Jenni and Terri revisit Roman Polanski for this week’s edition of Gore Girls, shrieking their way through the terror of his classic “Rosemary’s Baby.” In the movie, a married couple moves into a creepy, old New York City apartment. Strange things start to happen and… well… you probably know the rest. The wife is mysteriously impregnated and her baby turns out to be… let’s just say he’s trouble and leave it at that, shall we? Enjoy the Gore Girls’ take on “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Jenni: I read “Rosemary’s Baby” when I was in eighth grade, which was in retrospect a bad idea because between that, “The Omen” and “The Exorcist” (which I was too chicken to watch — I only read these books when I was in junior high or so) I was pretty much terrified of having children. And then when I saw the movie, I was super disappointed they didn’t show the baby’s hooves! Is that a spoiler? haha. I thought it was boring back then, just like “Repulsion,” but this time around I loved it.
Terri: This fell into the category of movies my mother told me about when I was little and then made me promise not to watch in our house (“Silence of the Lambs” and “Dune” were also on this list), so I had a basic idea of what it was about, but this big fear of actually sitting down and watching it. So I promise, the fact this was another Polanski film is a total coincidence! This was a movie that I had to get around to seeing.
Jenni: HAHA! OMG, my mom was the same way about “The Exorcist,” except she didn’t tell me NOT to watch it. But she told me about how it was the scariest movie she’d ever seen, and I was so scared to watch it, even as an adult!
Terri: Between this and “Repulsion,” I never, ever, ever want to be a stay at home anything! But “Rosemary’s Baby”! Geez. I mean, you really feel for her (Mia Farrow) by the end. I don’t know about you but about one third of the way into the film I was like, “No! Don’t you see?! They want your baby!” I don’t know why she kept trusting people.
Jenni: Yeah, welcome to NYC real estate. Amazing apartment? Psycho neighbors. WHO WORSHIP SATAN.
Jenni: I just thought it was all so wonderfully sly how they took over, with the doctor and the herbs and the charm necklace and keeping her away from anyone who could help. And John Cassavettes is so good. He’s like, sexy and debonair but also a creep.
Terri: I love how at the end he has this line that’s somewhere along the lines of, “They said you wouldn’t be hurt, and you weren’t… really. I mean, it’s just like if you lost the baby, right?” I mean, she didn’t just SPOILER ALERT birth the spawn of Satan or anything…. No big deal.
Jenni: Totally. No biggie. I mean, whatever, the baby could have just died. Pfft. I loved the use of sounds and music, and her makeup. The way they made her look so sweaty and sick.
Terri: Just Mia Farrow in general. She was brilliant.
Jenni: The way Polanski filmed her reminded me a great deal of Deneuve in “Repulsion.” The big eyes and light hair, how claustrophobic it all was.
Terri: I swear, I am NEVER buying a New York apartment.
Jenni: And how about Ruth Gordon as the nosy next door neighbor?!
Terri: She was terrifying!
Terri: When people were telling me about the movie, they said it had a certain ambiguous nature that makes you not know what to believe. And then I was reading later about how, at the end of the book, even the reader is left not believing Rosemary’s story. Did you think the film accomplished the same goal, or did it even try to accomplish the same thing?
Jenni: Well, if you look at Rosemary as an unreliable narrator, as someone who is “crazy” and imagining all this, then it could be ambiguous in the book — but I really don’t think so. They describe in detail how the baby looks, the reception that’s shown in the apartment with the upside-down cross, the Hail Satan’s. I guess it depends on willing you are to believe that either she’s totally off her rocker or that it’s possible that your nice elderly neighbors are part of a satanic coven. I’m with the latter.
Terri: Fun fact, at the end of “Son of Rosemary,” the sequel (der), she wakes up back in 1965 before she moves in with her husband to the new place, and it’s all supposed to be a dream!
Terri: But there’s a reason they never made that into a movie
Jenni: Yeah, I never got around to reading that.
Terri: I kid you not. Wikipedia teaches me volumes of interesting information. (Editor’s note: Wikipedia is an unreliable source of information, but always fun to read.) So closing thoughts about “Rosemarys Baby”!
Jenni: I’m really glad I revisited it. I think my tastes have changed a lot as I’ve grown older, because I enjoyed the hell out of it (so to speak). I’m not very familiar with Polanski except for his personal life, so I’m very interested in reading about him and his relationships with his actresses. Some people think he’s a misogynist, but I’d like to learn more about it myself. And I think we could use more psychological thrillers these days when you’re just chewing on your fingers, not just ducking popping eyeballs.
Terri: Or watching fingernails be torn off!
Jenni: Yeah, blerg to fingernails.