible head via...
5. The rumble of the LIRR in the distance
6. The general darkness of the darkness
I eventually turned off the lights though. I'm not a child.
7. The door to the basement
Closed, but for how long?
I woke up the next morning cheered by sun and presents and breakfast and all of the things that make you feel that your life is lucky and promising and the exact opposite of the mother's life in The Babadook. However, I remained a little spooked. I continued to mistake common everyday objects for the Babadook, including...
10. My dog again
12. Doors anytime they were about to open
13. Noises, generally
The worst of all came last night, when I was lying peacefully in bed. My boyfriend, on his knees, pulled the sheet over his shoulders. It billowed around him.
14. My boyfriend
He's the Babadook?
Hard to say for certain. But for the sake of being careful, we haven't spoken since.
Images via screengrab.