The Babadook : Not a horror film?

Not a horror film?

It's certainly scary/creepy but if you expect something like The Exorcist or The Omen you might be a little disappointed. It's a study of what happens to the mind when emotions are buried and not dealt with. Is the Babadook representative of an emotional monster or is he real? The short answer is he's both. Psychological problems are very real but how they manifest is another thing and can be as dangerous as any real physical entity. So did the mother create the Babdook book? No one's telling but one would think yes, she did (she used to be a writer and she made the offhand comment that she did some kid's stuff). Plus the mom never says to her son that she loves him, even though he says it several times to her. The inability to love your own child is a breeding ground for all sorts of psychological instabilities, especially when you're all alone, lost your beloved husband, sleep deprived, overworked and dealing with a precocious, overly aware seven year old child. And the ending? Is it telling us that problems don't just miraculously go away, they are always there under the surface and need to be dealt with, worked on, coddled and pacified. Mental illness is like that.

Re: Not a horror film?

Well done! I think you just might be spot on with that interpretation. That's exactly how I saw the movie. Kudos to you.

Re: Not a horror film?

I'd say its more of a terror film than a horror film. Still very good

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It's a horror movie.

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@svalinanikola A horror movie that is nothing like normal horror movies. If you like nothing happening for the whole movie until the end like The Conjuring, then this movie is perfect for you. I did not see anything creepy or scary at all in this movie. Identity is a better movie than this. The scenes were cut too quickly and jumbled to even tell what much is going on. Like the director was in a hurry to get no where.

No more IMDB boards for me!

Re: Not a horror film?

that is nothing like normal horror movies.

Not everyone is limited to enjoying "normal."

"Normal" is not necessarily the best standard.

If you like nothing happening for the whole movie until the end

That is equating your experience for the only possible kind. You drew a blank, but that doesn't mean others will, or do. Many would say, with good evidence, that a great deal happened before the end, and that you missed it. That doesn't mean that if you did perceive it you would have to like it, only that you didn't perceive it in the first place.

Similarly, most people, regardless of their judgment of the movie, didn't experience your degree of trouble "to even tell what much is going on."

I did not see anything creepy or scary at all in this movie

That is a true statement. You did not experience this. Yet others did. Just because you didn't experience anything creepy or scary doesn't mean the experience isn't there to be had by other sensibilities.

Similarly, someone might claim they didn't see anything funny about a movie, but that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't a comedy.


"You must not judge what I know by what I find words for." - Marilynne Robinson

Re: Not a horror film?

really? nothing happening? if i gave you a call tonight and played back the "ba..ba..DOO-OOOK" clip, you sure you won't find it creepy or scary at all?

wtf "scenes cut too quickly" were u even watching the same movie?

if you stuck to your sig, it would benefit the rest of IMDB.

Re: Not a horror film?

This is a nice interpretation and articulated well. I think you're right about the so-called horror in this movie.

It's well made, but not a horror movie in the traditional sense. I was expecting something more conventional.

Re: Not a horror film?

What? There are a lot of horror movies like The Babadook.

Re: Not a horror film?

Such as?

Re: Not a horror film?

The Innocents? The Haunting? Rosemary's Baby?

Re: Not a horror film?

I've never seen the Innocents or Rosemary's Baby (yes Rosemary's Baby I've never seen it) so I'll take your word on those. But the Haunting? I've seen that repeatedly, and that's supposed to be taken VERY literally. That doesn't seem like Babadook a movie which apparently is open to interpretation.

Re: Not a horror film?

It doesn't stop people from wondering if it was real or not.

I see it as all really happening. I don't think Rosemary's Baby is ambiguous when it comes to that either. The Innocents fits the bill too.

When I said that there are a lot of movies like The Babadook I meant a movie which follows the perspective of one character as we watch his/her declining mental state.

Re: Not a horror film?

"When I said that there are a lot of movies like The Babadook I meant a movie which follows the perspective of one character as we watch his/her declining mental state."


