What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs!
So this was my first viewing of Rosemary’s Baby. Prior to watching this I knew that the haircut Mia Farrow had in the film became super popular:
That her baby is the devil’s child; and that the apartment where this all happens, the Bramhouse, is actually the Dakota; and that this film is supposed to be very scary.
In fact the way I was introduced to this film was actually through The Baby-Sitters Club. In one of the books, the BSC all go and visit Stacey McGill in New York, seeing the place where Stacey’s friend, Laine Cummings, lives which is the Dakota.
So let’s move on to the film review:
So the film starts off with a creepy, light lullaby type music. In fact the first thing it actually makes me think of is Flowers in the Attic (1987). And it is definitely creepy.
This film was based on a novel of the same name that came out the year before. The author, Ira Levin, said that this was his favorite adaption of the novel, as the director Roman Polanski, was strict about following the book to the letter, only cutting for sake of time. This is the dream of every book lover.
We get a look at a building that has a clear gothic and early Renaissance look to it. Definitely an old building, probably made during the turn of the century. This is The Bramford, where our couple Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse are looking at the apartments.
They are just a sweet, ordinary couple. Guy is an actor, while Rosemary doesn’t work but has amazing decorating and artistic talent. Rosemary really wants to have a baby, while Guy says they have to wait until they are “more established”. However, he did agree to move to a bigger apartment for their future child and them.
They look at the apartment, and Guy isn’t pleased. It is cram full of the prior tenant’s belongings, which are stuffed so full it is kind of ugly.
Rosemary, on the other hand, sees the potential. With wallpaper, paint, new furnishings, it will be absolutely beautiful.
The only strange thing about the apartment, is that there was a large chest put in front of one of the closet doors. The landlord and Guy move it aside and when they open it…
Just kidding. The only thing in it are a few linens and a vacuum cleaner.
It is extremely weird. Why would anyone try to keep such random things locked inside?
There must be something she was trying to keep out, or keep in. In fact, it reminds me of The Twilight Zone episode where the guy has the devil locked in the closet. Is that what happened? The tenant was keeping the devil inside and they just unleashed them?
They speak to their friend and landlord, Eric “Hutch” Hutchinson, to get out of their of lease. Hutch has been like a father to Rosemary since the couple has moved to New York. He warns them about the Bramford place. Back at the turn of the century, Adrian Marcato was a witch and had a coven in the building, he was murdered in the lobby. Then there were the Trench sisters, they killed children and tried to eat them. And these are only a few of the strange occurrences.
But they take the apartment and Rosemary makes it absolutely beautiful.
One day, Rosemary has gone down to the basement to do laundry. There she meets a girl, Terry, who has been saved and given a home by Guy & Rosemary’s neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet. Rosemary is looking for new friends and they make plans to meet up later.
Now to me that seems odd. Why would they just take this girl off the streets. Is it really out of the goodness of their hearts? Or something darker?
Before Terry and Rosemary can actually meet again, Guy and Rosemary come home from an evening out and find Terry’s dead body outside.
Rosemary is sad and confused as Terry seemed so happy. She tells the Castevets that they meant a lot to Terry.
Now to me the Castevets don’t seem really sad over the death of their “adopted daughter”.
The next day Minnie stops by to see Rosemary. She is super nosy looking at everything and every section of the apartment, she even goes as far as asking the price of everything.
She is so sad and lonely over missing Terry, and asks if Rosemary and Guy will come for dinner that night. Rosemary doesn’t really want to but feels bad and agrees.
Guy comes home and is very upset. He was auditioning for a few parts, prime ones to pull his career front and center, but lost out to every one.
He just wants to sit around and mope, but Rosemary tells him about the dinner they are supposed to go to. Guy doesn’t want to, as he doesn’t want to befriend their neighbors, then they will always be hanging around and bothering them.
But Rosemary made a promise, so they go.
Now the whole dinner is very odd. When Minnie invited them over, she made it sound like she needed a young woman to help temporary fill the space left by Terry’s absence. But at the actual dinner, they only want to pay attention to Guy.
They go on and on and on about his acting, his good looks, his charms, etc.
The other strange thing is how anti-Christianity and religion they are. Like hard core being mean about it to Rosemary, even though they know that she is uncomfortable about their inflammatory remarks.
Roman Castevet: No pope ever visits a city where the newspapers are on strike.
Minnie Castevet: I heard he’s gonna postpone and wait till it’s over.
Guy Woodhouse: Well, that’s showbiz.
Roman Castevet: That’s exactly what it is: all the costumes, the rituals – all religions.
Roman Castevet: I think we’re offending Rosemary…
Rosemary Woodhouse: [Not very convincing] I wasn’t offended, really I wasn’t.
Roman Castevet: You’re not religious, my dear, are you?
Rosemary Woodhouse: I was brought up a Catholic… now, I don’t know.
