Posts Tagged ‘child rearing’


Fear the thing that knocks in the night: “The Babadook”

October 7, 2014


Children’s books are terrifying, aren’t they? I don’t know about the ones they write today, but the ones I had to read a kid seemed designed solely to impress upon children that the Universe is a cold, merciless place, and that there’s just as deep and black of a void inside all our hearts. I mean, we had the Shel Silverstein books which were a wonderful way to introduce kids to the concept of LSD (here are some insipid rhymes, stark drawings, and a backflap photo of the author who looks like he should be roaming the desert in his VW van in search of “fresh offerings”). Or, when I was a bit younger, my parents bought me a Dr. Seuss book called Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are, in which the doc seems to be trying to assuage his white guilt (and possibly the guilt over all those racist Japanese propaganda tracts he drew in World War 2) by inventing whimsical horrific circumstances you should be glad you don’t have to deal with. Because children are never too young to learn about existential terror. But the titular book in the tremendously satisfying Australian horror film, The Babadook, is terrifying in a more direct way: it forecasts your despoilment and tragic death.
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