The Mixmaster's Horror Movie Countdown, October 12: Rosemary's Baby
In 1968 Roman Polanski produced a bit of magic that remains one of the best pieces of film to combine the quiet and the horrific.
Now, before you say that we should never comment on his work, Rosemary's Baby was filmed and released before both the Manson Family's murder of Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, and well before the sexual assault that keeps Polanski barred from this country to this day. As a young person, I never knew about the news surrounding Polanksi the first time I saw -- or read Ira Levin's novel -- Rosemary and her odd neighbors, so my memory of it, the acting and the directing is what puts it here.
First of all, the singing. Mia Farrow could not have provided a creepier opening soundtrack. From that very first "la la la" you are roped into unease and sweaty pits and looking over your shoulder and begging your movie watching buddy to just hold it until you can pause it and both take a pee break together. The first time I saw it, I sat on my hands and rocked slightly, pretty much remembering nothing but the melody of her "lullaby."
While Guy (played upsettingly well by John Cassavetes) and Rosemary are setting up house and Guy is fighting for acting parts, Ro makes friends with a young girl in the laundry room. But then, the friend, she dies. You know, as you'd expect given the singing -- by Mia Farrow and the cov--, uh, people next door.
Their neighbors, Roman and Minnie (I heart Ruth Gordon forever), take Guy and the diminutive Ro under their wings -- what sort of wings you find out later. Let's just say you don't want to leave a glove at their house our anything. Guy's personality changes and he becomes rather aggressive, Minnie is pushy but you just really don't catch on until Rosemary does, and what is going on with the doctors in New York?
Side note: Charles Grodin was super hot back then, but apparently you couldn't trust the guy.
For the most memorable scene (no, not "what have they done to it's eyes," so ha!), jump.
Most Memorable Scene: Every time I think of Rosemary's Baby, I see the part where Mia Farrow is all crouched near the towel closet trying to figure out what. the. fuck. and behind her, just past her frame of vision -- the neighbors and their posse are just creeping -- full-on knees-high creeping -- from one side of the hallway into the other door. It scares the bejeezus out of me every time. But it's no where to be found on the Internets. There's also the scene in the phone booth, when you're hoping like hell that Dr. Sapperstein IS NOT going to turn around and see her inside. But alas, that one's no online either.
So, there's this (which is sufficiently spooky enough, in actuality):
And if not, well, here's the trailer:
The Mixmaster's Horror Movie Countdown October 1: Halloween October 2: Antichrist October 3: Student Bodies October 4: Poltergeist October 5: Jaws October 6: Suspiria October 7: Scream October 8: The Fly October 9: Dead Alive October 10: Drag Me to Hell October 11: Se7en
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about arts and culture events in Dallas and offers you won't hear about anywhere else.