Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 036: The Babadook (2014) and The Pyramid (2014) and Found (2014) and Housebound (2014) and Severance (2006) and Night Monster (1942)

HMP036 Artwork

In Episode 036 of HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, another of our epic Frankensteinian episodes, you’ll hear in-depth Feature Reviews of The Babadook (2014) and The Pyramid (2014) and Housebound (2014) and Found (2014). You’ll also hear Dr. Shock’s review of Severance (2006) and Night Monster (1942). By the way, special shout-out and thanks to Eric from Long Island for calling in with a promo clip for the beginning of the show.

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voice mails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


SHOW NOTES:

I. Introduction


[ 0:04:38 ] II. Feature Review: THE BABADOOK (2014)
Jay of the Dead = 8 ( Buy it! ) — Amended during spoilers to a 10 out of 10
Wolfman Josh = 8 ( Buy the Blu-ray but don’t see in theaters )
Dr. Shock = 9 ( Buy it! )


[ 0:48:25 ] III. Feature Review: THE PYRAMID (2014)
Jay of the Dead = 6.5 ( Theater / Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 4 ( Avoid )


[ 1:29:06 ] IV. Feature Review: HOUSEBOUND (2014)
Wolfman Josh = 8 ( Strong Rental )


[ 1:37:00 ] V. Feature Review: FOUND. (2014)
Jay of the Dead = 7.5 ( Buy it! )


[ 1:48:38 ] VI. Review: NIGHT MONSTER (1942)
Dr. Shock = 8 ( Buy it! )


[ 1:57:35 ] VII. Feature Review: SEVERANCE (2006)
Dr. Shock = 7.5 ( High-priority Rental )


[ 2:05:11 ] VIII. Blu-rays and Great Distribution Companies:
— Night of the Comet, The Battery
— Kickstarter page for the: Nosferatu Remix


[ 2:14:07 ] IX. Complaints: Spoilers
— E-mail: Cody Clark complains about a breach of spoiler policy


[ 2:29:41 ] X. Complaints: Genre
— David and Juan complain in the Ep. 035 comments about Jay of the Dead’s rigid genre boundaries
— Details on the Horror book contest


[ 3:02:07 ] XI. Dr. Shock’s Movie Review eBooks
— E-mail HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com to receive your free eBook, in exchange for leaving a review on Amazon. Use the same e-mail to contact Dr. Shock about doing some artwork for him or to give him some Facebook tutorials.


[ 3:07:53 ] XII. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending


[ 3:11:27 ] XIII. SPOILERS: The Babadook (2014)


JOIN US IN TWO WEEKS ON HMP: Episode 037: Christmas Horrors — hear it on December 19, 2014.


NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

Leave a comment or e-mail us here: HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com

LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:

Hear Jay of the Dead’s guest appearance on The Resurrection of Zombie 7 podcast: Episode 122: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)

Wolfman Josh recommends checking out Nick Peterson:
Kickstarter page
NickPeterson.vhx.tv

Kickstarter page for the: Nosferatu Remix

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Wolfman Josh on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Wolfman Josh covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
Wolfman covers movies streaming online on: Movie Stream Cast

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dr. Shock’s daily movie review Web site: DVD Infatuation.com
Dr. Shock on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Dr. Shock’s other horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Dr. Walking Dead on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead
Dr. Walking Dead’s books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for Horror Movie Podcast.

If you like Horror Movie Podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. If you want to support the show, we have PayPal buttons on our sister site, Movie Podcast Weekly.com, in the right-hand sidebar where you can make a one-time donation or you can become a recurring donor for just $2 per month. (Every little bit helps!)

Thanks for listening, and join us again Friday after next for HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

Jay of the Dead


65 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 036: The Babadook (2014) and The Pyramid (2014) and Found (2014) and Housebound (2014) and Severance (2006) and Night Monster (1942)

  1. I was confused and thought this episode wasn’t due out until next week so this was an awesome surprise. You guys are blowing us away with all your hard work of late!

    Also, I have a comment regarding the originality of “The Babadook” concept. Firstly I haven’t actually seen “The Babadook” yet but as soon as I saw the trailer my mind instantly went to a short story by horror writer Ramsey Campbell (whose short story collections I highly, highly recommend) called “Meeting the Author”. It’s basically a tale of a child who is haunted by a very creepy childrens pop-up book character named Mr. Smiler. It could very well be a coincidence and as previously stated I’ve yet to see the movie but there seems to be a conceptual similarity there, at least on a superficial level. Also I think the story in question was first published in the 80’s.

    • This Mr. Smiler character, having not read Meeting the Author, seems to be a different element than The Visitant had in common with The Babadook. I suppose there’s nothing new under the sun.

