The Babadook’s Curse: A Real-Life Horror Story

Just so you know where I stand, I loved The Babadook. This movie that masqueraded as a horror film but was really a meditation on depression and profound grief hit me hard. 

But these days, I’m freaking terrified of The Babadook. I will never, ever voluntarily watch it again.

Bill and I first saw the movie in December 2014 at a tiny indie theater in DC. It reminded me of the kind of things we often did when we first started dating, before almost all the cool indie theaters disappeared from the city. That was a nice evening. I’d been reading all kinds of great, intriguing things about the movie, and I loved it. I was feeling a little “off” that night, tired and somewhat breathless, but I’d been hospitalized with a ruptured appendix that summer and had an appendectomy that November, so “a little off” was the norm for me.

Two days later, I ended up in intensive care with a pulmonary embolism. A doctor woke me up in the middle of the night to show me my lung scans and inform me that if the enormous clot I’d thrown had landed in the center of my lungs instead of to the left, I’d have died. Another doctor said oh-so-cheerfully, “Most people who get this just drop dead at home.” Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas!

OK, so one could perhaps argue that The Babadook had nothing to do with that. I learned later on that I have a genetic mutation that causes my blood to clot more easily, and I’d been pretty inactive for the latter half of 2014 between the appendix and the surgery. This had all been the perfect setup for something really bad to happen. Fair enough. 


A few months later in early spring, The Babadook hit pay cable, and we watched and enjoyed it again. 

The next weekend, I was in the hospital again, this time with an issue I won’t go into detail about because it’s pretty unpleasant and you might be eating. 

So by now I was starting to form some pretty unpleasant associations with The Babadook, great film though it is. I’d switch channels when it came on cable. I’ve had enough of being in the hospital, ha ha, I’d say. 


Around the time we first saw the film, the production company put together a Kickstarter to produce copies of the terrifying children’s book seen in the movie. They wanted it to look just like it does in the film, with loads of popups and elaborate illustrations. 

I asked for a copy of that for Christmas, and I got one.

As sometimes happens on Kickstarter, the BabaBook team underestimated how long it would take to design and produce a high-quality version of the book. But they sent regular updates, and I figured I’d get it eventually.

Nearly two years later, I finally got my BabaBook. Hooray! And oh, it was indeed a gorgeous piece, with popups and illustrations just like the ones seen in the film. The book was beautifully done and well worth the wait. 

I received my BabaBook on Monday, November 7, 2016. 

Guess what happened on Tuesday, November 8, 2016?

People will be arguing about why the hell the pre-election polling seemed to get things so wrong until the end of recorded history. Maybe everyone misread the swing state polls or didn’t pay attention when they started narrowing. Maybe the pollsters didn’t talk to enough people. Maybe people lied about who they were really voting for. That all sounds reasonable. But I know the truth. 

You can’t get rid of the Babadook.

So yeah. I don’t mess with The Babadook anymore. That shit is like the video from The Ring as far as I’m concerned. Even writing this is making me nervous, because I worry that thinking about it so much is going to attract its attention, and dear god, election day is right around the corner and here I am invoking all this and the goddamn election’s gonna get Babadooked again if I don’t stop. 

The Babadook is the finest horror movie I will never, ever watch again. Tell the truth…can you blame me?

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