Don't forget Hour of the Wolf.

Re: Not a horror film?

Perfect summation of the movie, its not a horror movie in the traditional sense although it has some spine tingling moments. Having said that I cannot understand why anyone who is a fan of intelligent horror could not think its a fantastic film.

Re: Not a horror film?

Which traditional sense? About half of the horror films I've seen came out before 1930, and this felt fairly in line with them.

The Cockroach Honor Award
2008: WALL-E
2009: G-Force
The cockroach is a noble beast

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

01. mafrie, I would classify this movie as a 'Psychotic Thriller'. Babadook plays with Samuel's mind, Amelia's mind and ours.

02. How well do we as an audience perceive reality through Amelia's eyes?

03. How do we even know if that story about the husband was true? The father may have taken off once he got wind of her psychotic breaks. She blames Samuel.

04. It's hard to tell with Amelia what is and isn't. She has these false epiphanies that are warnings, or signs, e.g. at the Police Station, non-existent bugs, etc.

05. Btw, the Police Station experience was the audiences final red flag that this was not a Sci-Fi, or Horror movie.

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

There's a lot of horror movies where the characters are not sure what's real and what isn't.

And how is the police station sce ne the final red flag?

The movie has a lot of scenes which are intended to be creepy and used to scare the audience. It's a horror movie.

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

01. svalinanikola, the outfit hanging on the wall in the police station. She was seeing things that weren't there.

02. Her disheveledness and inability to get out of bed or care for her son was a sign mental illness. Her hygiene was down the tubes.

03. But, if this movie worked for you in a horror genre way, good for you — doesn't really matter as long as you enjoyed it.

04. Actors were fantastic!

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

So what if she's seeing thing that are possibly not there or maybe they are? The movie obviously tries to creep you out, that scene is also played for horror, there are many atmospheric shots that are combined with music to creep the viewer out.

Just because one possible interpretation is that it's all happening in the character's head doesn't mean it's not a horror movie. The term is "psychological horror". There are many movies which use that, like The Innocents for example. Are we going to claim those are not horror movies as well now?

Just because you didn't find it scary doesn't mean it should belong in a different genre. It's a horror movie, that fact can't be denied.

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

01. svalinanikola,

. . . there are many atmospheric shots that are combined with music to creep the viewer out.


It's a horror movie, that fact can't be denied.
I deny it — it's only a movie. Jennifer Kent both wrote and directed the script. It's fictional. Nothing is etched in stone. It is left up to the viewer to 'experience' the movie as they will. You say tomato and I say tomatoes — so? This is where we vary. I think that it is Amelia's psychotic POV, which she passes along to Samuel to dispel her anger.

02. Amelia tries to handle her psychosis by putting the Babadook in the basement, off limits to Samuel. Amelia, though is able to dominate and regulate Samuel's time by having him dig up a plate of worms each day for Babadook. She keeps Babadook alive, but out of Samuel's perception of physical harm. Amelia sets the plate down, as we saw. After that, she may go into one of her psychotic episodes. The camera cuts away so it's any viewer's take on what happens then.

All we know is that other people, some professionals have tried to intervene with no success, (i.e. both neighbors, school, social welfare, etc.) She's sick and other adults with rational minds see it. I would not call it a 'sci-fi horror', nor 'horror' genre.

03. As I mentioned in another comment under this topic, Samuel is 6 y.o. going on 7 and hasn't learned to read yet. So, Amelia is making the story up as she goes along. She is creating the visual nightmares for him to experience every night.

04. If you need to control others as the 'genre police' and must have everyone agree with you, good luck. It makes no difference to me. Everyone freely having their say is a good thing — diversity makes it interesting. I just do not agree with your position and have stated my reasons and that is all. Should I read a compelling comment with strong points to support a different POV, then I will gladly change mine. Until I do, I will stand by my POV.

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****


Nothing is etched in stone.


