Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Escapism Essay: Creepy Ass Baby Monitors

Electronic Voice Phenomenon (“EVP”) is when mysterious voices or voice-like sounds can be heard through electronic audio devices. From Wikipedia:

“Paranormal explanations for the origin of EVP include living humans imprinting thoughts directly on an electronic medium through psychokinesis and communication by discarnate entities such as spirits, nature energies, beings from other dimensions, or extraterrestrials.”

Movies have been quick to utilize this phenomenon in horror films – there’s not one but two films completely dedicated to it.  I wanted to examine a specific offshoot of EVP that happens in films more often than one might think – creepy occurrences on baby monitors.

Let’s start with Insidious, the most recent film to feature a creepy ass baby monitor scene. See below.

Horrific, right? Insidious is terrifying for many, many reasons, but that scene might take the cake. The thought that someone – or in this case, something – could be up in your baby’s room whispering creepy nothings in its ears…yikes.

Paranormal Activity 2, another recent horror film, also features a creepy baby monitor scene.  Ali and Hunter, respective niece and nephew to Katie, the original film’s possessed protagonist, are playing in one of their home's bedrooms when Hunter gets spooked by something he sees in a closet and takes off. Ali, who has been filming up to this point, is forced to put the video camera down on the bed to take off after her little brother. While unattended, the camera records the baby monitor picking up some strange activity.

A different kind of ghostly baby monitor scene appears in the vastly underappreciated 1999 horror flick, Stir of Echoes. Kevin Bacon’s Tom Witzky gets hypnotized at a party and starts seeing and hearing a smorgasbord of supernatural terrors in his house. But one of the creepiest scenes features his young son, Jake.

It’s date night for Tom and he and his wife Maggie go out with some friends to a local sporting event. They hire a babysitter who quickly plops down on the couch, with a baby monitor to keep an ear on Jake nearby. 

The scene is creepy enough with Jake’s heavy, constant breathing on the baby monitor. But suddenly, his breathing stops. The babysitter holds the monitor close and Jake suddenly exclaims “YOU SCARED ME!” The ghost haunting Jake's house has woken him up, and the two begin to casually talk about the babysitter downstairs.

Ghost flicks aren’t the only films to utilize the creepy baby monitor. Remember the Wikipedia quote that mentions extraterrestrials? Signs, the 2002 film from M. Night Shyamalan, features a scene in which Morgan, son of Mel Gibson’s grieving widower Rev. Graham Hess, reveals that he’s using an old baby monitor to try and pick up on signals from visiting aliens.

But finally, the creepy baby monitor scene to end all creepy baby monitor scenes occurs in a film you probably haven’t even heard of – The Baby’s Room, a film practically dedicated to creepy ass baby monitors. The 2006 Spanish film – part of the “6 Films to Keep You Awake” series – revolves around a family that begins to notice strange things on their baby monitors. With this film, however, it isn’t just what they’re hearing – the movie features video baby monitors as well as the standard audio device, making the film even creepier.

The movie starts out a little slow and gets strange when it starts talking about Schrödinger's cat and evil twins, but it’s got some solid scares.

I might have to try out one of these baby monitors and see what all the fuss is about. Surely nothing scary will happen if I leave one in my bedroom and keep the other next to me while I rewatch Insidious


  1. That scene in Insidious scared the bejeesus outta me and just sent another shiver down my back rewatching that clip. A deep voice shouting is all it takes in a horror movie to scare me. And Stir of Echoes is an excellent film. Moral of this post... forget getting a baby monitor, just never let a baby out of your sight!!!

  2. I agree on Insidious. Best horror film in a while. I never ever see Stir of Echoes on anyone's favorite horror lists and honestly I forget about it a lot too but it truly is an awesome horror film.

    And I would go one step further how about just never have babies?! Kidding but when I think about those scenes...*shudder*

    Thanks for reading/commenting!

  3. Stir of Echoes is for sure vastly underappreciated. It had the great misfortune of being released just months after The Sixth Sense. Bummer.

    Great post, love the concept. Insidious was pretty damn freaky, a lot better than people gave it credit for.

  4. @Alex - Good point on The Sixth Sense. Too bad.

    I definitely agree on Insidious. Thanks for commenting!

  5. with the advancement of technology, we get things we wouldn't have seen in Hitchcock's Psycho or Rosemary's Baby. Hopefully the trick is not repeated too often, then its not so scary.
    I will have to check out the trailer of Insidious now with all the praise here ( :

  6. @moviesandsongs365 If you haven't seen Insidious, forget the trailer, just watch the movie! It's awesome and creepy.

    Thanks for commenting!

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  8. This is awesome Jody. Our room is far from Phoebe's but either Jacob or I hear her during the night. The visual picture is so clear! Gosh the technology is so good these days.

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