Photo: Entertainment One/IFC Films
In a series of articles hitting the Internet over the past week, something surreal is being served up as though it is perfectly normal. A repugnant creature that terrifies and possesses its victims in a 2014 Australian horror movie has, for some reason, been adopted as an “LGBT icon”. The headlines are almost breathless with excitement:
“The Babadook: how the horror movie monster became a gay icon”- The Guardian
“The Secret Gay History of the Babadook”- NYMag.com
“People Are Dressing Up As The Babadook For Pride And It’s Beautiful” – Buzzfeed
And perhaps most explicitly:
“How the Babadook became the LGBTQ icon we didn’t know we needed: How terrorizing a white Australian family became an act of queer defiance.” – Vox
The plot synopsis for the film on Wikipedia is predictably disturbing. A widow whose husband died in an accident as he drove her to give birth to her now six-year old son begins seeing the child’s behavior change as he grows obsessed with an imaginary monster. The synopsis continues:
One night, Sam asks his mother to read a pop-up storybook: Mister Babadook. It describes the titular monster, the Babadook, a tall pale-faced humanoid in a top hat with pointed fingers who torments its victims after they become aware of its existence. Amelia is disturbed by the book and its mysterious appearance, while Sam becomes convinced that the Babadook is real. Sam’s persistence about the Babadook leads Amelia to often have sleepless nights as she tries to comfort him.
Soon after, strange events occur: doors open and close mysteriously by themselves, strange sounds are heard and Amelia finds glass shards in her food. She attributes the events to Sam’s behaviour, but he blames the Babadook. Amelia rips up the book and disposes of it. At Sam’s cousin Ruby’s birthday party, Ruby bullies Sam for not having a father, in response to which he pushes her out of her tree house and breaks her nose in two places. Amelia’s sister Claire admits she cannot bear Sam to which Amelia takes great offence. On the drive home, Sam has another vision of the Babadook and suffers a febrile seizure, after which Amelia makes a successful plea for sedatives to a paediatrician.
The following morning, Amelia finds the Mister Babadook book reassembled on the front door step. New words taunt her by saying that the Babadook will become stronger if she continues to deny its existence, containing pop-ups of her killing her dog Bugsy, Samuel and then herself. Terrified, Amelia burns the book and runs to the police after a disturbing phone call. However, Amelia has no proof of the stalking, and when she then sees the Babadook’s suit hung up behind the front desk, she leaves. Amelia starts to become more isolated and shut-in, being more impatient, shouting at Samuel for ‘disobeying’ her constantly, and having frequent visions of the Babadook once again.
One night, Amelia sees a vision of Oskar, who agrees to return if she gives him Sam. Fleeing, Amelia is stalked by the Babadook through the house until it takes over her and finally possesses her, breaking Bugsy’s neck, and attempting to kill Sam. Eventually luring her into the basement, Sam knocks her out. Amelia awakens, tied up in the basement, with a terrified Sam nearby. When she tries to strangle him, he lovingly caresses her face, causing her to throw up an inky black substance, an action which seemingly expels the Babadook. When Sam reminds Amelia that “you can’t get rid of the Babadook”, an unseen force drags him into Amelia’s bedroom. After saving Sam, Amelia is forced by the Babadook to rewatch a vision of her husband’s death, to her utter despair. She then furiously confronts the Babadook, and is then able to make the beast retreat into the basement, where she locks the door behind it.
After the ordeal, Amelia and Samuel have managed to recover. Amelia is attentive and caring toward him, encouraging him with the weapons he makes and being impressed at Sam’s magic tricks. They gather earthworms in a bowl and Amelia takes them to the basement, where the Babadook resides. She places the bowl on the floor for the Babadook to eat. However, as the beast tries to attack her, Amelia calms it down, and it retreats to the corner taking the earthworms along with it. Amelia returns to the yard to celebrate Sam’s birthday. [emphasis added]
Pleasant, isn’t it? And yet in the sentences I emphasized, you can see the theme beginning to emerge: You can’t deny the existence of gays. If you try to ignore us we’ll only assert ourselves more. You may run from us at first, but eventually you will be taken over by our cause, whether you like it or not. You can’t ever put us back in the closet.
Am I reading too much into it? I don’t think so. Why else would the gay “movement” adopt something so repellent to represent them? The Babadook has been showing up at “Gay Pride” events this year, the ironic juxtaposition of the words and image on signs like this one apparently lost on the crowd:
So how did this happen?
Most likely, the film’s monster was intended to be a visceral representation of the oppressive nature of grief or depression. But like refracted light, LGBT advocates co-opted The Babadook, taking to the Internet to identify it as a gay metaphor (warning: some coarse language at the link):
One of the earliest, most popular queer readings of The Babadook surfaced in October 2016, when Tumblr user Ianstagram posted a thought complaint: “Whenever someone says the Babadook isn’t openly gay it’s like?? Did you even watch the movie???”
A couple of months later, BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick posted a somewhat mocking appraisal of Tumblr’s “Babadiscourse” on Twitter. But Ianstagram defended his reading: “A movie about a gay man who just wants to live his life in a small Australian suburb?” he wrote. “It may be ‘just a movie’ to you, but to the LGBT community, the Babadook is a symbol of our journey.”
The question on every sane person’s mind is: Why?
Why use something horrifying and evil to represent your cause, particularly when you’ve been trying for quite some time to shrug off accusations that your cause is…horrifying and evil?
The Babadook isn’t a nuisance. It isn’t cute. It isn’t even a run-of-the-mill monster. It is an active threat. It terrorizes a widow and her young son. It causes violence. It eventually takes possession of a human being, compelling her to do horrible things.
In other words, it is essentially a demon.
As bizarre as it seems, a social movement that promotes sodomy and other depravity and corrupting our youth with their ideology has now chosen as an icon a creature that appears and acts like a demon visiting torture upon the innocent. The logic behind identifying with such an abhorrent being makes a perverse sort of sense, but it always worries me when the enemy becomes too obvious and overt in making his presence known rather than hiding in the shadows.
Then again, maybe they’re just too far gone to care what anyone else thinks. St. Peter Damian asserts that the sin of sodomy “surpasses the enormity of all others” because:
“Without fail, it brings death to the body and destruction to the soul. It pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the mind, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart, and gives entrance to the devil, the stimulator of lust. It leads to error, totally removes truth from the deluded mind … It opens up hell and closes the gates of paradise … It is this vice that violates temperance, slays modesty, strangles chastity, and slaughters virginity … It defiles all things, sullies all things, pollutes all things …
“This vice excludes a man from the assembled choir of the Church … it separates the soul from God to associate it with demons…. Unmindful of God, he also forgets his own identity. This disease erodes the foundation of faith, saps the vitality of hope, dissolves the bond of love. It makes way with justice, demolishes fortitude, removes temperance, and blunts the edge of prudence.
If you’ve listened to my podcasts (here and here) with Joseph Sciambra, you have some idea of the darkness into which those in the LGBT “community” inevitably sink. It takes them to places — physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally — that must make horror movies pale in comparison. Perhaps to them, The Babadook is a relatively harmless figure, no more frightening than their own reflection.
Joseph’s testimony about the importance of his father praying the rosary for him to come out of the darkness is a powerful and moving story of another kind. It reminds us that we, too, should be praying and asking Our Lady to obtain the grace to free these poor, wounded souls from the clutches of the enemy and the ravages of one of the sins that “cries out to heaven for vengeance”.
There is no end in sight to the war against purity, and it will continue to get worse before it gets better. May God have mercy on our souls.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.