Now believe what you want to believe in, but when you invite a guest to your home for dinner, you shouldn’t be as rude or insult the guest’s belief.
After dinner the ladies and men split. Minnie questions Rosemary, asking her if she is pregnant. Rosemary isn’t, but really wants a baby. She came from a large family, six kids, but once again Guy doesn’t want a baby. At least not yet.
She’s ready to go, and they interrupt the men, Guy was surprisingly having a great time with Roman.
When they get home they discuss the dinner, with Rosemary saying that the food tasted weird, and left a strange taste in her mouth. Guy agrees, but he ate twice as much food as Rosemary. Surprisingly, Guy wants to go back the next day and hangout with Roman. Rosemary doesn’t want to, so they kind of fight about it.
The next day Roman goes over there while Rosemary settles for a quiet night in, nursing her period pains.
Her quiet solitude is destroyed when Minnie comes over with her friend Laura-Louise. They just settle in without even asking, knitting, embroidering, and gabbing.
I would have had them kicked out. I mean what annoying busybodies.
They also give her a necklace of Tannis root, it’s supposed to be a good-luck charm. It was the same one Terry wore, so I don’t think it is that lucky as Terry died.
So the film originally kept the devil impregnating Rosemary a secret, as a huge reveal at the end. Unfortunately, it was a major blockbuster, an award-winning film: so it has been referenced, parodied, is a huge part of our culture and always cropping up around Halloween. Even if you haven’t seen the film, you know Rosemary carries the devil’s baby. I mean it is mentioned in the Netflix description. So I am not going to ignore that.
So let’s talk about Guy.
Guy is a struggling actor who really wants to hit it big. We don’t know how long he has been in New York, but he is very upset at how little his career has progressed.
Roman has come along and started flattering Guy, making him feel super special. He promises that he can achieve all of Guy’s dreams, if he joins their coven, and allows Rosemary to be used as the vessel for Satan’s child. They need the opposite of Mary: not a virgin, married, not Jewish, etc. And Guy agrees.
I guess for someone as self-centered as Guy is, he can rationalize it. This small trade will enable him and Rosemary will have a fantastic life. And it is only one child, they can have more later. I can just say one thing:
You do not sell your wife to be a vessel, especially for the devil’s child. Just no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no!!
That night, Rosemary shows Guy the good-luck charm and how she doesn’t want to wear it. But Guy insists, he starts hanging around with Roman and Minnie more and more. I just think, who is this guy?
That night they get a call:
It turns out that the guy chosen for one of the parts Guy auditioned for, has gone blind.
So they offer Guy the part. Soon Guy is riding high, with everyone after him. He now has no time for Rosemary, with all his other commitments.
Rosemary is sad and mentions it to Hutch when the two talk on the phone.
One day, Guy comes homes with roses. He is sorry and wants to make it up to Rosemary, telling her that he wants to have a baby.
Who is this man, what has he become? I mean he even picks out the day they should try for their baby, October 4th or 5th.
Rosemary is just so happy that he is open to having children that she agrees! She can’t wait until they have a little baby.
The appointed night comes, with Guy making it a very special, romantic night.
As they are eating, guess who shows up at the door. Minnie.
She just drops off some mousse she made and then leaves, fortunately. They start eating it but Rosemary quickly stops. It taste funny to her and she doesn’t want it.
But Guy insists. Guy has become a super control freak, I would have left to the safety of Hutch, surrogate father, rather than stay with this guy.
Anyways, when Guy steps out of the room, Rosemary dumps the mousse in her napkin, rather than eat it.
Afterwards, she is walking to the other room and faints.
Guy carries her to the bed so she can rest. She then has one incredibly strange dream.
The next day Rosemary wakes up and discovers herself naked and covered in scratches.
She tells Guy her dream of being raped, and he says that he couldn’t help himself and give up on baby night.
Rosemary Woodhouse: You… you had me while I was out?
Guy Woodhouse: It was kinda fun in a necrophile sort of way
This guy is freak, get far, far, far away.
So Rosemary goes to the doctor and discovers that she is pregnant. She tells Guy who doesn’t seem that excited. Kind of weird for a guy who “wanted a baby so much he couldn’t wait but slept with her when she was knocked out.”
Her due date is June 28th of the next year, 1966. Get it? 6/66?
Although it doesn’t make exact sense. 9 months from October is July, wouldn’t it make more sense if they tried for the baby in September?
So Rosemary has been going to see Dr. Hill, the doctor who delivered her friend’s baby; but Minnie, Roman, and Guy want them to see their doctor: Dr. Abraham Sapirstein.
Dr. n tells Rosemary not to take prenatal vitamins, read any pregnancy books, or talk to her friends about her and their pregnancies as each one is different and they will worry her. She also will have to take herb shakes made by Minnie.
