100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Eighty-Two - "Rosemary's Baby!"

I am having a difficult time getting my shite together today, for whatever reason. It could be because I am exhausted since I was up until 4 a.m. doing laundry, and then got back up at 7:30 to go to work. Or it could be ... nah, that's gotta be the reason. Best not explore further.

In fact, it's best to get on with today's selection as quickly as possible before I pass out from exhaustion. And that would be a shame, because this is one of the best.

So stay wide awake and play along at home as we dive into Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby!" And thanks again for reading!

Rosemary's Baby (1968): Directed by Roman Polanski. Starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavettes, Ruth Gordon, Sydney Blackmer, Maurice Evans and Ralph Bellamy.

The Skinny: When Rosemary and her husband Guy move into an exclusive apartment in New York City to start their family, they find their neighbors are part of a coven of devil worshipers determined to find a proper host for their deity - that turns out to be Rosemary's unborn child.

What's Good: After a string of semi-successful films, director Roman Polanski wrote and directed this adaptation of Ira Levine's novel of demonic possession, and thus found himself thrust into the spotlight. Working with a script that faithfully reproduces Levine's book, Polanski crafts a horrific film that doesn't rely on violence, gore and special effects to scare the shit out of you. Instead, it seizes on the paranoia Mia Farrow's titular character experiences as she becomes convinced there is something amiss in the Dakota. Farrow is pitch perfect as the mousy Rosemary Woodhouse, lost in so-called domestic bliss with her actor husband, and struggling to deal with her new creepy, elderly neighbors (an incredible Ruth Gordon in an Oscar-winning turn as the nosy Minnie Castavet). In fact, the entire cast is great as the plot to not kidnap but physically transform Rosemary's unborn baby comes slowly into play, culminating in a chilling birth party where worshipers from around the world have come to praise their embodied god. And Rosemary's decision to care for the demonic child brings the horror home, for what is a mother to do with her evil child? The only thing you can do - love them, unconditionally.

What's Bad: I can't find a single thing to say in a negative light about this film. It's a classic.

Why We Like It: I read Levine's novel in the 80s, many years before I actually saw the film and thought it was great. Then I saw the film and I fell completely in love - so much in love that I often just throw the DVD at random times just to enjoy it. Polanski is truly a talent, as he's proven time and time again with "Chinatown," "The Ninth Gate," and others, but this is Farrow's film - there are very few scenes where Rosemary isn't the focus of attention, leaving Farrow to carry the entire picture with her large watery eyes. And she does. And the rest of the cast members are also incredible, from Cassavettes on down. Plus, the Academy Award-nominated script crackles with great dialogue and convincing facts that all play into the underlying theme of Rosemary's paranoia.

Memorable Stuff: The whole film is great, but its final moments are just insane. After the baby is born in a rush of drug-induced panic, Rosemary is told that it was a stillbirth. When she follows the sound of a baby crying to a party next door, however, she finds her devilish infant very much alive and well, and being worshiped by the coven. As her world spirals out of control, and neighbor Roman tells her about their intricate plans, he raises his hands and cries out, "GOD IS DEAD! SATAN LIVES!" Shit ... I got chills just thinking about it.