Discoveries from case study – The Babadook

Through the case studies I have researched into, there are a few things that can said to highlight the reasons they make us feel a certain way.  Each case study was picked as it makes you feel a certain emotion.

Original case study here.

The Babadook – When watching the scene from The Babadook we feel scared.  The reason the sound design adds to this is because The Babadook has a distinctive sound whenever we know it is present.  It sounds like a swarm of cockroaches on the ground combined with a wheel spinning.  The reason I feel this sound design works effectively is because we are always told as we grow up that bugs are dirty and dangerous, so the familiar sound of cockroaches makes our skin crawl at the thought that they are all around you.  The clawing at the door that we hear in the clip also makes us uneasy, even though it is originally only a small dog clawing at the door, it is very low in pitch and drawn out, making it sound like a much larger animal.  An animal at that size with claws big enough to make a noise like that one would definitely be able to do a lot of damage to you, which makes us fearful, especially after the dog is let in and we know that it is The Babadook.  The Babadook always introduces himself sonically by groaning his name, Baba badookdookdook.  When he does this it is a growly inhale, as opposed to him talking, which sounds inhuman rightfully so.  When we hear this inhale, it is usually getting more louder and aggressive as it is getting angrier.  This is done to make it appear as it is getting closer to you using your natural inter-aural level difference (IAD), which uses the volume of a sound in relation to your ears and head to identify where a sound source is, the basic premise is the louder the sound is the closer the source is.  So all of this combined, the reason that this scene from The Babadook makes us scared is that we are hearing primal sounds of animals and bugs which we are instinctively programmed to fear combined with unnatural humanoid noises manifesting these sounds.  These two combined sound design choices makes us scared of The Babadook in particular as it makes us uncertain of the genealogy of the creature coming to attack the woman, as well as the fact that we believe it is moving closer and closer.  In turn making us believe we are getting closer and closer to being attacked by The Babadook.


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