The Horrific Baby Name Samara

Samara Morgan (played by Daveigh Chase) in “The Ring” (2002)

Halloween is a few days away, so here’s a pair of horror-imbued baby names, each of which got a boost from the same scary film.

That film was The Ring, released in October of 2002. The film’s main character was a journalist dealing with a cursed videotape (that killed anyone who watched it). But the film’s memorable character — as in all good horror films — was the villain: the vengeful spirit of a little girl named Samara (sah-MAHR-ah) Morgan. Samara was played by young actress Daveigh (dah-VAY) Chase.

The year after The Ring came out, the name Samara saw a steep rise in usage, and the name Daveigh debuted in the U.S. data:

Samara usageDaveigh usage
2005825 baby girls (rank: 380th)12 baby girls
2004857 baby girls (rank: 365th)21 baby girls
2003656 baby girls (rank: 456th)22 baby girls [debut] [peak]
2002242 baby girls (rank: 929th)unlisted
2001261 baby girls (rank: 883rd)unlisted

The Ring did well at the box office, and it was followed by two successful sequels: The Ring Two (released in March of 2005) and Rings (February of 2017).

Daveigh Chase was not actively involved in either sequel, so her name didn’t see any subsequent boosts in the data. But Samara Morgan was central to both films (of course) and we can see the corresponding peaks in usage of “Samara” in 2006 and 2018:

(The rise that began in 2016 may have been kicked off by Australian actress Samara Weaving, who was being called a “newcomer” in Hollywood around that time.)

The Ring was a remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu, which was based on the 1991 Japanese novel Ringu by Koji Suzuki. In the novel and the original film, the little girl was named Sadako Yamamura. I couldn’t find any information on why the American version of the character was renamed “Samara” specifically, but my guess is that “Samara” was chosen simply because it was a 3-syllable S-name like Sadako.

What are your thoughts on the name Samara? Would you use it (despite the horrific association)?

Source: The Ring (2002 film) – Wikipedia

P.S. Other horror-filled names we’ve discussed before include Rhoda, Thedy, Tippi, Pleshette, Marnie, Annabelle, Aristede, Jamison, Josette, and Angelique.

4 thoughts on “The Horrific Baby Name Samara

  1. I’m not into horror flicks anymore, like I was as a teen and early 20s. I think life horrifies me enough these days haha
    But I do love the flow and sound of Samara. I’d put an ‘h’ at the end Samarah, I’m silly, but it just looks better to my eye 3 letters on the left and right perhaps, with an a in the middle.
    Ah, well, I do like and it would fit into several book genres. Sounds a little ‘old fashioned’ so historical romance, and still contemporary for a female cop in a dystopian city, or a warrior maiden in a fantasy novel… even sci fi lol
    Thanks for sharing , Nancy. I’d’ve never heard of it otherwise I think.

  2. I’m happy you like this one!

    I could especially see “Samara” as a warrior maiden. But that might be because it’s reminding me of the word samurai. :)

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