Last night's freaky double feature consisted of The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby. Because I wrote about The Exorcist last year in my E Is For Exorcism post, I've decided not to rehash what I said way back then. If you want to know my thoughts on this movie you can click the link and travel back in time to a year ago. That said, I stand by my statements that this movie is one of the freakiest ever made. For a film from 1973 it is surprisingly undated. The special effects have rather miraculously withstood the test of time. I give Linda Blair all the credit, that crucifix scene is ... disturbing.
Now, onto Rosemary and her bundle of joy.
Title: Rosemary's Baby
Synopsis: A young couple move into a new apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbours and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins controlling her life.
Tagline: Pray for Rosemary's baby.
Honestly, I don't think I've watched Rosemary's baby since 2006. No matter how much time passes, I always think of two things when I put it into rotation again. First, my mother - I'm reminded that she saw this movie in the theatre and she didn't enjoy it. And also, I think about how surprisingly good it is.
Let me address the fact that I know people hate Roman Polanski for the sexual abuse charges brought against him in 1977. Some people will refuse to watch this movie on principle. That's fine. All the power to you. I will not insist you see it or beret you if you don't. I do not agree with what the man did, but I cannot deny he makes good movies. The Pianist, Chinatown, Repulsion, The Tenant, Fearless Vampire Killers - I simply cannot name them all. And since I'd already seen four of these movies before I even learned of Polanski's indiscretion (Hey, the internet wasn't so popular back in the day, I didn't even have a cellphone in 2002!), I have decided to go ahead and continue to watch his films.
That said, like The Exorcist, I find this little gem of a movie incredibly undated. It is well executed and one of the best psychological thrillers I've ever seen. of its time. While a lot of movies from the seventies reek of terrible acting and horrible special effects, this one doesn't. This late sixties shining star exploits the talents of a pixie faced Mia Farrow, who does a phenomenal job at portraying the naive Rosemary, and who actually looks quite sickly through the whole film.
While I certainly don't want to give any spoilers, I have to say the best part of this movie is how normal Rosemary is portrayed in beginning. Then you are thrown into her decent into what feels like madness, but you cannot be a hundred percent certain of it because there's this nagging feeling in the back of you head that something simply isn't right. Not with her awkward husband. Or her nosy neighbours. The drinks she's being made. And the pain in her belly.
I myself haven't read Ira Levin's novel, which is this adapted from, but I imagine it leaves it open for the reader to decide whether what is happening is true, or simply Rosemary's over active imagination. The methodical pacing is deliberate and allows us to imagine what next will happen. Unlike a lot of horror films from later on and today, Polanski didn't need to shove a bunch of cheesy effects into this movie. Through pacing, dialogue, acting and the way it is filmed the viewer is left riveted to the film, on the edge of their seat, curious over what happens next.
Since I am always frank, there is one part of the movie that grates on my nerves. Guy Woodhouse. Rosemary's husband. He is so controlling and manipulative. Through the whole film, I wanted her to hit him upside the head with a frying pan! How he treated her drove me up the wall. I can't tell you how many times I said, "If someone every spoke to me like that they wouldn't have a tongue." I mean, after Rosemary goes to Vidal Sassoon and gets her hair cut, he asks, "What the hell is that? You actually paid for it?" Seriously! What a jerk.
This movie doesn't disappoint and I highly suggest giving it a go.
Go ahead and tell me that hair isn't adorable!