      And I honestly shouldn’t have brought it up so much during the review because, honestly, most great ideas come from bits and peices of something else. Whether she borrowed elements or not, which I’m not saying she did, she made an incredible ORIGINAL movie.

      Having said that, I am quite interested in Meeting the Author now.

    • That story sounds fascinating, and I definitely want to read it now! I’d love to compare its use of the tropes involved to both The Babadook adn The Visitant.

      In terms of originality, I would say that it’s hard to say that The Babadook ripped off The Visitant. Its kickstarter was funded nearly a year before the kickstarter for The Visitant, The Babadook was based on a 2005 short film, and it premiered a good six months before The Visitant.

  2. Hello Jay, Josh and Doc,

    Great show this week. I have one small correction to offer.

    The child actor in THE BABADOOK is named Noah Wiseman, not Daniel Henshall.

    Henshall was in a movie called SNOWTOWN, aka THE SNOWTOWN MURDERS. He gives an astonishing performance as serial killer John Bunting. If you’re ever in the mood for an incredibly disturbing true crime picture, I would highly recommend checking it out.

    Anyhow, enjoyed the podcast. For what it’s worth, I’m one of the people who really enjoys the longer episodes. Helps make the hours spent at work fly by.

    Keep up the great work!

    Erik

    • Erik,
      Thanks for keeping us straight on those actors’ names… You are exactly right.

      And yes, I’ve seen “Snowtown” and mini reviewed it in Episode 020 of Movie Podcast Weekly. And you’re right again, it is tremendous. —JOTD

    • Good catch, Erik. My bad. Sorry, I just had a cast-list in front of me and read the wrong one. My apologies to little Noah Wiseman, who was incredible (and whose little undeveloped mind I worry about).

  3. HOLY CRAP!!! Jay…your childhood story freaked me out with that music. Theres no way I’m gonna sleep tonight. Don’t ever do that again…:(

    • Ha ha. Thanks, Shannon. Little trivia on that music:

      It’s a composition that I wrote and performed on the piano titled “A Day at the Beach (June 23, 1988).” And of course, it is the musical representation of what I experienced the day my dad drowned. Thanks for noticing it. —JOTD

      • My dad basically died of a heart in front of me when I was 12…the paramedics took him away and never saw him again…now that I know the story of the music…breaks my heart even more…wish I had something like that to remember him.

          • So sorry for your loss, Shannon. That’s incredibly rough. I can’t imagine something like that happening. My dad wasn’t around, growing up (he was living alone on an island in the Pacific Ocean!) but my Grandfather (who was the closest thing I had to a dad) passed away when I was 30 and I had a hard time coping with his death at that age (still do whenever I think about it). I can’t imagine that burden on a child.

          • Maybe it’s a creepy thing to say on an internet comments board but I just want to give everyone in this thread a hug.

        • @Shannon – Wow. That would be traumatic, for sure. I can’t imagine that. A sudden, unexpected death like that leaves you no time to prepare and it makes achieving closure even more difficult. Talk about witnessing real-life horror… Seems like you and I have more things in common than just horror movies, Shannon. Thanks for writing. —J

      • Jay, that was an extremely personal experience and one that I’m sad had to happen to you. I thank you and praise you for sharing it. The way that it connected to The Babadook was incredible and really enhanced this episode. Now if only Josh and Doc followed your example and shared childhood tragedies…

        • Now, if Josh and Doc had only responded appropriately! Jay was so worried about it coming off like an uncomfortable over-share that I was trying to just move past it and back into the review–for his sake–but, upon listening back, I feel pretty callous. I didn’t mean to brush by such a huge, personal revelation from Jay and my heart breaks for little twelve-year-old Jason. I’m so sorry for his loss and for his Mother who obviously went through a great deal as well. It’s a life-shattering kind of experience and it makes me even more impressed with the man Jay has become. That was very brave to share on the air for two snarky cynics and thousands of strangers. We love ya, Jay of the Dead.

          • @The Wolfman,
            You’re very kind, my friend. Thank you. But honestly, you two reacted exactly the way I hoped you would. It was perfect. I wanted to share it because of how closely it related to “The Babadook,” not to be pitied, so thanks for fielding those on-air, on-the-spot curve balls.

            Furthermore, if you can talk to your friends about your life, then who can you talk to?
            —J

          • Thanks for sharing, Josh and you too Shannon. I can’t say that I’ve been through something like that, but I’m sure the day will come—It’s inevitable.

        • Thank you, Juan. What you wrote here: “…The way that it connected to The Babadook was incredible and really enhanced this episode…” — That was precisely what I was hoping to achieve by sharing such a personal story. Thanks for writing that.