I'm pretty sure a movie's genre is etched in stone because surely you need to decide which genre your movie belongs to before you start making it.


I would not call it a 'sci-fi horror', nor 'horror' genre.


It's classified as horror on this very site and on other sites. Why wouldn't you classify it as horror? You're not giving any good reasons, you keep mentioning compelling arguments but you have to give one yourself.


So, Amelia is making the story up as she goes along. She is creating the visual nightmares for him to experience every night.


Which part supports that theory?

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

01. svalinanikola, I have found that genre listings are mixed up on many IMDB movie pages.

I would not call it a 'sci-fi horror', nor 'horror' genre.
Example: Comedy was listed when it was an Action, Drama movie about war. Keep your eyes open. You may well spot some, too.

02. It is your POV, which you and everyone are entitled to. I realize that it is very important to you that everyone agree with you, but I do not. So many quotes out of context. Read my other posts to others on this topic. I've listed all my reasons and observations on Babadook. If you do not understand them, it is of no concern to me, nor my responsibility that you do.

03. I enjoyed the movie and actors tremendously. You can quote me on that.

04. Thanks for sharing your POV.

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

Doesn't change the fact that the director intended it to be horror. Do you plan to go against what the director wanted?

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

I think that it is Amelia's psychotic POV, which she passes along to Samuel to dispel her anger.

I think that is a legitimate interpretation, as far as it goes. It's just that I think it doesn't go very far because it presumes too much authority in psychological rationales, as if they actually speak to the heart of the story and the experience it delivers a viewer.

If we accept that a movie is primarily an emotional and sometimes a spiritual experience, a conceptualization like "psychotic POV, which she passes along... to dispel her anger" is correct in one sense, but reductive. It frames the story in a category, abstracted from experience. It is fundamentally distancing from gut experience, and is therefore comforting.

A diagnosis of some particular malady may be a plausible categorization, but rather than adding meaning to the complexity of viewer experience, it actually limits it, cuts it off. Hitchcock satirized and undercut this effect in the coda to Psycho, by dropping in a shrink's 10 minute lecture pigeonholing Norman. Everything he says makes sense, but... so what?

What I'm trying to say is that the full experience, and therefore meaning, of the story is not limited to the psychological, but is much more than that. If we reject out of hand the supernatural, then we are only allowing for a cerebral response and denying primal experience of the uncanny, according to the usual false assumption that the primal is necessarily crude and ignorant. That it is "not true."

To be fair, it is equally reductive and distancing if one also settles for the tag "horror." To talk of genre alone is as much an abstraction as applying a psych-label, although it does at least have the value of alluding to the nature of the viewer's experience, whereas psych-rationales do not. A renowned film scholar once wrote an influential essay complaining about genre fixation among colleagues, making the distinction that talk of genre addresses the prose of a work of art, but not its poetry.

That said, I think it's unreasonable to deny that the film is solidly in the horror genre, since it contains an overwhelming number of elements that are typical to that sensibility and form of expression. Just as I think it's unreasonable to deny that the story does not also imply a psychotic breakdown. To my mind, both "explain" the story, yet both are distancing and reductive, neither one offering much insight.

I think a more profitable approach would accomodate both categorizations, avoiding the binary conflict, and be something more than either of them, a kind of synthesis.


"You must not judge what I know by what I find words for." - Marilynne Robinson

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

Note: My POV behind my POV is that IMDB message boards are for people to freely, but civilly, both post and respond to questions.

01. Whatlarks, I’ve made my points about Babadook and enjoyed reading those of others as well as yours. This topic is now exhausted with repetitive posts, so I am off to a new topic. I will answer your post, though, because you gave it much thought and also you shared your POV on Babadook and genre labeling.

02. As far as interpretation of Babadook, I think it is all relative. That is the beauty of IMDB — diverse POVs are expressed. It does not need to be a battle over ‘right, wrong and the only’ way. I am posting a few observations, not writing an in-depth dissertation for a doctorate.

