There is no film that better captures and escalates the sense of dread we all feel when taking a big step in life and meeting the people that come with that step, than Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.
If there is one thing I do not trust in this world, it is the intentions of anyone who isn’t me.
We all lead flawed and complicated lives, usually working towards our own best interest and fulfillment. Whether it is rising through the professional ranks at work, making unholy amounts of money, serving the community, being the best parent possible, or living within the virtues of whatever higher power you worship; We all are working towards some greater goal. Our own personal end game.
We often choose to share our lives and personal space with those who share our goals, and work together towards them. But what about those others who are forced into our lives? Our space? Friends of friends… co-workers… neighbors.
Who are these people? What do they want? Will it affect me? Why are your blinds always closed, LYNDA?!
My first introduction to Rosemary’s Baby was quite accidental. I was staying at a friends house one night and as usual, I was having a lot of trouble falling asleep. The guest room I was staying in had a fully stocked bookshelf, and I came across of copy of the book, Rosemary’s Baby, by Ira Levin. I read the back cover and had sudden flash memory of another late night spent watching AFI’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments on Bravo. I remembered that Rosemary’s Baby had ranked pretty high on the list. It had been a while since I had read a horror themed book, so I gave it a go.
I did not sleep that night, but I did finish the book. And I made plans to watch the movie as soon as possible.
The 1968 film, which follows the book very closely… almost too closely at times… tells the story of a young newly-wed couple, Rosemary and Guy, who move into an apartment building in New York. The building has a dark history, but they are young and naive and in love! Their new neighbors are strange and a little pushy, and sure, one commits suicide, but that’s New York for you. Soon after Rosemary becomes pregnant (the night of said conception she only remembers in a nightmarish haze), she starts experiencing strange symptoms and begins to suspect her neighbors, husband, and baby, are all part of a satanic plot. I do not want to give too much away, because if you have not seen this movie, you should do so right away.
Any kid on the street can pick up a camera and make a “horror” movie. Any director can splash some fake blood on the camera lens and call it “scary.” The horror films that stick with us, that creep into the public conscious and become a pillar of the pop culture landscape, are films that touch on a very real fear we all share. Rosemary’s Baby tows the line between paranoia and fear of the unknown, before taking a violent left turn and forcing you to face the realization that maybe all of your worst possible fears can be so terribly true.
Face your other fears on our 31 Days of Halloween list here.