It was fright night as I encountered the first Horror on the list, in…..
#44 / 365 – ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (1968) – 136 mins
IMDb Challenge #26 / 250 – Ranked #225 – Via DVD collection
After moving into a creepy old apartment in Manhattan with her husband Guy, Rosemary Woodhouse begins to experience odd, unpleasant things happening to her. Guy becomes enchanted with their nosy neighbors, Minnie and Roman Castevet, after the older couple’s ward commits suicide. Then Rosemary gets pregnant after a bad dream in which a horrible creature makes love to her. A caring Minnie keeps giving her some weird concoction for the pregnancy and Rosemary doesn’t feel at all well. The only solution is, as the tag-line says, to “pray for Rosemary’s baby.”
From the opening credits, where an eerily lullaby is sung, the mood is set and you are perfectly drawn into this slow-burning atmospheric tale that is largely told from the point of Rosemary Woodhouse, where everybody including her own selfish husband Guy (John Cassavetes) is conspiring against her, in their pact with the devil over her unborn child. Mia Farrow is spellbinding in the role of Rosemary, who is all in but very few shots – the way she captures Rosemary’s kindness, agony, anguish, fragility and courage is noteworthy. Equally superlative is Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her portrayal of the Woodhouse’s eccentric menacing neighbour, Minnie.
Director Roman Polanski shows his twisted genius throughout and this none more evident than in the dream sequence, where everything stunning in its design and execution of the subconscious, all the time reminding the viewer that the direct assault of horror doesn’t necessarily have to equate to blood and gore to be frighteningly effective.