Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

"I've been to Vidal Sassoon."

This movie came out forty-one years ago. Though I haven't been alive quite that many years I still have no good excuse as to why it has taken me this long to watch this film. Before I watched it, the only thing I knew of this movie was that it was about a lady, a baby, and there was something scary about it... that's it.

Ok, let's start where most things do, the beginning. This movie starts us out on a nice young couple who are apartment shopping. Their names are Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse. Guy is a small-time actor, mostly commercials and a play or two, and Rosemary is your typical young sixties housewife. We see them approach an old-looking, monstrous apartment building and when they open the door to the newly-available apartment, the only thing I could think was 'did they say apartment?' I guess people needed more living space back then, but man... my house could fit into their living room. Anyway, jealousy aside, they... rather Rosemary falls in love with the place and they agree to sign a lease. One odd thing that does come up on their tour of the place is the fact that a large secretary (old-tyme name for some furniture) had been moved to cover up the doorway to a closet. Everyone dismisses it as the former tenant's senility and everyone seems to forget it.

Anyway, Guy and Rosemary are as happy as clams in their cozy new apartment and all is well. Shortly after they've moved in, Rosemary is doing laundry in the basement laundry 'facility' and happens on a nice young girl also doing laundry. They strike up a conversation because Rosemary mistakes her for a famous actress. We come to find out that the young girl's name is Terry and that she was being taken care of by some nice older folks that just happen to live right next to the Woodhouses on the seventh floor. She mentions that these nice old folks are named the Castevet's. Some time passes and then holy shit... Rosemary and Guy are walking on the sidewalk in front of their apartment building and they come across the grisly scene of an apparent suicide. And whose head is it that's split open on the sidewalk before them? That nice young girl, Terry. Understandably, having just seen her new found friend half-smashed into the pavement, Rosey is kinda upset. While everyone is still around the accident scene (an apparent suicide) an old couple walks up and right away we know that it's the Castevet's. What's rather disturbing is that they almost seem defiant that such a thing could happen, not really too upset over the fact that their long-term live-in guest is deader than shit.

Fast forward to the next day and the odd, nosey neighbor Mrs. Minnie Castevet stops over to share her appreciation for the nice words that Rosey spoke about her the night before at the accident scene. A day or so later, Minnie invites Guy and Rosey over for dinner and Rosey all but promises them that they'll be over. Well... this just not good at all for Guy but he begrudgingly accepts, reassuring himself that it will be his good deed for the day. As it turns out, Guy all but falls in love with Minnie's husband Roman, and he finds that he jut can't get enough of his stories. From this point, their friendship becomes almost too much for Rosey to bear. She must've felt at this point that she'd created a monster... heh... little did she know. A week or so after their first visit with the Castevet's, the Woodhouses decide to have a romantic evening of dinner, 1960's music and shag-carpet baby-making. Not too long into dinner, there's a knock at the door and it's Minnie... thankfully she only stopped by to offer some of her favorite chocolate mousse (though she pronounces it mouse) for the Woodhouses to enjoy for dessert. Guy enjoys his and makes quite short work of it... however Rosey says that there's something wrong with hers and claims it has an 'under'taste. Whatever the hell that is... it must've meant that there was definitely something wrong with it. Not even a few minutes after dinner, Rosemary starts to stumble around and fall down like some crazy drunk bitch. Guy decides its time to go to bed, but Rosey protests because tonight was supposed to be baby making night. Guy says something to the effect of 'aw shucks, we got other nights, darlin'. Anyway Rosemary drifts off into a nightmare that is second only to the riverboat tunnel ride in Willy Wonka in terror-inducing creepiness. We viewers don't really know what just happened, but we're pretty sure that Rosey just got it on with a beast-thing with a lot of naked old people watching. We're relieved that when she wakes up, Guy tells her that he decided to go ahead and take advantage of baby-making night. Oh, and those scratches on her back and side? Not from beast-claws at all... just a symptom of Guy's extra long fingernails.

Fast forward some more and we find out that yay! Rosey is pregnant. Everyone's excited and in the excitement, Minnie, Roman and Guy decided for Rosemary that she's going to start going to a big-time expensive OBGYN instead of this Dr. Hill that she had been going to. So, because he's famous and expensive, Rosey goes along with it and finds that this Dr. Sapirstein has a quite uncommon schedule of treatment for Rosemary's pregnancy. No medicines, no vitamins... just a home-concocted shake from Minnie every day. Rosey doesn't question this because Minnie's quite a nice old lady, though she's a bit weird, and she has her own herb garden right in her kitchen, so it's gotta be good for her, right?

