In honor of Halloween I decided to dissect one of my favorite horror movies, Rosemary's Baby (1968). I tend to like psychological thrillers rather than slasher movies. It is one movie that I have to watch during the Halloween season. It is scary, intense and a little bit comically too.Rosemary's Baby has it all! It has satanic worshippers, the Infamous Dakota, Midwesterners new to NY, and a tie to the director, Roman Polanski as well.
But it is important to also see what was going on during the time the book by Ira Levin was written! The movie has everything to make it a cult movie. But the themes that are within the movies and the fears are not just a fictional "monster in the house genre." It is not just a great directing or script writing where for some reason Rosemary cannot escape the Bramford. There is not an irrational fear of Satanic people that came from no where. There was actually a rise of Satan worshiping in California and there was also a connection to music/actors. The Satanic leader The church of Satan was formed April 30, 1966 and the book "Rosemary's Baby" was published March 12, 1967.
|Mia Farrow, Beatles and their Guru|
That was then that he had been interested in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. By February 1968 he had become their spiritual advisers. Interestingly enough both Mia Farrow and her sister Prudence joined them. In fact Dear Prudence was about Mia's sister Prudence. There was rumors according to John Lennon that the Guru tried to rape Mia Farrow and that did not fly with them. The wrote Sexy Sadie about how horrified they were with the Maharishi. Originally it was just going to be called Maharishi but George Harrison convinced them to change it to "Sexy Sadie." It was mostly about how great of a con man Maharishi was and how everyone was paying for enlightenment he was more than willing to sell. Also that he had a small dick and it was not cool that he was trying to rape Mia!
There are rumors that I have read that apparently the church of Satan realized they were not happy with their guru. Since they left their spiritual advisor they saw that they could fill a void in the Beatles, gain a crazy amount of followers and were trying to court them.
Around this time of drug and paranoia The Church of Satan crept up also San Francisco on April 30, 1966. The Leader was Anton Szandor LaVey who the character Roman Castevets'/ Steven Mercato is based on. Anton wrote The Satanic bible and was the High Priest of the movement which spoke about human nature and goals of materialism. Anton LaVey is known as the Black Pope of the Church of Satan.
Frank Sinatra was also in the Rat Pack which had Sammy Davis Junior in it. Apparently Sammy Davis Junior was a card carrying member of the Church of Satan. Just something else to tag onto the creepy connection of Mia Farrow to "Rosemary's Baby!" I do not mean to say that Mia Farrow was into Satanism nor do think this is the reason Frank broke off the marriage. I just find it an interesting factoid.
You cannot talk about the history going into the movie and book without quickly talking about what happened to Roman after he shot the movie. It is ironic the fact that people associated with The Church of Satan murdered Roman Polanski's wife. Sharon Tate had been married to Roman since January 1968 and had become pregnant.
She was fearful that Roman was going to ask her to have an abortion. She did not tell him that she was pregnant until she was leaving for the movie "The Thirteen Chairs" in March of 1969. Roman had numerous times told Sharon he did not want children because of his experiences growing up in occupied Poland. Roman felt that "the world was too violent, and too cruel, to bring a child into." Roman was not faithful to Sharon. Sharon was not trying to change him but she wanted him to change. She was preparing to be a mother and Roman's womanizing ways were getting to her.
|Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate (I believe).|
Tate however got over the fear that Roman might want her to have an abortion. She was excitedly awaiting the birth of her child. She returned after filming her movie to watch the moon landing July 20, 1969. In August 8, 1969, 8.5 month Pregnant Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by the Manson Family.Ironically and tragically ending in a Cruel and violent end weeks before the child was due!
|Annie Leibovitz picture of Yoko Ono and John Lennon taken on December 8, 1980|
Roman Polanski also recommended that John Lennon get an apartment in The Dakota where the movie was shot. December 8, 1980 John Lennon was shot in front of the Dakota by Mark David Chapman. It was ironic that Roman's wife was murdered because of a Beatle's song, Helter Skelter. Roman's good recommendation of the Dakota was where John Lennon was eventually killed. On the day he was killed he was at a photo shoot. There is a picture that was shot where he in the fetal position with Yoko Ono. John Lennon sang a duet with David Bowie called "Fame" which mentions "what you need is in the limo. Lennon had been riding in a limo" before he was shot. David Bowie sang a song "Space Oddity" about a man in outer space. Before Sharon Tate came back to America to see the Moon Landing. If you want to get extra weird it is the fact that Fellini's movie "8 1/2 was the movie that beat Roman Polanski's movie "Knife in the Water" at the Oscars. At the time of Helter Skelter Sharon Tate was 8.5 months pregnant and they slashed her belly. A Pregnant woman before she starts in labor her water breaks. Thus when they slashed her body they put a knife in the water.
These are just of course interesting ties that are not to be looked at beyond the fact that they are just interesting. Not conspiracy theory but just odd! There is a lot of darkness that is in this movie. More than I originally thought when I was researching the history! If you look it as Roman looks at it, the world is violent and cruel. So we should not try to connect a dot but rather just accept that bad things happen and we should not analyze it. Analyzing it would give the bad deeds too much power!
Next week look for The Even Darker Side to One of My Favorite Halloween Movies "Rosemary's Baby"! Part One Part Two: Analysis.