          And besides, what good is having personal tragedies if you can’t exploit them once in a while? —J

          • Jay, your personal revelation was very moving and also very much appropriate to the discussion of this movie. It actually added some incredible insight which has helped me appreciate “The Babadook” even more.

            I honestly couldn’t imagine trying to cope with such a tragedy and it amazes me that you’ve turned out the way you have. Of course I don’t know you very well at all but from what I do know I think you’re a person that any father would be extremely proud of.

            And that piano piece in the background was, as Josh perfectly stated, haunting and beautiful. Is there anywhere that I could purchase that music as a download or CD? I’d love to hear it in its entirety (though I totally understand if it’s just too personal and you don’t want people listening to it).

          • @David,
            Thank you, David. You’re too kind. I wrote that song circa 1995, and I don’t even remember how to play it anymore. This recording was very homespun and not studio quality. I just had a mini digital recorder and the incredible Steinway & Sons grand piano at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Anyway, since it’s just a rough recording, I’m not selling it. But you’re welcome to download it here free at this link. You can click the link to immediately play the MP3 file, or you can right-click and download the MP3 to your computer. Enjoy!

            A Day at the Beach (June 23, 1988)
            http://traffic.libsyn.com/thectspodcast/ADayAtTheBeach.mp3

          • Thanks Jay and don’t worry about it not being a studio recording, about 50% of the music I listen to is pretty lo-fi stuff. I’m a staunch believer that studio-polish can’t make bad music good and on the flipside a lack of studio polish can’t make good music bad. Sometimes that rough-around-the-edges sound adds a real raw energy and urgency to music that hours of studio tinkering can’t replicate.

            Either way this is an incredibly beautiful, atmospheric and emotional piece of music. It’s honestly amazing.

            I feel bad taking it for free but I’ll try to make a donation to the podcast very soon.

  4. In a perfect world…It’s too bad you guys couldn’t clone yourselves or flip flop into alternate realities so you could do both spoiler free and total spoiler episodes…I so would listen to both. We can dream can’t we!!!

    • It’s like we cross into an alternate reality at the end of the episode and the bizarro-uses give you exactly that. Don’t worry, anytime we think a movie warrants a spoiler review, we will do it. Most movies really don’t though, in my opinion.

  5. You guys shouldn’t have mentioned me, that was all David. I’m like a vulture scavenging for great comments, bidding my time, looking for the right one to attack (or in this case comment on). Anyway, that really did make for a great discussion.

    I’ve been a little busy trying to catch up not only on my horror, but everything else for the year, so here’s what I’ve been watching and some super quick comments that don’t even qualify as mini-reviews:

    Deliver Us From Evil
    A creepy horror thriller that has a similar atmosphere than Seven (I’m with you there, Jay). The story was a bit too “by the numbers” like Karl would say and the acting and script were a bit too serious at times, so much so that there were moments that were meant to be serious that ended up being so cheesy and laughable that I was taken out of the movie completely. This is a 6.5.

    Not Safe For Work
    The title alone was enough reason for me to stay away, but the premise sounded so good (on paper) that I had to give it chance. For a low budget movie, this wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The premise was great—the execution and where the movie ended up going—not that great. The villain here was a standout though, and his performance was quite solid. Overall I say skip this one or use it as a time killer. Oh and this is not a horror movie at all, it’s more of thriller. Anyway it’s a 4.5.

    The Quiet Ones
    More like the boring ones. This was such a snoozefest and not because it was slow, which it was, but because there was no payoff at the end. An interesting premise and some excellent subject matter were wasted on tepid characters and incompetent storytelling. Olivia Cooke did a pretty great job as the tormented mental patient and I would love to see more of her—she is quite the looker. Don’t waste your time on this unless you have nothing better to watch. It’s a 5.5.

    Willow Creek
    I’m kind of in between Jay and Josh on this one. I ultimately liked it, but I was let with a feeling of emptiness because *spoilers* we never see big foot *end of spoilers*. I do like the idea of never truly seeing the monster, but I don’t think it was executed that well here. The Blair Witch Project did it much better. Still, if you’re a fan of big foot and if you’re into found footage films, then this is a pretty alright movie. It’s a 6.

    Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
    I loved how the movie started—a super slow motion shot of a chaotic scene a la Zombieland. A few minutes later after being introduced to what would end up being the core cast of the movie (a weak and unlikeable cast), my initial bliss turned into disappointment. Yet amongst all the mediocrity there were a few bright moments sprinkled throughout the movie that kept me somewhat enthralled. If you’ve seen the first two Cabin Fever movies, you know what to expect. There is a really awesome moment of gore that put a big smile on my face. It involves a fight between two infected girls. Let’s just say that it gets quite messy.