03. In the majority of my experiences on the Message Board, Posters understand that the post is just sharing a small take on the movie. It’s a response to one question.

04.

If we accept that a movie is primarily an emotional and sometimes a spiritual experience . . .


What if 50% do not except that statement? It is all relative.


I think a more profitable approach would accomodate both categorizations, avoiding the binary conflict, and be something more than either of them, a kind of synthesis.


Again, it is all relative. This statement earmarks a third party acting as arbiter to find a peaceful solution to bring two opposing sides to an acceptable agreement. If melding of two or more genres with this movie makes sense to you, then do it.

05. I know you do not care for labels, but ‘horror’ is left as a single word for all to give it their own definition. No two people are the same, except for perhaps identical twins, so a multitude of explanations are to be expected. Many may not have

an emotional and sometimes a spiritual experience.


06. Also, people who post about horror (or any given topic for that matter), do not announce their limen for horror. We do not know their location, age or the worldly experiences that they have had, or not had. We know nothing of any Poster’s educational background, nor understanding of tangible reality and change (i.e. what was real yesterday, or even BCE, may have become obsolete, destroyed in the ever changing past-to-present-to-future). As examples, even the phrases 'most people' or ‘commonly accepted by’ are already transitioning with societal changes in their usage and meaning on planet Earth.

07. So, I thank you for sharing your POV and some very interesting ways of addressing the topic. Moving on now.

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

Since Mitchmuse has decided to move on, I will address this to whoever else may come along on this public board.

I think he took some pretty extreme positions.

There was no need to make the hyperbolic reference to "a doctorate." My observations about two common kinds of responses to the film simply encourage reflection beyond the surfaces of the labels. They don't challenge anyone to write an "in-depth dissertation." There was no need to invoke such an extreme metaphor.

Mitchmuse unilaterally decided the topic is exhausted, yet wrote a long post repetitively making the point that "it's all relative." If it's all relative, then it's hardly reasonable to make that absolute declaration. I think it would fairer if she/he applied that standard as equally to their own self as to others.

This is a discussion board, not a monologue board. When someone types "a small take" on a movie, it is as reasonable for others to type agreement as constructive criticism.

It is a truism that "it's all relative," and of course this doesn't mean taking the extreme position that one's opinion is perfect and unimpeachable. "It's all relative" is very often a Teflon defense against opening one's mind to potentially learning new insights, including recognizing where one's reasoning may be limited or flawed. All opinions are not of equal quality. One can insist that the Earth is 6,000 years old, and put up the firewall "it's all relative."

Words don't shift meanings as radically as Mitchmuse implies, and the term "horror" when applied to genre isn't as ambiguous as she/he implies. The meanings of common words like that stay fairly consistent in general use; if they didn't language and communication would be impossible. It's an extreme and unconstructive attitude to strictly apply the truism "it's all relative" to everything.

- Filmmakers, especially horror filmmakers, want to provoke emotional responses. Their efforts to engage the intellect,as in this case, are not primary, but indirect. Analysis comes after experience.

- I didn't suggest melding two or more genres.


"You must not judge what I know by what I find words for." - Marilynne Robinson

Re: Not a horror film? ****POSSIBLE SPOILERS*****

I think what many of you are forgetting is the dog's peculiar behavior. It senses something is down in the basement. It senses that Amelia is not herself, even when she is stroking the dog affectionately, and jumps down from her lap and growls. This is not a reaction to dementia, it is a reaction to the supernatural. The babadook is real.

It's not horror if pretentious people like it

The most pretentious you are, the more power is invested in you to decide what constitutes what.

Re: Not a horror film?

It tells it through the horror genre, it never breaks it, that is what is so brilliant about it, Mulholland Dr. Just like any movie is a drama, but told through the mystery genre. The Babadook is a horror film, regardless of your interpretation since they never deny the existence of the monster itself. I am aware and I understand what you are saying, but it never breaks a 4th wall nor betrays the genre ever. Quite the opposite, the boy was so convinced the babadook existed, has his mother listened to him initially they would have been more careful, but you are not meant to believe a kid.

