S01E01 Frame By Frame Revisit: “The Babadook”

Stephen Radford ♫♪
4 min readMar 28, 2024

Andy Lewin and Stephen Radford talk about the Australian-made psychological / chiller “Babadook” — we go on a rampage through “trailer to feature” comparisons first, successfully with The Babadook, and then we move to those where the trailer held out more promise than the movie could ever deliver: here we talk, Godzilla (1998) Prometheus (2012), Superman Returns (2006). After that, we go on a spin on the whole superhero genre. Will Stephen ever get into the Marvel universe? Will Andy get his wish and finally get to review Guardians of the Galaxy?

Podcast Overview

For every podcast revisit, we transcribed and highlighted time codes and moments from each episode of Frame By Frame. Those with supported revisits will have keys as shown below. You can follow the keys while you listen to the podcast.

00:00:00 — Music intro.

00:01:25 — The Babadook Trailer.

00:03:55 — The book on the doorstep — U.S. trailer difference. “When a trailer makes you think in a specific way.” — “Trailers make us wired with the readiness to be disappointed.”

00:10:45 — If this was a Tim Burton film — splitting Johnny Depp and Tim Burton up.

00:11:45 — Monster, the original short film.

00:17:00 — The power of scene transitions.

00:19:30 — Acting in comparison to “The Blair Witch Project”

00:20:30 — Exposition free movie. Origin of the book. Backstory personal. Nothing about the book is explained. The Morgan Freeman Exposition train isn’t present in this movie.

00:21:40 — Endless rubbish in the cinema (quiet quiet, bang!) and so some people who are used to trash movies found this boring… why are they bored with this? Nothing bouncing around the room. It’s a thinkers horror.

00:27:00 — Usually, films where the trailer was exceptional, the film ends up a dissapointment. (with the Babadook, we wanted to see it based on the trailer and it was brilliant) a rare treat.

00:31:00 — Andy has a list of great trailers versus bad movies. “Star Wars Episode One”, “Lady in the Water” — time ticking, “Superman Returns”…

00:37:10 — The Superhero Conundrum, Spiderman, Batman… etc. Andy enjoys them, Stephen, not so much. Challenge to have Stephen get into the Marvel Movie Mash.

00:49:00 — END — Liquid Storage Bags.

“The Babadook” (2014) RevisitTrax

There aren’t many examples of when a short film gets turned into a major motion picture. It’s rare to have the same director from that short be assigned the project to direct that feature. The Babadook is one of those rare gems that did just that!

This short film titled “Monster” provided enough leverage to have the feature made. Jennifer Kent’s ability to take a short and make it into such an extraordinary feature is rare.

Here are the tweets (thoughts, ruminations) posted during the revisit and rewatch of the film, “The Babadook:

  • @StephenPRadford : Essie Davis Looks a lot like Meryl Streep in the opening shot of her accident dream sequence.
  • @StephenPRadford : Great use of restricted hues… blues and yellows… Australia never looked like this.
  • @StephenPRadford : Even Canberra was rich with warm colours. This doesn’t look like it was shot in Adelaide, South Australia.
  • @StephenPRadford : Mother doesn’t look lucky to have anything in this movie. Such a great performance from Essie.
  • @StephenPRadford : I wonder how Nicholas Roeg would have shot this movie.
  • @StephenPRadford : We didn’t have our son when I worked on this podcast. Revisiting the Babadook as a parent is so relatable.
  • @StephenPRadford : Saying as a parent, the Babadook is relatable… but my experience is nothing to that of single parents.
  • @StephenPRadford : Nobody wants to see a tantrum. That’s why they transition to the aftermath. Great editing.
  • @StephenPRadford : The young guy from the mother’s workplace… don’t think that one worked out.
  • @StephenPRadford : Fear, pain and memories are obviously the mother’s core. I wonder if Essie also had nightmares.
  • @StephenPRadford : Just a splash of colour in the house would have made things much better. Paint a rainbow.
  • @StephenPRadford : Watching it for the second time, I can’t help but see the Babadook character in all corners of the screen.
  • @StephenPRadford : A whole lot of nobody likes anybody in the treehouse sequence. “she wouldn’t believe me”.
  • @StephenPRadford : “Why can’t you just be normal” such a scary performance piece right here. Freaky stuff.
  • @StephenPRadford : Only at the 40 minute mark. So much happened already. Definately darker seeing from a parent perspective.
  • @StephenPRadford : It’s the book… that freaky book and the knock at the door. Doesn’t take much. It’s the little things.
  • @StephenPRadford : I remember when we reviewed: mother begs for sleeping pills for her son and the relief, when she gets them.
  • @StephenPRadford : So after having bababook nightmares, she watches those freaky silent movies. What happened to channel 9?
  • @StephenPRadford : The fun of watching other parents struggling in the restaurant… pure schadenfreude.
  • @StephenPRadford : There’s someone in the house. It’s Ikea. They want to make the place look bright and happy again.
  • @StephenPRadford : I missed the part when the dog is watching over the son. Some humour!
  • @StephenPRadford : Mother finds her husband in the basement. This is so joyful and warm and…. what could possibly go wrong?
  • @StephenPRadford : Essie’s descent into madness is incredible.
  • @StephenPRadford : If I were to have a halloween film night, I don’t think this would make people stay long after.
  • @StephenPRadford : The Shining, Close Encounters, Exorcist, Starry Eyes. it’s all in The Babadook.

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-STEPHEN RADFORD

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Stephen Radford ♫♪

Author, writer Editor, and Story Developer. Podcast, Radio, Film, Music, and Performance — workshop tutor and professional writing mentor.