    Beneath
    Another big disappointment. I went into this movie knowing what it was about and it delivered exactly that—no surprises whatsoever. If the filmmaking or the characters or the story had been solid, I wouldn’t hold its linearity and conventionalism agains it, but none of that was that great, so it gets a 5.

    Exists
    Now this is a great example of how fun, exciting, and rewarding horror can be if done right. Not only do we get a great horror film, we get one of the best found footage films and one of the best—if not the best—big foot film ever. Kudos to Eduardo Sanchez for having the balls (and common sense) to actually show us big foot and make him (or her?) look so good (and with practical effects nonetheless!) Great pacing, great practical effects, great camerawork, and a super satisfying conclusion to it all. Josh, you didn’t oversell this, it’s great, really really great. I was originally going to score it an 8, but the more I think about it, the higher I want to score it. It’s 9.5 and I say support great indie horror and rent/buy it.

    Life After Beth
    I was slightly disappointed with this one. I really wanted this to be on the same level as Shawn of the Dead, but it’s not. It’s not even close. My biggest problem with it was that it became a bit too ambitious and a bit too convoluted towards the end. I would have been much happier if the story had just focused on Beth alone. The intimate look and feeling that we had at the beginning was great, but was lost when a broader look at Beth’s “symptoms” were introduced. This is a 7 and it’s a pretty decent watch.

    See No Evil 2
    The only reason I watched this was because it was directed by the Souska sisters. I became a fan of them after seeing American Mary. What a disappointing follow up. This was crap from beginning to end. Their sensibility for horror was completely lost here, the characters were as hollow as can be and the actors portraying them seemed like they were in it to get paid. I know Danielle Harris and Katharine Isabelle are much more capable than they showed here. This is hands down the worst horror movie I’ve seen in years and it’s a 2.

    The Babadook
    After hearing all the buzz surrounding this movie, I had concerns that it could never live up to the hype. Well, it lived up to the hype and it certainly delivered the goods. It is one of my favorite horror experiences of 2014 and a must see. This is psychological horror at some of its best. The atmosphere is well established not only with its visuals and sound—which complement each other really well—but with its use of color. It’s rare for a horror movie to have such an intricately chosen color palette and it was quite a treat to see. There are also some nifty techniques that make for some really cool effects that help to enhance the visual storytelling. Performances are usually not the first thing I think of when talking about a horror film, but the actors do such a great job here that I’d say they’re definitely one of the reasons to see this film. The Babadook is smart, dark, chilling, and real (you’ll know what I mean when you see the movie). This is a must see and a modern classic in my opinion. It’s a 9.5 and a contender for top spot (so far) for horror movie of the year.

    • Juan,
      Which “Beneath” is that? Ben Ketai’s trapped-in-a-haunted-coal-mine movie? Or was it Larry Fessenden’s fake-ass-fish, Jaws / Lifeboat rip-off? I reviewed them both in Ep. 022. The coal mine one is a 7 and a strong rental for me, but the fish one is a 4 and an avoid. —J

      • Jay! You’re so active on the boards, it’s great!

        It is Ben Ketai’s Beneath. Sorry Jay, I know you loved it, but what you saw in it was lost in me. I’m only two points behind you though if that makes you feel better.

    • I don’t think I like your tone here, Juan… ; ) Are you busting on my 10-rated horror movie?

      Granted, the kid goes a little Kevin McCallister with his homemade weaponry, but let’s not give people the wrong idea! —J

      • Haha that’s not what I was going for at all. Home Alone really did cross my mind when watching The Babadook. But you’re right, the movie is so much more than that. And hey, I’m not busting your score, I gave the movie a 9.5 and I think it’s a classic! Having said that, I think the general audience is going to hate it.

        • Haha. You think the general audience is going to hate it, Juan? The general HORROR audience or the GENERAL general audience? It is a bit of an art film, in terms of the handling of the monster, but I think people will be very happy with the film if they don’t go in with too high expectations. If they do, I agree that it could be a disappointment.

          • Well, I think casual horror movie fans—the kind that go for light fare stuff like The Pyramid*— will like it ok, but they’ll hate the way the monster is handled. Even with the more literal interpretation of the movie, I don’t know that the monster will be monstrous enough for them. Part of this is the trailer’s fault. I think it can mislead people to go into this movie with the wrong mindset. On the other side of the spectrum, hardcore horror fans with the same mindset as Billchete for instance—not trying to single anyone out here—will be bored out of their minds. And if my mom’s and sister’s reaction to the movie is any indication, general audiences will probably not like The Babadook. But I hope I’m wrong. This movie deserves a bigger audience than 23 theaters.

