Rosemary’s Baby (1968)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Supposedly it’s scary?

Recently, I heard about a short series that NBC is doing based on Rosemary’s Baby, and with all of my recent horror film marathons, I never actually saw the movie version. I’ve heard about it, sure, but never seen it. It’s a classic, they’ll say, but this is one of the few classic horror films that was never remade…why is that? It’s a horror film masterpiece they’ll also say, but is that really so, being in the late ‘60s? How scary can it really be? I tend to answer these questions and more in this review…but here’s a hint…it’s aged horror that doesn’t feel like horror and definitely doesn’t scare..

Alright, so here’s the story. Rosemary and her husband, Guy, move into a super luxurious apartment building in New York City. See, Guy is a struggling actor and he is trying to make it big. Meanwhile, Rosemary is…well…a woman…who does laundry and bears children, and I think that’s all she does. Anyways, they decide to have some kids, but not before they meet some of the most peculiar neighbors ever, who apparently chant at night. One night, when she is having a nightmare of an animal or beast raping her, she finds out that her husband couldn’t wait to have a kid, raped her while she slept….it doesn’t exactly put it in those words, but let’s be fair and honest. He flat out raped her. Now she’s pregnant, and things just keep getting weirder and weirder as Rosemary begins to learn the truth about her neighbors.

Let’s take a trip back to the late ‘60s. I’m sure back then people were all like – golly what a show, I sure am spooked. Now? I don’t even understand why it’s called horror other than a few mentions of witches and spells. You don’t see anything and you barely even hear anything…it feels like a ‘60s movie. With that weird, cheesy acting style… As far as horror goes, there’s nothing here to be afraid of nor nightmare-inducing. I can praise a few things about it though.

Like the fact that it is relatively original and unpredictable. I’ve heard enough about the story to know the baby is a demon spawn, but I didn’t actually know how it’d end. Part of me was expecting a similar moment to Alien with a beastly hand ripping through her stomach. Another part of me suspected it would be learned the whole thing was actually reasonably explained through insanity on Rosemary’s part. There were a number of ways it could actually end, and I was somewhat impressed with the fact that I actually had no idea what it would be. So in a way, it was like a mystery. But horror, it was not.

Look, I don’t want to trash the ‘60s too much, but the horror genre benefits off of modern technology. The plain fact of the matter is we were a lot more in tune with our imaginations back then, and it didn’t take much to spook us, so the actual tone of the movie wasn’t very important. We all know the dark tones of a horror film well, and Rosemary’s Baby, while having a dark title, was still very light toned. I’m sure it’ll scare your grandma’s pants off…so there’s that? I will say that I’m interested in seeing what NBC does with it. Short series based off of horror stories sometimes are a lot better because they can flesh out those details that made the original story that good. Plus the fact that we can make it actually feel like a horror flick is always good…maybe they’ll actually be able to do something with it.

The Good:

Guess what? This film came out in the late ‘60s, so if you are in your late 60s, it might actually scare you! Let’s be fair, the film had a decent amount of originality and a fair amount of unpredictable things that happen.

The Bad:

It is an extinct race of horror right here. I review for a modern audience, and this has very little to offer that audience. It is not scary, it’s very…’60s with some overacting and cheesy music that follows a somewhat interesting story.

Memorable Quote:

Rosemary Woodhouse: I dreamed someone was raping me. I think it was someone inhuman.

Guy Woodhouse: Thanks a lot.

4 thoughts on “Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

  1. It’s all about tension being built-up here, and I think when that’s taken into consideration, it works like a charm. May be a bit dated in some spots, but overall, it still has the ability to frighten the shorts off of me. Good review Dave.


  2. If you went in looking to be scared I can see why you’re disappointed. For me, this is more psychological, disturbing horror that works its way under your skin rather than flat out try to make you physically scared. I tend to prefer these types since the stories are often far better. Also I grew up watching whatever horror was out practically every weekend. So there hasn’t been a movie in forever that I would actually call scary. On the other hand I can still be disturbed. Polanski’s direction is so good the movie is successful in that vein. Nice write up.


    1. I didn’t feel any psychological effect either. The movie is just too old. It simply feels too light to have any psychological effect. It’s ’60s, and it feels like that. Golly, I sure am getting these pains, what do you think, mr. doctor? Not buying it. I’m looking forward to NBC’s mini-series. I’m sure they can make use of modern advancements.


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