Episode 104. Dark Ages: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and Relic (2020)

Whether you call them Hagsploitation, Psycho-Biddy or just plain Elder Horror, growing old is a scary prospect and horror has mined those depths to great effect. Andrea and Alex dive into the murky waters of gender and aging, the burden of care and whether the cycle can be broken.


Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Dir. Robert Aldrich, 1962.
Relic. Dir. Natalie Erika James, 2020.


Grande Dame Guignol Cinema: a History of Hag Horror from Baby Jane to Mother, by Peter Shelley (1962).|

You Must Remember This, Episode 91. Karina Longworth’s deep-dive into the production and reception history of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

A Framework for Understanding Old-Age Vulnerabilities. A paper that lays out the multiple challenges facing families and an aging population.

The Costly, Painful, Lonely Burden of Care. From the New York Times: a look at the cost of invisible care.

The Double Standard of Aging, by Susan Sontag. “Aging means a humiliating process of gradual sexual disqualification.”

“Must the Players Keep Young?”: Early Hollywood’s Cult of Youth by Heather Addison. The origin story of Hollywood’s obsession with youth.

“Facing the horror – becoming an old maid,” from the book A Table for One: a Critical Reading of Singlehood, Gender and Time, by Kinneret Lahad.

Bitch media: Aging as the ultimate cinematic horror by Alana Prochuk.

The Alzheimer’s Society: an informative resource – consider donating!


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2 thoughts on “Episode 104. Dark Ages: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) and Relic (2020)

  1. Soooooo excited for this episode! I don’t usually have “mathemagical” birthdays where a number freaks me out but 60 is coming close. This topic is just what I need to find a way to ease into old . . .

  2. Anne Ostrom says:

    This episode resonated as we have a loved one now living with dementia, likely escalated by the loneliness and fear of isolation over the past two covid-19 years. Your discussion also brought to mind the constant dread of The Humans. Thanks for touting the Alzheimer’s society. Our medical system is not ready for the coming elder storm,
    but Alzheimer’s is a great resource.

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