2 Horror Films that Depict the Terrors of Motherhood: ‘The Babadook’ Wasn’t the First

The Babadook graphic

There’s a movie that’s recently caught the attention of horror fans and mainstream movie fans alike – “The Babadook.” The reason it has struck audiences with terror and awe? It does a great job displaying the inner turmoil a single, grieving mother faces when taking care of her overactive (aka, normal) kid.

While I didn’t enjoy this film nearly as much as my horror-loving peers (I thought there were a few big plot and character problems), I agree that “The Babadook,” in general, is a great addition to the collection of horror films depicting the terrors of motherhood.

This film’s release got me thinking about other iconic female characters — specifically mothers — in horror films. The following are a few of my favorite films featuring messed-up mommies that took the screen long before “The Babadook’s” Essie Davis.

1. “The Brood”

This David Cronenberg film tells the story of a psycho-brain doctor who has developed less than conventional techniques for treating his patients. After secluding his patients for days — weeks — on end, he helps them “show” their internal hurt… physically. His patents’ physical manifestations form in different ways. Nola Carveth’s physical hurt is transformed into an external uterus that births demon babies who enjoy killing people who have relationships with her daughter. While this film is filled with a lot of shock and awe, it also touches on moms who feel less than worthy of motherhood, and fear losing touch with humanity — and reality.

2. “The Exorcist”

While this classic is better known for its stellar interpretation of possession, the film also expertly shows the inner turmoil and terror a mom who can’t communicate with her kid experiences. No one understands why Regan is acting the way she is — there’s no detectable illness or mental issues. Chris, Regan’s mom, is taxed with keeping her cool as best she can all while trying to maintain the love she has for her daughter who is, basically, no longer there.

If you’re looking for other horror films with similar story lines, watch the following:

“Friday the 13th”
“Rosemary’s Baby”
“Funny Games”

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Image: The Babadook Movie’s Photos, Facebook

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.