Monster, the short film that inspired The Babadook, by Jennifer Kent (VIDEO).

Watch the Creepy Short Film That Gave Rise to the Terrifying Babadook

Watch the Creepy Short Film That Gave Rise to the Terrifying Babadook

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 8 2014 3:43 PM

Watch the Creepy Short Film That Gave Rise to the Terrifying Babadook

babadook

Photo by Causeway Films/Smoking Gun Productions.

The Babadook has been praised as one of the best horror films in years. Dana Stevens calls it “an example of my favorite kind of monster movie,” and no less than William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, has described as the “most terrifying movie” he’s ever seen (after name-checking scary classics Psycho, Alien, and Diabolique). There’s good reason for all this enthusiasm: Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent’s story of a woman’s fraught relationship with her young son and a monster that haunts their old house is legitimately unsettling, using great cinematic storytelling to get at some powerful ideas about motherhood.

If you’ve seen the movie and can’t get enough, or if you want to get a 10-minute taste of what you’d be in for, check out Kent’s short 2005 film Monster, which you can watch for free above. (Babadook, meanwhile, is now available on demand.) Kent has called Monsterbaby Babadook,” and it does offer a nice glimpse of the early origins of the feature film. While it doesn’t have all the emotional layers of the longer work, it does create a similarly disturbing atmosphere—and some genuine scares.

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Aisha Harris is a Slate culture writer and host of the Slate podcast Represent.