This week’s movie had the audacity to try and follow up one of the most celebrated horror movies ever made, and it’s fair to say that it missed the mark completely. That’s right, we’re taking a look at the forgotten Look What Happened to Rosemary’s Baby, which chronicles the story of the Devil’s son after the events of Roman Polanski’s 1968 classic. It turns out he’s all about that rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
When: October 29, 1976
You’d be hard pressed to meet a horror fan who doesn’t think Rosemary’s Baby is one of the best offerings the genre has to offer. The film is arguably the unholy grail of devil cult movies, especially since it inspired the wave of Luciferian paranoia movies that were commonplace in the 70s. In a way, it’s easy to understand why they made a sequel, though it’s quite baffling to think someone thought Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby was the way to go about it.
Make no mistake about it: compared to its predecessor, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby is a bad movie. If there was such a thing as blasphemy against Satan, this movie would be an example of it. A part of me thinks that director Sam O’Steen and screenwriter Anthony Wilson only read the cliff notes of Rosemary’s Baby for context before pressing ahead with their own movie. Of course, that’s unlikely since O’Steen edited the first film. At the same time, the disinterest in delivering a respectful follow-up is what makes this ill-advised sequel so damn wonderful, and the creators deserve some credit for marching to the beat of their own drum.
Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby completely bypasses Ira Levin’s sequel novel, Son of Rosemary, in favor of its own story for the most part. The movie begins with a summary of the events of the first movie, albeit presented in a cheesier way, and Rosemary (now played by Patty Duke) eventually escaping the clutches of the evil sect with her eight-year-old devil child. Her plan is to get help from her ex-husband (George Maharis), even though he helped the devil worshipers forcibly impregnate her with a demon seed the last time they were together.
Rosemary’s plan doesn’t work, however, and a “two-bit hooker” kidnaps the child and raises him as her own. When he grows up, he becomes a carefree rock star (played by Stephen McHattie) until he’s ready to be adorned with his Satanic powers. Will he accept his evil fate or choose another path? Cue some bizarre fashion choices, disco music, and bizarre dance sequences, and what you have is a sequel to an iconic horror film featuring some unexpected treats.
Even though this is supposed to be a sequel to Rosemary’s Baby, it’s more reminiscent of The Omen. There’s no doubt that the film’s existence was born out of a desire to cash in on that hit movie, and there are elements at play that are similar to Richard Donner’s flick, such as the focus on Satan’s son’s home life. But Look What’s Rosemary’s Baby didn’t need two sequels to tell his life story, and this version of the devil’s offspring is an interesting cat since he’s all about free livin’, rocking out, and hedonism.
The cusp of the story revolves around Adrian’s coming-of-age story and the desire to become his own man. The cult waits in the shadows, hoping that he shows signs of being an evil bastard who’s worthy of inheriting daddy’s powers. Unfortunately for them, Adrian has a son called Peter Simon (David Huffman) who offers him an alternative path, but just when the devilish kid tries to go his own way, he runs into some rotten luck. For example, in one scene he’s attacked by a chain-wielding biker gang, but they are no match for the power that lurks within him.
The best parts of the movie are the voice-over moments from the cult, who provide unnecessary exposition and reveal their plans to the viewer. Still, the charm of these movies is watching cultists in black robes discussing their nefarious goals before breaking into operatic chants, and Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby embraces all of the Satanic cult stereotypes in the book. Ruth Gordon also reprises her Oscar-winning role as evil Minnie, and she hams it up spectacularly. Her character is also a Charlton Heston fan apparently.
Another outstanding scene sees the cult release Adrian from its grip because he’s drawn to rock music. This results in him running through a discotheque in white face paint as the sect watches over him. A demon is also in attendance, and his best friend Peter Simon shows up to try and ward off the evildoers and save his soul. Nothing about this scene makes sense nor is it explained, but for some reason the filmmakers decided to make a psychedelic art film at this point because they could. It’s glorious.
While derivative of some much better movies — as were the majority of movies about cults released during the ‘70s and beyond — Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby is very entertaining. As a sequel to a horror classic it’s not great at all, but as a slice of disreputable ’70s schlock, you could do a lot worse than this forgotten treat. Hail Satan, and hail Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby.