See the Spooky-Ass Short Film That Inspired Jennifer Kent’s Upcoming “The Babadook” – “Monster” (2005)

So,  as you may know, The Babadook, the debut feature from talented Aussie film-maker Jennifer Kent, is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming horror releases of the year. When it was screened at Sundance, audiences and critics alike knew they’d just seen something unique, special …and pretty goddamned frightening.

Monster, the short film that was basically the seed of The Babadook, won several awards –the full list is here— at short film festivals. We’ve heard that the tone and theme of Monster are very similar to the upcoming feature-length film, and though we haven’t seen Babadook, we have seen enough clips and trailers to be able to confirm that. It has a very spooky, gothic, fairy-tale tone (kind of in the same way the deeply frightening 2013 film Mama did, though we’re pretty sure–no offense, Mr. Babadook– Mama is the one that will forever haunt our nightmares), and to us, the visuals evoke early Tim Burton a little.

So if you’re as amped-up about Babadook as we are–it’s on our list of Ten Most Anticipated Horror Films for the last half of 2014*– turn out the lights, put on your headphones, and take a gander at Jennifer Ken’s “Monster” below. The only version on You Tube has Russian subtitles, but since there is very little dialogue, it shouldn’t distract you. If you MUST see it without subtitles, you can; here’s a link to the short film on Vimeo.

Monster was screened at over 40 festivals worldwide, including Telluride Film Festival, Montreal, Slamdance, SXSW, Aspen Shortsfest, Palm Springs, Karlovy Vary and Sydney Film Festival.  We have yet to see a bad review of it (or Babadook, for that matter). The short film was also included in the Kickstarter campaign;  of The Babadook’s modest budget, $30,071 was raised via Kickstarter. Most of the funds raised from Kickstarter were channelled toward the art department (source: IMDB).

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While we’re at it, here’s the latest, full-length trailer for The Babadook. It’s clear they’re keeping the atmosphere –and the scares– from the short you just saw.

The movie will have its UK debut in the upcoming Film4 FrightFest in London, and this is the official description:

REPULSION meets ‘The Gruffalo’ in writer/director Jennifer Kent’s Sundance acclaimed début feature as the unresolved traumas of a conflicted mother and disturbed son manifest as a malevolent entity threatening to consume them both. Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son, Sam (Daniel Henshall), have had a raw deal in life. Her husband Oskar died six years prior while driving her to the hospital pregnant with Sam, and his birthday is a particularly painful reminder. But now things worsen dramatically. Samuel’s been having nightmares, and when a mysterious pop-up children’s book appears on his shelf titled ‘Mister Babadook’, he is finally able to put a name to the terror.
No official US release date yet, though we hear vague rumors of Fall 2014. IFC Midnight will be releasing it, last we heard.
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*We split that article up into two parts; part 2 is still pending and Babadook will be on that upcoming half.

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ABCs of Death Contest – “T is for Thank You” (Horror Boom’s Top Picks)

OK! You remember the “26th Director” contest to be included in The ABCs of Death, I hope, sponsored by Drafthouse? You can read my initial article here (which includes the winning short, Lee Hardcastle’s “T is for Toilet”. I changed it up a little bit and instead of doing five per post (4 from the top twenty, then one runner-up) I’m now doling one out at a time- with no runners up. So nine more posts, nine more shorts, and I can actually finish this series before the actual movie is released. I also tried to mix it up and not put all the really dark nasty ones in one list and spread them out.

This is a great one, and I wish I could embed it so you didn’t have to click. Still, I highly recommend this short, titled “T is for Thank You,” directed by Gemma Fleming and Alex Mercado. It’s really too bad they couldn’t do a second movie with, what, 20-25 picks for the letter T? T is for Toilet is genius and deserved to be in the feature film, but that still left a couple dozen that really deserve a wider audience besides the internet.

Click here to check out T is for Thank You, listed on the Alamo Drafthouse Contest Page (where I found and watched every entry, which I realized was over 160 after it was too late because I was through half of them and had already committed). More entries are coming soon!