Rosemary’s Baby (1968)… the birth of horror

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Rosemary's Baby

My rating: 9

IMDB rating: 8

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063522/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm

Dearest reader,

I have to make a confession… Horror movies are my guilty pleasure. I like nothing more than being home alone and watching something really scary. Rosemary’s Baby has been on my to-watch list for quite some time and when I saw that they were just about to air the remake in the form of a four part mini-series, I knew it was time to finally watch it.

The first thing that makes this film so eerie, is the lullaby-type of song that is sung in the beginning and the end of the film. It is a simple la la la la la la…., but it just gives you the chills and then you know that you are in for a bumpy ride!

What sets these 1960’s horror films apart from the absolute unrealistic, badly-written, overly-manly ‘horror’ that we nowadays find in our cinemas, is the realism with which these films are done. The dark persecutory fantasy that sets this Polanski horror film apart from its counterparts, is a far cry from the found-footage ‘revolution’ that brought us ‘treasures’ like Devil’s Due.

-Okay, so I am a little pessimistic about the state of our horror-industry, but as this film confirms- it is necessary!-

A lot has been written on the psychoanalytic analysis of the horror genre. It has especially revealed the instances where normality is threatened by the return of the repressed, in Freudian terms. Later, the TMT (Terror Management Theory) was favored which viewed the existential psychological conflict as a conflict between one’s individual desires to both survive and prosper together with the knowledge of one’s own vulnerability and mortality.

But what has this got to do with Rosemary’s Baby? This film, that emerged from the New Hollywood (or post-classical Hollywood), explores the themes of death, immortality and ambivalence over the physical body. TMT explains why this films, as well as other dark cinema films, still resonate with critics and viewers.

From the very first scene in this movie you are made acutely aware of death as the death of the old lady in the apartment is discussed. The deaths does not stop there either, there is a constant stream of death occurring throughout the film; Terry, Hutch, the people from the myths about the building, etc. Through death, emphasis is placed on mortality and that in turn sparks conversation on immortality, another theme that the film explores.

The physical body is also attacked in the sense that it gets broken down through Rosemary’s demonic pregnancy. Several references are given to her paleness and the stabbing pain that she experiences shows the alienation from her body. There is consequently a disassociation between the self and the body.

These three themes are constantly explored in 21st century cinema, across all genres and film schools. Dark cinema, which brings these issues to light because they are dealt with directly are consequently a great study on the human nature. I cannot see a near future where the exploration of these themes will be exhausted, because it perfectly describes the modern, post-modern and post-post-modern condition.

The make-up in this film is quite noteworthy, as the viewer is most definitely being made aware of Rosemary’s initial alarming state. Mia Farrow is one of the most beautiful actresses of all time and she definitely shows her amazing spirit in this movie. Watching this movie now, I am in love with the fashion of the film and can easily see why Mia Farrow was such an icon.

Want to read more on Rosemary’s Baby? Try these…

http://www.movingpicturehistoryblog.com/2009/03/rosemarys-baby-1968.html

http://altscreen.com/09/04/2011/saturday-editors-pick-rosemarys-baby-1968/

http://lecinemadreams.blogspot.com/2011/09/rosemarys-baby-1968.html

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