          • Funny you ask, because just last night we were talking about it and apparently I was completely mistaken about their opinion of the film. They seem have really liked it and even better, they were really scared! I guess I’m just jaded haha.

  6. By the way guys, most of the Friday the 13th movies are now streaming on both Netflix and Amazon Prime which is perfect for your upcoming Friday the 13th franchise analysis.

  7. Hey guys, as always I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I just got done listening to the spoilers for “The Babadook” which I initially avoided but now I’ve seen the movie so it’s all good.

    So as a horror film I certainly don’t think that this was anywhere near as blatantly scary as something like “Sinister” but as a carefully crafted, psychologically impactful work of art I thought it was excellent. Not only did I love the design of the whole thing (the muted, dreary, almost black and white palette of the house, the expert use of shadow, the awesome old movie/dream sequence etc) and the intensity of the performances but I also think that this is the kind of film that warrants hours of discussion and dissection.

    You guys did a really great job (at both convincing me to watch it in the first place with your spoiler free section and also providing some excellent analysis and remarkable insight in the spoiler section) but there were a few things I picked up on that weren’t mentioned regarding the symbolism used.

    _____________SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a movie that revels in the realm of the subconscious. The events depicted are often ambiguous and we’re never certain if what we’re seeing is reality, a manifestation of psychosis or a dream. Several scenes really stood out to me as having symbolic significance:

    1. Amelia pulling out her own tooth. The dream of teeth falling out/being pulled out is a very common one with several different interpretations. I think Freud linked it with sexual repression and though I’m not the biggest fan of Freudian psychology (I tend to think that his own obsession with sex affected his ability to be objective regarding it’s relevance to his field) this certainly would be a relevant reading here. At several points in the film Amelia notices couples embracing each other, moments which stand in stark contrast to the desolate loneliness of her masturbation scene. Maybe the tooth pulling scene is a representation of her repressed sexuality pushing her to breaking point? Another common interpretation of this “teeth” dream is that it represents a fear of loss and again this would be extremely relevant to Amelia’s arc. She has already suffered a great loss and she has never fully recovered. The films opening scene suggests that she relives this loss in her dreams and I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest she likely fears the loss of her child (whether he is lost to The Babadook or Social Services) and the loss of her own sanity.

    2. The worms. Near the end of the film we see Amelia and Samuel collecting worms which Amelia then takes down to the basement to feed to the Babadook. Jung suggests that the worm is something within (within the earth and within the body as represented by the earth). When the worm surfaces it can be destructive or it can represent transformation and transposition from one place to another. Do these worms represent Amelia’s subconcious turmoil and unresolved grief? Is her feeding them to The Babadook representational of her recovery? Or is The Babadook itself a part of her which thrives and feeds upon her negative subconscious? The worm also represents segmentation and the separating of the conciousness into distinct parts so it could be that she is dealing with her distress through compartmentalisation?

    Or there could be a darker reading: The “worm” is often synonymous with the serpent and a symbol which Jung felt had significance to the human psyche was that of the Ouroboros which is a ring formed from a serpent eating it’s own tale. This symbol represents something cyclical in nature so maybe the worms could herald a repetitiveness to Amelia’s problems or they could simply be an acknowledgement of the inextinguishable nature of The Babadook.

    3. The dove. In the final scene we see Sam perform a magic trick which involves him seemingly conjuring a dove out of thin air. The dove is generally a symbol of peace and unity so on the surface this scene promotes an optimistic reading but is it really realistic that such a young kid could pull of that trick? This seemingly grounded part of the film struck me as very surreal so maybe the dove is itself an illusion of peace?

    I guess that’s it for now. I was also going to babble on about The Babadook as The Shadow Self but that’s a bit too obvious and I’m getting tired. I’ll no doubt be back with more comments on this great episode soon.

    Oh and I give “The Babadook” an 8.5/10.

  8. Very smart David. I have to admit that my knowledge on psychology only extends to what little I learned in high school and college. I have never picked up a psychology book on my own, but it is a topic that is very appealing to me. Since you seem to be a pretty well read individual, which books would you recommend on the subject?

    One of the scenes stood out a lot to me—the tooth pulling scene and the worm scene. I interpreted it as a physical manifestation of the pain she was going through. There were several scenes where she was clearly in pain, but ignored it much like she was pretending that her life was ok. I can’t remember when exactly she snapped, but I’m inclined to say that it was right after she pulled her tooth out.
    The worm scene stood out for sure, but I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I didn’t think much of the dove, but what you say totally makes sense, so I’m sticking with that interpretation.

