The Babadook was a 2004 horror film directed by Jennifer Kent released in Australia but became popular worldwide. Starring Essie Davis, it told the story of a top-hatted demon who haunts a house.
Over the course of its popularity, the character of the Babadook, for strange and somewhat mysterious reasons, eventually became an LGBTQ icon. Per The Inquisitr, the “Gay Babadook” meme appears to have originated when someone posted a screenshot showing that Netflix miscategorized the movie as an LGBTQ film, although others have asserted that the screenshot may not have been legitimate.
At any rate, the internet took it from there, and eventually, Babadook iconography, per Indiewire, became a staple of Pride parades, Halloween costumes, and much more. The film itself doesn’t appear to establish anything about The Babadook’s sexual orientation, but enthusiasts of the film have put forward some theories about the connection, including one that the Babadook is simply a gay man who wants to live life peacefully in Australia. He even appears to literally come out of closets on a couple of occasions.
Now, just in time for this year’s Pride month, the LGBTQ community will have another way to combine Pride with the movie.
Shout Factory announced this week that it is releasing a Pride Special Edition Blu-ray of The Babadook, in conjunction with IFC Midnight. The disc, priced at $19.99, is available exclusively from Shout Factory.
“Thanks to the unpredictable world of social media, viral videos and passionate fans, The Babadook became an unexpected and embraced LGBTQ mascot in 2017 and even carried over into last year as well. This year, we fling the closet doors open even further to cement his status!” the description of the release says.
The release includes “Pride Month-themed slipcover packaging” over the existing Babadook Blu-ray, with only 2,500 being made. Proceeds from the Blu-ray release will be donated to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. A theater in Los Angeles, the Arena Cinelounge, two years ago held a series of screenings of the film called Babashook: From Monster to Cultural Icon, with the proceeds also going to LGBTQ charities, per The AV Club.
Jennifer Kent, the director of the movie, didn’t address the movie’s gay following for a long time after its release, but finally did an interview earlier this year with Bloody Disgusting.
“Of course, I love that story,” Kent said, while promoting her new movie The Nightengale at the Sundance Film Festival in January. “I think it’s crazy and just kept him alive. I thought ah, you bastard. He doesn’t want to die so he’s finding ways to become relevant.”