Anyway... as Rosey's pregnancy progresses, she loses a drastic amount of weight, becomes pale and even has some pretty severe abdominal pains. Not a good thing when you're a pregnant lady, methinks. Anyway, she gets a visit from her former neighbor, Hutch. He seems quite alarmed at her condition, though he found that Dr. Sapirstein said it was quite normal to be in excruciating pain for every waking moment of a pregnancy.... hah! Right. Anyway, Hutch gets a chance to meet Roman from next door and shortly after he's on his way out the door. A day.. maybe two later Rosemary gets a call from Hutch, he states that it's urgent that she meet with him the next day. When he doesn't show, she tries to call him from a phone booth and finds that he suddenly 'fell ill' the night before and was now in a coma. Devastated at this news she goes home and tries not to worry too much about what was so urgent and continues on with her pain-ridden pregnancy.

"'They're a bunch of not-very-bright bitches who ought to mind their own God-damned business'"

Because by this point in the movie they've been pretty much constantly surrounded by old people, Rosemary decides to have a party and invite some of their younger friends that they haven't seen in a while. At one point in the party, Rosemary can hide her pain no longer and damn near collapses by one of her friends. This friend and a couple others usher her into the kitchen and they're shocked to find that this doctor she's been seeing hasn't prescribed any treatment for the intense pain. All the "not-too-smart bitches" suggest to her that she get a second opinion. Later that night, though, Guy wants to hear no talk of a second opinion. He's more concerned with how Dr. Sapirstein's feelings will be hurt than with his wife's intense pain. At the height of their argument.. poof, pain is all gone and that baby is kicking. No more pain.. no more reason for a second opinion. Here's where she went wrong, I think.

At this point everything is lah-de-da and everyone's happy right? Wrong... Rosemary gets an urgent phone call the next day and she finds that her good friend Hutch is dead. That's right, he's dead. Rosemary just barely makes it to his funeral and his lady-friend, of which we know nothing else about, gives Rosemary an important package, a book, specifically, and a message... something about a name being an anagram. Rosey takes the book home and it's a book about witchcraft and all the practices of the occult and Satan worship and the like. She tries and tries to figure out what the anagram is with the book's title but comes up with nothing. It's when she notices a name in the book underlined that she uncovers that her dear neighbor, Mr. Roman Castevet is actually the son of a big-time devil-worshipper who had claimed to successfully summon the living Satan up from hell itself once.

From this point, Rosemary starts to figure everything out and she finds that pretty much everyone in their immediate area is in on it... this baby-stealing plan. They want her baby's blood for their rituals... or so she thinks. Right about now, though, that second opinion from Dr. Hill is seeming like a very good idea. So Rosey takes her stash of 'mad money', packs a bag, makes a frantic phone call or two and finds her way to Dr. Hill's office and it looks like she and her baby will finally be safe. As she's telling Dr. Hill about all the discoveries she's made, he regards her without any real expression. So maybe he doesn't think she's crazy, right? WRONG! He gives her a room to lay down and rest in, and she wakes up to the bad doctor and her husband, come in to take her back where she belongs. What follows is a couple scenes of Rosemary being forced down onto a bed and gagged and injected with who knows what. When Rosemary finally comes to, she's asking about her baby and no one can give her any answers.

This is when the Dr. and Guy come in and give her the bad news that her baby is dead. Grief stricken, Rosemary stays in bed for a day or two... then she begins to hear a baby cry through the walls. This is quickly dismissed though as her husband tells her that there are new neighbors and they have a baby. She also finds it quite strange that the folks who are 'helping her recover' are making her use a breast-milk pump every day, but then taking the milk off into another room. Well... enough is enough, Rosemary waits until everyone is out of her room and sets off to find out why those baby cries are coming from the Castevet's apartment. She silently sneaks in to find a room filled with people... looks like a party. In the center of the room there is a massive baby's bassinet... a black one with an inverted cross hanging overhead. Though we don't get to see the baby we find out that there's something wrong with it's eyes. When Rosemary says "Guy's eyes aren't like that", she's met with "Guy isn't his father.. Satan is!" This is followed by a hearty round of "Hail Satan!" chants. Heh... wow. After Rosemary see's one of these occult people attempting to tend to the crying baby her motherly instinct kicks in and she rocks her devil-baby back to a calm rest. Right as the movie is ending, you can see the very slightest smile cross her face.

This movie is quite an excellent example of what a good Satan/devil movie should be. It reminds me quite a bit of The Omen but is different enough that it's entertaining to watch. I'd have to say that if you haven't seen this movie, what the shit are you waiting for, the 50th anniversary?


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