    You guys keep talking about “Sinister” like it’s a masterpiece. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a pretty good film overall—it looks and sounds great (the music is incredible), and it has some amazingly creepy and scary “snuff films” (the main reason why this film works). But to bring it up as a measurement scale for horror films is thinking a little bit too highly of it in my opinion (you guys didn’t explicitly say that, but it was implied). I think the possession element of the film is quite silly, but I loved the results of it and the way it was handled. There were a lot of missed opportunities that I think could’ve taken this film to the masterpiece level, but this is no masterpiece. It’s only a 7 for me. If this is supernatural done right Jay, I see no reason why you would score “The Conjuring” a 4.

    • Well I’ve never studied psychology academically or anything like that so I’m far, far from an authority on the subject. It’s only really Jung who I’ve done much reading on but If you’re interested in his general attitudes and ideas I’d suggest “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” as a great place to start. It’s sort of a semi-biography/semi-study of his approach and though it lacks the detail of a scientific essay it’s full of very interesting and eye-opening anecdotes, theories and observations. “The Undiscovered Self” is the part of his work that I find myself associating most often with horror due it’s discussion of The Shadow Self but, though it’s a very short work, it’s extremely dry and quite a slog to get through. I think there are a few decent books out there that operate as straight-forward introductions to Jungian psychology too. “Jung: A very short introduction” by Anthony Stevens is a quick read but covers most of the basics; his early life, relationship to Freud, his psychological archetypes, approach to therapy etc.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help Juan, but I’d imagine Kyle Bishop might be able to make some far superior suggestions.

      As for “Sinister” I think it’s one of the scariest horror movies that I’ve seen in recent years. The combination of the shocking “snuff films” and the eerie haunted house elements worked great for me and I agree that the soundtrack is incredible (one of the best horror soundtracks in years in my opinion) but I don’t think it’s quite as good of a film as “The Babadook”. The scares in “Sinister” were more plentiful and effective but that came at the cost of some of them feeling a little cheap. That very final jump scare in “Sinister” (the whole cliché of everything going quiet and then the monster jumping out directly at the camera is just so lame) really tainted it for me and felt forced and obnoxious whereas “The Babadook” had the guts to end in a much more understated and ambiguous way. I guess I’d say that “Sinister” is better at being a “horror movie” while “The Babadook” is better at being a “movie” irrespective of genre.

      • That last jump scare that you talk about really brought down the movie for me too. I can’t believe I forgot to bring it up. It bothered me so much at the time that I hated the movie for a while. It’s probably one of the top cheapest/lamest scares of all time.

        • Juan I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hates that jump scare. I know it’s only a very small part of the movie and I’ve seen it done in other lesser horror flicks before but for the most part all the other scares in “Sinister” felt like they had context or were at least balanced by genuine atmosphere and quality characterisations. but that final one felt like it was tacked on by a marketing executive or something: “Mr Derrickson we’re afraid that based on teen-demographic-focus-group-statistics we’re short of the optimum jump-scare quota so we’ve added a little something to the end of your movie.”

        • There should be a poll asking the fans if they think whether Jay should amend his score. He has stated in the past that he’s connsidered changing his score, so we should give him a little push 😉

        • Yes, thanks Doc. Let’s be clear. Doc was right. I rated “The Conjuring” a 5.5 out of 10. It **should have been** a 7.5 — and would / could have been — if it weren’t for that ridiculously comical hair-dragging scene (minus 1 point) and the chair / ceiling scene (minus 1 point).

          “The Conjuring” broke my heart, a little. It opens like a 10 — like a Masterpiece, even. But it tries to squeeze in so many horror conventions (as well as the kitchen sink). A movie that did this kitchen-sink approach successfully was “Pet Sematary” (1989). More on that here: http://forgottenflix.com/sff14-19/

          Here’s what we horror fans all have to admit to ourselves and to one another (brace yourselves for this):

          Our beloved genre is often a low-budget affair. Sometimes that works to its benefit, but that’s rare. Horror is an entry point for many actors and filmmakers. That’s not a criticism or a judgment; I’m just stating a fact.

          And because we have to sift through so many lesser films to get to the gems (the diamonds in the rough), I think the awful, low-budget Redbox Horror fare and these heartless, supernatural theater releases are forcing us to grade on a curve and to lower our bar.

          So, when something effective and well-made comes along (like “Sinister”), we start treating it like it’s a Masterpiece, speaking to Juan’s comment above. I loved that film, and I think it’s tremendous, but I rated it a 7. (Talk about films I wished I had rated higher.)

          But that’s exactly my point — my previous sentence illustrates this:

          I think that when a well-made horror film comes along, we’re so ecstatic that it’s not trash that we go overboard in our praise. And I think that’s what happened with “The Conjuring.”

          It’s a good film — for sure. 5.5 is a Rental, so I never said to avoid it. If it had better focus with its horror aspects and left out the parody-flavored scenes, it could have been a 9, even.