Re: Not a horror film?

01. megaruda, do you know what the 4th wall is, because I am sure you are misusing it and mean something else. The 4th wall is when the actor looks directly into the camera at you, or even speaks to you like Francis in House of Cards.

02. I saw Mulholland Dr. Again a brilliant movie about progressive mental illness and bizarre fantasies. But, seriously, if you see it as a horror genre, then good for you. As long as you enjoyed the film is what counts. I think there are a lot of povs out there. Thanks for sharing.

03. I would like to add that the boy was six years old, about to turn seven. He was not old enough to read, so Amelia could have made the whole story up and Samuel would not have known the better. The Babadook may have been Amelia's way of coping with her anger.

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I said mystery not horror, you misread, your point 2 does not exist.
I know what the 4th wall is. Your point 1 does not exist. The context to me was that it didnt break the 4th wall like in The Holy Mountain, If the movie had done what Holy Mountain did you could easily say that the babadook was a fake, it did not do that nor betrayed the horror genre by making it a psychological thriller, ever. The babadook is a monster, it is real, period.

The plate with worms moves on its own. The kid is able to see the Babadook in the car. The book gets burnt then appears again. The movie never says its all a dream or anything, if the movie wanted to go there, then there was really no point to show the scene with the worms. Of course theres a metaphor in there, just like Hellraiser, etc. But that doesn´t mean that in the films universe the babadook does not exist.

Re: Not a horror film?

01. megaruda, best to check your April 02, 2016 post:


It tells it through the horror genre, it never breaks it, that is what is so brilliant about it, Mulholland Dr. Just like any movie is a drama, but told through the mystery genre. The Babadook is a horror film, regardless of your interpretation since they never deny the existence of the monster itself. I am aware and I understand what you are saying, but it never breaks a 4th wall nor betrays the genre ever. Quite the opposite, the boy was so convinced the babadook existed, has his mother listened to him initially they would have been more careful, but you are not meant to believe a kid.
You did call it a horror genre twice. I do not agree and thankfully we do not all agree with each other. Different POVs make it interesting.

02.

Just like any movie is a drama, but told through the mystery genre.
I do not completely agree with this statement. Movies could be in any genre. Drama does not necessarily aim for a mystery spin, though some do.

03. I will say this about the book burning. Amelia (whether or not you think she was having psychotic breaks) was trying to manage the Babadook part of her mental illness by destroying the book. But, then she 'fell off the wagon' as was the most probable outcome in her case with self-management. I think that Samuel and Amelia truly needed professional psychiatric help to manage their.

04. If you are interested in further discussion, please read my other posts under this topic. I don't want to repeat same points, when they are already posted.

05. Thanks for sharing your POV.

Re: Not a horror film?

Horror and Mystery are 2 completely different things, you are delisuional and insane, I cannot make sense of insanity you just wan to read what you want to read just to feel right, you are insane. The babadook *beep* ate you.

Re: Not a horror film?

I had the same thoughts while watching the movie, and I was reading the trivia section at the same time.

1. Amelia was a writer. I think at one point in the film, someone suggested that she work or hard worked on a children's book.
2. The words "Baba-Dookh" in Urdu/Hindi mean "Father-Grief", referring to the fact that Amelia's husband passed away before the events depicted in the film. (taken from the trivia section)
3. When she was reading the book (the 2nd time) that mysteriously reappear in front of her door, she herself pulled the strings to animate the book.
4. The book says that once you let it in, you'd wish you were dead. Grief can do that to people.

However, this film is still rightfully categorised as a horror film. Horror films does not need to have supernatural things in it. Dictionary tells us that horror is an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. While thriller is a novel, play, or film with an exciting plot, typically involving crime or espionage. For example, Saw is a horror film. So is Scream, 28 Days Later, and many more.

