Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rosemary's Baby

Awful feelings came with the viewing of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) about seven years ago when I witnessed it for the first time along with some other unsuspecting innocents. I’ve watched it two or three times since that evening and I’ve felt those same awful feelings every time. Suffice it to say, I love this film. I’m not sure if it’s because of my Christian background that this movie so disturbs me, or if it’s because the bad guys win in such a conniving way, but whatever the reasons, the film evokes feelings of dread and anxiety that grab hold of my soul and don’t let go for days.

It probably wasn’t a good idea, but I watched it again about three weeks ago, shortly after finding out that my wife is having another baby. I couldn’t get that creepy music out of my head for the rest of that night. But it’s not just the music that causes me unease; knowing that the protagonist’s husband betrays her for his career is also a disturbing thought. What husband, if he truly loves her, would let the Devil impregnate his wife with the Antichrist just so he can further his career? It’s absurd. Even the very surreal and effective ending, when the witches are all singing praises to Satan while the mother looks upon her beastly baby deciding whether or not to care for him, seems over-the-top and plain silly. So why does the ending especially freak me out every time I watch it? Maybe it’s the sincerity of the actors, or Roman Polanski’s thoughtful direction of the film that convinces me to feel uneasy; or maybe it’s the reality of knowing that there really are evil people out there with an agenda to bring about chaos and disorder for personal gain. More than that, maybe it’s the notion that I too could be capable of selling out to Satan to appease my selfishness...if he existed.