19 January 2012
I need to gush about how insanely brilliant Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin is. The film is definitely in my top five horror films of all time (perhaps top three), but I’ve only just got around to reading the book, thanks to @_LadyAlex’s recommendation, as it was on her reading list for uni. The premise in a nut shell is that Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a new flat in the ‘Bramford’, which has a fairly murky reputation of Satanist ex-residents and high numbers of suicides and dead babies in the basement and so forth. They are taken under the wing of their next door neighbours, Minnie and Roman Castavet- an eccentric 60+ couple whose kindness becomes a bit stifling to Rosemary. Guy is an actor who is having a tough time getting his big break, and misses out on a big part to another actor, who, soon after the Woodhouses start spending time with the Castavets, becomes blind and Guy gets the role by default. Rosemary falls pregnant in a feverish dream sequence, and that’s all I’m prepared to say without ruining anything. The thing that makes this such an exemplary example of brilliant horror fiction, is how compelling the characters are, and unlike many horrors, you really care about the protagonist. Also, the character of Minnie Castavet is perhaps the most subversive “protagonist” ever, she is endlessly infuriating, but her gaudiness and sheer campness makes her an incredibly endearing character. Rosemary is such a complex character in the most accessible way possible, she's bright but extremely niave, unfalteringly trusting, and hers is eventually a story of crushing loneliness. Definitely read it, it will blow you away. In spite of the fact I knew how it ends, the build up to the climax had my heart racing. The film is so faithful to the book, it’s so phenomenal, it's hilariously funny, pretty heartbreaking, suffocatingly dark and genuinely horrifying. I can’t gush enough.