A couple of days ago, I published a post detailing the first time I watched 1978’s Halloween. As mentioned during that post, Halloween was one of three films that helped me develop my interest with the horror genre. The other two films were Psycho (1960) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968).
Similar to Halloween, I remember quite clearly the first time I watched Rosemary’s Baby. The film was broadcast mid-week on BBC One, at a time that I decided was too late to stay up for.
This was during the late ’90s when I was in sixth form. So, as I had school the next day, I opted to tape the movie and watch it back the following evening.
Flash-forward to said evening and after I had eaten my dinner, I took myself off to my bedroom, turned down the lights and pressed play on my VCR. And just like Halloween, Rosemary’s Baby grabbed me from the opening moment and refused to let me go.
For the next couple of hours I was terrified by what unfolded on screen. Satanism, some kind of a coven, a bloody awful hair cut (yes, Rosemary, I mean you), it was all so creepy.
But as creepy as it was, it was also so captivating – especially when it came to actress Ruth Gordon, who played the role of nosey neighbour, Minnie Castevet.
There are performances and then there are PERFORMANCES.
I don’t need to say it, as it has been said countless times before, but Gordon’s screen presence, her delivery, everything about what she does in the movie is up there with the best of ’em. Never let anyone tell you any different.
Anyway, I continued with the movie all the way up to the final scene….
…and that’s when the VHS tape stopped.
I had sat through the whole film, barely taking my eyes off the screen and now at the last hurrah, the bloody tape had run out!
I couldn’t believe it. Rosemary’s Baby was a great movie – clearly a cut above the rest – and here I was, mouth wide open getting increasingly angry at the fact I didn’t know how it ended!
It is worth pointing out that this all happened during a period of time when I didn’t really use the internet and Google searches were not on my radar. So, before you ask, no, I didn’t Google the ending.
In order to find out what happened next, I needed another copy of the movie – and fast!
The next day, I asked my mother (she probably doesn’t remember) to pop into town and pick me up a copy of the movie on VHS. I couldn’t do it myself as Rosemary’s Baby was an 18 certificate and I wasn’t 18 years old.
And even when I was 18 I still looked about 12, so I would have never managed to get that movie under my own steam anyway. Sigh… the problems of looking youthful. 😉
The following evening I re-watched Rosemary’s Baby from start to finish and when I reached the point where the tape clicked off, I discovered…
*Pause for dramatic tension*
…I had only missed the last 30 seconds of the movie. Yep, just 30 seconds.
Did I care?
I loved Rosemary’s Baby the first time I watched it (minus those 30 seconds), I loved it the second time I watched it (with those 30 seconds), but more importantly, from that moment onward I had a copy of the film in my possession.
I eventually switched that VHS tape to DVD, and I know own the movie digitally. No doubt I will switch again, whatever the next technological upgrade is. Perhaps, it’ll be beamed directly into my mind.
Now I appreciate that some people take issue with Rosemary’s Baby, because of how they feel about director Roman Polanksi. This I completely understand.
When I first watched Rosemary’s Baby I knew nothing of the situation surrounding Polanski and while this does create problems with how I view the film now, it doesn’t change the fact that this was a milestone movie for me.
Without trying to make light of anything, sometimes sucky people do awful things. Should we dismiss great movies because the people involved do wrong? I don’t know the answer to that – I wish I did.
For now, I continue to enjoy one of my all-time favourite horror movies. In fact, I think another viewing is in order.
- The first time I watched Halloween (1978)
- FAQs about Ghostbusters (1984)
- What is the best order to watch the Nightmare on Elm Street movies?