The way the director convey the story, what Amelia and Samuel went through were horrifying. You can be void of fear when you watched this, but the intention of the director is what puts this film in the horror category.

Re: Not a horror film?

Horror films does not need to have supernatural things in it.

Well, they typically need to have some element of the supernatural, however subtle. The dictionary is a general reference and not a reliable source of specialized meanings, in this case for movies. Thus it defines a feeling, but not the genre that specializes in provoking it.

Thrillers are necessarily part of the crime genre. Horror is not necessarily. "Saw" certainly provokes a feeling of horror, but unlike a horror story it doesn't assume a reality exists that we don't access with our normal level of perception. This can be quite subtle. Horror deals with the primal fear of losing control to one's animal impulses, of being revealed for who one truly is underneath - perhaps a monster. The horror villain can summon or incite, and perhaps command, the forces of nature - in psych-horror, from within - whereas that isn't the case in a thriller.

Many qualities of the two genres overlap, so you can have a blend. But in significant ways they are distinct.


"You must not judge what I know by what I find words for." - Marilynne Robinson

Re: Not a horror film?

They do typically have supernatural elements in them, but it's not a necessary part of it. I wouldn't limit the definition of horror films as scary films with supernatural elements. The definition is clear that horror genres are films that seek to elicit negative emotional response from viewers by playing on the audience's primal fears. This is a broad definition. In the past we have seen many films that are considered horror yet don't have supernatural elements. Other examples are Maniac, The Fly,

Therefore, for the sake of the original discussion, I believe Babadook indeed falls into the horror genre, regardless whether it's all just in Amelia's mind, or whether the monster is real.

Re: Not a horror film?

As mentioned, the supernatural elements can be subtle. Positing the existence and influence of another level of reality beyond ordinary perception, provoking dread, may not involve monsters, but it is one key aspect of horror. Perhaps this is one reason why noir, with its emphasis on fate, blends so well with horror.

Playing on primal fears isn't a strategy restricted to horror, so it's not a terribly helpful definition. Thrillers often play on primal fears. A classic example is Psycho.

Most films aren't pure genre, but borrow from different kinds. The Fly, for example, is sci-fi horror. It's horror because in part the sci-fi is so outrageous it becomes as if supernatural, but also because it centers on dissolution of ordinary boundaries between monster/insect and man, another realm of possible experience, which provokes horror.


"You must not judge what I know by what I find words for." - Marilynne Robinson

Re: Not a horror film?

Nice points, and very eloquent. However, with all due respect, I have to disagree with your point on the supernatural element.


Thrillers often play on primal fears. A classic example is Psycho.
Psycho is declared as a psychological horror thriller film in Wikipedia. It is also listed as a horror film on IMDb. Many people in different forums called it a horror film. Here's another website that called it a horror film http://www.ew.com/article/2009/08/04/psycho-the-horror-movie-that-changed-the-genre

As supernatural is defined as "attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature", therefore, there is zero supernatural elements in The Fly. Neither in Maniac.

My understanding is Horror films are films that inflict horror in the audience's mind. Doesn't matter how they do it. Using supernatural elements or without, if it inflicts horror, then it is a horror film. You can't limit the horror genre as strictly films with supernatural elements in them.

There exist horror films with zero supernatural elements. The Descent, Maniac, Wolf Creek, Psycho, Alien, Aliens, The Thing, Critters, Saw, and many more. They are horror films because they inflict horror and they give a sense of hopelessness. While thrillers give you heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety. They both overlap and don't contradict each other. A movie can be classified as both Thriller and Horror.

Re: Not a horror film?

Okay, cool, I can accept the idea that the supernatural doesn't have to be associated with the horror genre. As I say, another level of reality beyond ordinary perception, provoking dread, is a key factor, but of course it's arguably even more frightening when our perception no longer sees the ordinary as, well, ordinary. So we get Norman Bates presented as ordinary as can be, and yet revealed to be so alien. Freud's "uncanny." I suppose my idea of the supernatural is really about changes in perspective so radical, so out of our experience (at least consciously acknowledged), that we may as well be confronting the magical.

