Rosemary's Baby

DECEMBER 18, 2007


Well as many of you correctly guessed (almost 50% of the total vote!), Rosemary’s Baby is indeed the classic horror movie I had never seen. There are many reasons for this. One is that the movie is too damn long to watch before work (which is when I watch many of my films), so I had to get myself up early to watch it (and I STILL didn’t finish it time, and had to watch the conclusion at work and pray Mia Farrow didn’t appear nude again in the final 15 minutes).

Another reason is that it’s just been built up so much. Being a lover of horror, I read a lot of Fangoria, Rue Morgue, etc. And whenever they interview a big star who is doing a horror movie, they always have the same canned answer in regards to their opinions on horror films: “I don’t usually like horror movies; though I do like Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, and Silence of the Lambs.” Well, that’s fine; maybe you should get together with all the two thousand other “serious” actors who said the same thing. I’ll be over here making my own opinions.

Anyway, out of those three, I don’t like Silence much at all and I think Exorcist is only pretty good. I can certainly see why people like them so much, and they are at least technically near flawless (though I HATE all the looking directly into camera stuff in Silence – way overused), but for the most part they are not my cup of tea. So I always kind of figured Rosemary would leave me with the same impression, so I opted to go out of my way to see shit like Hallowed Ground (a film with a similar premise) instead. Real smart, huh?

Luckily, I actually enjoyed Rosemary. It’s certainly not one of my 3 favorites (then again, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows where my tastes lie), but it really works, and even holds up well, 40 years later. The pace is a bit uneven, but it’s forgivable, as it sort of lulls you into thinking everything is fine only to deliver something sort of shocking (her friend’s ‘suicide’ early on, for example).

Strangely, for a film that’s 2:20 long, the editing is almost TOO tight. Several scenes end right at the instant the last word is said, when you would expect it to hold on a reaction so that the words sink in a bit before we move on to something else. Of course, those same folks who claim this film is the 2nd coming will be the first to complain about a Bruckheimer film being edited too fast, but I’m used to that sort of hypocrisy by now.

And I SWORE this guy was a time traveling Geoffrey Lewis.

As this is a Polanski film, there’s a lot of quirky humor to enjoy as well. I love the husband’s complete laid back manner of revealing to Rosemary that he fucked her in her sleep. “I thought it was exciting in a sort of necrophile way,” he says, as casually as he might mention that he was considering buying a new tie. There’s also a catty cult member who sticks her tongue out at Rosemary for getting her in trouble with the main cult guy. And William Castle shows up in a fake scare, which is pretty awesome (he produced the film).

Also, I never knew Mia Farrow was once hot. Good to know.

On a final note, I’d like to point out that the 2nd place “winner” in the poll was John Carpenter’s The Thing, a film I have professed my love for a couple of times on the site. Does this mean that you HAVEN’T memorized the contents of all 300+ reviews? Why, I am insulted!!!

What say you?


  1. I was wondering what this movie was going to be way more than I should have.

    I love the movie. It does feel a bit long. What I find weird is that the Ira Levin novel is nearly identical, but I always thought that felt like a quick read.

  2. In my humble opinion, this movie is kinda overrated (I think the same of the Exorcist, by the way), but still a decent film, we may need a REMAKE to start saying that the original version IS REALLY FREAKING GOOD, just kidding, anyway, there was a sequel to the book and it was really fast paced,a real pager turner.

    Until the end, where Ira Levin DROPS the ball in one of the worst Hollywood Finales, that even screws the first book up. It would be a good movie if they edit the end, though....

  3. That photo is, of course, of the inimitable Elisha Cook Jr., the patron saint of character actors with over 200 films to his credit (including The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, not to mention Messiah of Evil) who walked the earth LIKE A FUCKING GOD.

    And of course Mia was hot. How'd you think she got to be Mrs. Sinatra otherwise? (A fact that still makes my mind wobble when I think of it, for some reason...)

    Anyway, love this movie. I love the nice, kindly old people turning out to be the Satanic cult. Much more effective than the bombastic tone of the the original The Omen, imo. The scene near the end when Ruth Gordon shouts "Hail Satan!" still gives me chills, for some reason.

    As I'm sure you know, Polanski has said this forms the third of a loose trilogy of films about the horrors and alienation of modern city life, along with Repulsion and The Tenant--both excellent and well worth your viewing if you haven't seen them.

  4. For some reason I've only ever seen half of Rosemarys Baby.. I must 'borrow' my girlfriends copy sometime.

    I see Repulsion mentioned above though, which I also second as a recommendation if you've yet to see it *nods*

    (because we all know you don't have enough recommendations yet!)


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