          But fellow horror fans! — Let’s not settle for less than we should in our beloved Horror genre, just because that “less” is already way more than we’re used to getting! We deserve 9- and 10-rated horror movies that are legitimately 9’s and 10’s! Remember the standards:

          THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE
          JAWS
          HALLOWEEN
          THE THING
          THE SHINING

          Join me in my crusade to elevate the genre to where we all know it can be, and should be! Don’t settle! Let’s call a Spade a Spade.

          SIGNED PROUDLY…
          Jay of the Dead
          Horror Movie Podcast

          • Jay,

            I enjoyed reading the above, and applaud you for your defense of the genre. But your attempt to draw attention away from your abysmally low rating of THE CONJURING with smoke and mirrors (i.e., invoking classics of the genre as a defense) will not do!

            You said:

            “Let’s not settle for less than we should in our beloved Horror genre, just because that “less” is already way more than we’re used to getting!”

            In theory, I agree. But in saying this, you (whether intentionally or not) immediately dismiss the opinions of those who believe THE CONJURING is a strong motion picture in its own right. Those of us who enjoy the film don’t feel as if we’re “settling for less”. To insinuate we are is something of a slap in the face. Is it truly so hard to believe that those of us who didn’t drop it a FULL POINT for a half-minute or so of hair-pulling weren’t “settling”?

            But let’s say for a minute some of us WERE settling (I don’t believe it personally, but for the sake of argument, we’ll assume it’s true). What are you suggesting we do? Should we boycott ALL new releases that fail to measure up to the classics you mentioned above? Are you saying we, as critics, are negligent if we DON’T compare and contrast the latest horror offering to these time-honored films? If supporting films that legitimately frighten us (i.e. THE CONJURING) is wrong, then what’s the RIGHT course of action? Please, Jay… enlighten us!

            Yes, there’s a lot of crap out there these days. But let’s be honest: There was crap in the ’70s and ’80s , too, the decade that produced the five great films you mentioned above. And it’s quite possible that, 20 years from now, when another podcaster takes up the reins to save horror, he will also say:

            “We deserve 9- and 10-rated horror movies that are legitimately 9’s and 10’s! Remember the standards:”

            … and one of the “standards” he lists will be THE CONJURING.

            SIGNED JUST AS PROUDLY…
            Dave, aka “Doctor Shock”
            Horror Movie Podcast

          • Doc Shock,

            Great retort, speaking of smoke and mirrors… ha ha. Thanks for engaging. Yes, let’s have this out:

            We have a 10-point rating scale. That means, that we get from 0.5 to 10 to rate the entire spectrum of movies — from something like “Jan Gel” to our favorite, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

            Long ago, I used to rate on a 100-point scale, in order to better and more accurately differentiate my numerical value judgments between films. But a scale that large is cumbersome and difficult for readers / listeners to conceptualize. We’re not used to thinking in 100’s, but we often think on a 10 scale.

            Therefore, with far fewer rating designations, it is my belief, that an earnest film critic mustn’t be casual in his numerical assignments, because having so few places to designate a film makes those distinctions that much more crucial when trying to differentiate among films.

            Alas, these number ratings are ultimately subjective, and therefore, irrelevant, because even though we use the same 10-point scale to rate movies, our personal criteria for assigning those ratings vary wildly … clearly. We all know this, but we still enjoy rating movies, anyway. And our audience members begin to get a sense of what a 6.5 is for me, or what a 4 is for you…

            So, in the case of “The Conjuring,” those two unintentionally comedic moments surely must seem like nitpicks to most people, but they just about ruined my experience with that film and were not just foolish creative decisions, but to me, even deplorable! (Remember how people react to the original “April Fool’s Day” or the ending of “Christmas Evil” aka “You Better Watch Out”? Well, the way that ending is so off-putting to viewers is the same way those parody-prone moments infuriate me.) If a filmmaker makes a creative choice in a film that ruins it for me, then I have the right to rate it accordingly.

            And you also have to take into consideration another aspect that’s a little abstract: If “Jan Gel” does something stupid in the course of its runtime, well, no big surprise. Par for the course, right? But when an otherwise very smart, very well made film does something stupid (something uncharacteristic and unworthy of itself), it’s more egregious and tragic. And I have to penalize it accordingly. Such was the case with “The Conjuring” for me.

            The last point I wanted to tackle from your provocative response pertains to your thoughts on the way my rating reflects on other people and their opinions of the film… This is even simpler:

            The only people who could potentially, rightfully take offense to a film critic’s ratings would be those who made the film. I could understand how a critical attack might feel like a personal attack, especially when the filmmaker invests years and thousands of dollars in a creative endeavor meant to feed his or her family. I can understand why that might sting a bit…

            But why would a fellow horror fan feel personally attacked or slapped in the face just because my rating differs from his? People don’t consult a film critic hoping that the critic will agree with them; we hope that critics will not be afraid to be honest about their reaction to movies.

            If you love a film and I don’t, does that mean you love it any less? My feelings on a film don’t affect your position on that film, nor are they a reflection toward you (or anybody else). They are simply a reflection of my opinions on the film itself.

            Would it make sense if all of us horror fans decided that we had to all reach the same number rating (plus or minus one), before we can feel comfortable with one another’s opinions?

            And by the way, some people would rate “The Conjuring” a 9 out of 10. OK. So, is “Halloween” a 10? Then are they telling me that “Halloween” is only 1 point better than “The Conjuring”? (I rated “Halloween” an 8.5, so that should help you put my 5.5 for “The Conjuring” in perspective, according to my reckoning of both films.)

            What say you now, Sir?

            Much love,
            Jay of the Dead

            P.S. Thanks for setting the record straight on my actual rating.

  9. You guys, I AM SO EXCITED to hear about you doing all the Friday the 13th movies as it is my favorite horror series of the big three (Part 2 is my personal favorite/ Ginny is my favorite final girl). I have nothing insightful to say except it was another wonderful episode! Thanks for the content as always!

  10. With regards to Jason and Josh’s discussion in which Josh advocates the use of found footage elements in conventional films as being a perfectly acceptable and interesting directorial choice, would “Cannibal Holocaust” be a good example? There’s a fair quantity of “found footage” in that movie but it exists within in a framework which doesn’t purport to be anything other than fictional. The “found footage” certainly adds to the films sense of realism and grittiness but it’s not trying to deceive the audience into believing that what they’re seeing is actually real (kind of ironic considering the subsequent legal investigation into the whereabouts of the actors) so the addition of non-diegetic music doesn’t detract from the film and in fact adds a huge amount of emotional impact to the events documented by the film crew.

  11. Broke down and watched Found. I agree that there was great care put in by someone who loves horror movies. The acting wasn’t very good, I had a hard time believing who the killer was. I really wanted to like this film. I give it a 5 low priority rental, with better actors it could have been a 7 or higher.

  12. Just got done watching Housebound. I really liked it. Great story that had some twists to it, good cast, fun movie. I’m gonna buy it. I give it an 8.

  13. First time poster here. I love everything about this podcast! I just listened to the most recent podcast you guys put out (the one with your top 10 horror movies of 2014) and it inspired me to re-listen to this episode and listen to the spoilers about the Babadook (which I initially avoided as I had not seen the film yet). I definitely agree with Josh’s interpretation of the film, and I feel like viewing the movie through that lens easily makes it the best horror film of the year. I believe Jay asked where the term “The Babadook” comes from. Now this is probably baseless speculation, but on my third re-watch of the film I realized that “Babadook” is an anagram for “A Bad Book”. Thought that was pretty cool! Anyway, thanks for all the hard work you guys put into this podcast! It is much appreciated!

    -Mr. Driftwood
    “I am the Devil, and I am here to do the Devil’s work”

  14. Well I hope you guys are happy lol it’s been months since this episode aired and yet I have to revisit it every so often. It’s very hard finding a theater showing an independent horror movie around Savannah TN without driving from Memphis or Nashville.BUT on your recommendations alone (I trust you guys this much) I have preordered the special edition Blu Ray from Amazon. I get chills simply from your descriptions of this film, the trailer itself disturbs me on a deep level to the point I have had 3 Babadook nightmares to date and haven’t seen anything other than the trailers. Whether or not I will give this a 10 is yet to be determined but i have high hopes for since I haven’t even seen it but am very very darkened by it

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  16. Hello gentlemen! I have been going through your archives and I finally watched The Babadook last night. It was not at all what I thought it was going to be. It was terrifying, disturbing and scary. I absolutely believe this was a psychological thriller more than a supernatural one. First of all, I think that the mother wrote the book “The Babadook”. Secondly, I think the “monster” was the mother’s depression, anxiety and stress that was waiting to explode from her. This movie was so raw and honest, I have never seen anything like it. I think of all of the real life horror stories of mothers killing their children and I wonder if this movie is a manifestation of those. Anyway, I was really excited to hear that you got the same from the movie that I did (that the mom was the monster). Except you Dr. Shock! Lol Watch it again. :)
    Jay when you told the story of your father’s passing, it gave me a piercing pain in my stomach. I felt so bad for you, although clearly you were just trying to convey what the movie brought up for you. I love how you all share personal stories.

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