As for "The Fly," surely you'd agree it's an example of mixing genres, in this case sci-fi & horror. It's that perception thing again: we are first encouraged to identify with the hero, but then ordinary boundaries between him and monster/insect dissolve, leaving us vicariously trapped in this new perspective, this morphing identity. We revolt, but have nowhere else to "put" ourselves. The slipperiness of what we assume is the solid ordinary, one's solid identity, is really horrifying. I guess it's the closest one might come to the experience of madness. There's something compelling about visiting; dreadful, yet pleasurable.

The only thing I'd quibble with are those sources you mentioned. Consider the declaration in Wikipedia, where the first thing we read is this:

"This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources."
As for EW it's kind of the same. Even if it turns out to be right, LOL, I want to feel the source is more rigorous.

Thanks for your insights.


"You must not judge what I know by what I find words for." - Marilynne Robinson

Re: Not a horror film?

Thank you for being so cool about it. Bringing the audience to another level of reality is indeed the most effective way to bring about horror.


but of course it's arguably even more frightening when our perception no longer sees the ordinary as, well, ordinary.
This is so true. Most frightening thing is when we believe our reality is no longer what it seems. It's also rare to see a film that does this.

I agree that The Fly is a mixed genre film. Having more than one genre associated with it doesn't make it less a horror film, though. The most obvious means to bring about a different level of reality without using supernatural elements (supernatural in its technical definition) is by way of fictional science.


we are first encouraged to identify with the hero, but then ordinary boundaries between him and monster/insect dissolve, leaving us vicariously trapped in this new perspective, this morphing identity. We revolt, but have nowhere else to "put" ourselves.
Yes, this is the brilliant part of the film. You've described it pretty well. I remember how shocked I was when I first watched it. The only pleasure I got was knowing that I'm not actually in 'there'.

Personally, I had always believed that Psycho should be classified as a horror. It just so happens that EW was one of the first result Google presented me with the search.😜

Re: Not a horror film?

I've learned something else from our exchange, AlexSefton. I realize that I personally must have a relatively broad and highly reactive sense of the "supernatural." In my life, it doesn't take much for me to perceive differently than my normal routine, and notice that the ordinary is really astoundingly extraordinary. That there are constant miracles in everything. So I think this individual trait must naturally influence how I think of a genre like horror that deals with primal responses to radical shifts of perception, confronting us with newly discovered levels of reality. I'm kind of primed to approach horror with the assumption that it always deals with the supernatural even if a particular example technically doesn't.

One reads that sub-atomic particles can be entangled at any remove in space and time, which blows apart all we thought we knew about space, time and causality. Quantum physics raises radical questions about the assumed distinction between subjectivity and objectivity. This reinforces what I feel more or less all the time, that the essential nature of reality is its strangeness and unknowability - its supernaturalness.


"You must not judge what I know by what I find words for." - Marilynne Robinson

Re: Not a horror film?

Spot on! I had the same feeling about the movie! Great movie for sure!

Re: Not a horror film?

Spot on! I had the same feeling about the movie! Great movie for sure!

Re: Not a horror film?

Spot on! I had the same feeling about the movie! Great movie for sure!

Re: Not a horror film?

Good insights. I'm kicking myself for forgetting that she was a writer who wrote children's books. She undoubtedly conceived The Babadook book that her son later found. As far as who pulled it from the trash, stitched it back together and revised it with ingenious pop-up illustrations, that's one of those fun things for the audience to kick around.

Re: Not a horror film?

Excellent interpretation.

Re: Not a horror film?

Nothing in the op's description supports the idea that's not a horror.

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Die Hard isn't an action movie

It's a euphemism on Holiday stress told in a thriller-like setting. Also, it's based on a book which automatically excludes it from the genre.

Also, boxing and karate are not combat; they're gritty forms of ballet.
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