I don’t know, that seems too weird for me. I wouldn’t trust them. These people all become controlling, and won’t let her go out or speak to any of her friends.
Rosemary is also in excruciating pain, and losing massive amounts of weight. She actually looks quite horrible, no glow.
Hutch comes to visit and tells her she looks bad. They are discussing the strangeness of everything, when suddenly Guy comes home in full, makeup, something he never does. He kind of chases off Hutch so it is only the two of them.
Why is he suddenly against Hutch. Why is he suddenly against all their friends? Hmm????
That night Rosemary gets a call from Hutch.
He wants to meet the next morning as he has something important to discuss with her.
The next morning she goes to the appointment place, but no Hutch. When she calls after waiting so long, she finds out that Hutch is in a coma. It happened some time after she called.
She walks around when she runs into Minnie:
So the film moves along pretty sloooow. The people are controlling, she doesn’t go out, suffers all the time, etc. She finally starts thinking something is weird, ad stops the herbal drinks. She makes her own and decides that they are going to throw a party with their old friends.
Guy doesn’t want to, and gets mad that Minnie and Roman are not invited. Minnie tries to get invited, but Rosemary is firm..no one under the age of 60 is allowed.
It comes to a head at the party when she talks to her friends about her pains and they tell her it is not normal. She needs to get a second opinion. Guy is not happy about that at all.
Guy Woodhouse: [on Rosemary’s decision to switch doctors] You know what Dr. Hill is? He’s a Charlie Nobody, that’s who he is!
Rosemary Woodhouse: I’m tired of hearing about how great Dr. Sapirstein is!
Guy Woodhouse: Well, I won’t let you do it Ro.
Rosemary Woodhouse: Why not?
Guy Woodhouse: Well, because… because it wouldn’t be fair to Sapirstein.
Rosemary Woodhouse: Not fair to Sap… – what do you mean? What about what’s fair to me?
Yeah! You SHOULD CARE MORE ABOUT YOUR WIFE!!!! NOT SOME DOCTOR’S FEELINGS!!!
However, the pain stops and she can feel the baby kicking. Everything proceeds normally as they all get ready for the baby. Their peace is shattered when Rosemary receives a call that Hutch died.
I loved Hutch, why’d he have to go?
She goes to the funeral, where she is given a book left to her by Hutch.
Grace Cardiff: He told me to make sure and tell you: the name is an anagram.
When she gets home she opens the package and sees that it is a book on witches, “All of Them Witches“, with a chapter on Adrian Marcato and his family.
Rosemary tries to rearrange the title, but comes up with nothing.
She is about to give up that it was just his being in a coma, when she looks at the chapter on Marcato’s family, specifically his son Steven. When she rearranges those letters, it comes up with Roman Castevet.
She starts talking about it with Guy that they are witches, and all those people are in their coven.
Guy thinks she is insane, and needs sleep so he takes the book and throws it away.
YOU DO NOT THROW AWAY BOOKS!!!!
Rosemary is incensed so she goes to the bookstore and gets another copy and another book on witchcraft. She discovers that some covens can work together and create blindness or illness if they have an object of the person.
Rosemary remembers the guy who Guy took the part from. She calls Donald Baumgart and discovers that before he went blind, Guy took his tie.
She remembers that the day Hutch came over, he was missing a glove. Guy must have stolen it and they killed him.
She also reads that many covens use baby’s blood in their activities.
Rosemary freaks out:
She packs her bag and takes off to see the doctor to let him know what is going on. However, when she gets there she discovers that the doctor is a witch too.
She takes off to get help from the only person she can think of now, Dr. Hill.
She manages to get Hill to meet with her and reveals everything. Hill seems to believe her, which I thought was weird.
And puts her to sleep.
She wakes up to see Guy and Dr. Saperstein.
They bring her home, but she manages to sneak away from them and get in the apartment first, locking the door and dead bolting it behind her. She calls her friend Elise, trying to get help as everyone is after her baby:
However, they somehow sneak into the apartment room some way. Unfortunately, she goes into labor and then is knocked out.
The next day, Guy wakes her up.
She asks for her baby, but they tell her he died. They give her a pill, and take her milk “to throw away”.
Rosemary is completely heartbroken. And then she hears a baby crying.
They tell her that it is from a new family, but Rosemary knows that her baby is alive and they took him.
She slowly is a docile person, waiting for the right time to night sneak away when everyone thinks she is sleeping. She takes a knife with her for protection.
She goes to the closet that was blocked by the dresser, there she finds a secret door.
A door that connects to the Castevet’s apartment. That must be how they got in!
Poor girl. How could her husband do that to her? How could this happen?
I have to say most of the film was kind of slow and boring, as I already knew those people were evil, but once she found that book on witches it was great. Intense and creepy! A good addition to my Halloween Horror films.
To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
For more on witches, go to The Two Witch Sisters: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)
For more films based on books, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)