by Robin Ruinsky
They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy!
Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move into an old Gothic Manhattan apartment building with an unsavory reputation. An aura of evil hangs over the building according to their good friend Hutch, but Rosemary and Guy aren’t put off by the stories and rumors. This is their dream apartment, and no tales of murder, mayhem and covens of witches are going to stop them from moving in. Their next door neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet are friendly and helpful, more helpful than Rosemary could ever imagine. Suddenly Guy, a struggling actor, starts getting the parts he’s missed out on. An actor suddenly goes blind, paving the way for Guy to get his career on track. Things are going better than ever and Guy who had been reluctant to have a child is all for it much to Rosemary’s surprise and delight. But be careful what you wish for especially when your ambitious husband has become BFF’s with the creepy couple next door.
Close to her due date, fearing for the safety of her unborn child, Rosemary flees from her husband and their increasingly claustrophobic apartment. It has become more prison than home for Rosemary. The evidence is mounting that she’s surrounded by witches who want to take her baby. She takes a cab to the office of her obstetrician, Dr. Sapirstein. Maybe he can help her escape. But she finds out he’s part of the torment she’s trying to flee. She then goes to the office of Dr. Hill, a young obstetrician she went to before Sapirstein. He seems sympathetic, listening to her fears. For a brief moment she thinks she’s escaped, believes Dr. Hill believes the strange tale of the evil neighbors, but her relief is short lived. Hill has called her husband and Dr. Sapirstein. They come to take her home, and Rosemary feels the trap snap shut.
I count a rape by Satan as violence, not sex, so when Guy tells Rosemary he had sex with her while she was passed out and then apologizes for the scratches and bruises… we know better.
The threat of violence both physical and emotional hangs over Rosemary. People in her life meet violent ends, she feels like she’s losing her mind, and hallucinations and nightmares threaten to overcome reality. But what if the nightmares are the reality? That’s what begins to torment Rosemary. She can’t trust anyone, even her husband who she begins to fear has sold his soul and worse yet sold their baby.
A sense of dread begins to build and it never lets up. The old building which is the subject of rumor begins to live up to its reputation for evil. She knows something’s wrong, feels her unborn child is in terrible danger from the people next door and their very odd group of friends. Rosemary discovers her apartment isn’t as private or secure as she thinks. The Castevet’s are way too close for comfort with a secret entrance in the closet in her apartment. Her husband becomes more and more involved with Roman and Minnie. Rosemary’s increasing isolation becomes more and more terrifying as it’s clear either she’s in great danger or she’s going crazy. Neither is a good outcome.
Roman Polanski’s direction and his adaptation of Ira Levin’s novel pull the viewer into Rosemary’s increasingly claustrophobic world. The spacious apartment feels smaller and smaller as Rosemary loses control over her life. The dream apartment in the nightmare building is a place where evil confronts innocence and wins. There’s no blood and gore but there is a constant feeling of dread hanging over the naïve Rosemary and her baby.
The movie has a great cast with Mia Farrow as the delicate, fragile Rosemary, John Cassavetes as the opportunist husband, Maurice Evans, Sydney Blackmer, Ralph Bellamy, a young Charles Grodin and Ruth Gordon, a standout as the eccentric but not so harmless, Minnie Castevet, a role that earned her an Oscar.
Don’t let the lack of blood and gore put you off. If you want to watch some great psychological horror put Rosemary’s Baby on your watch list.
Related Topics: Horror