Rosemary’s Baby was a blockbuster when it was released in the late 60’s, and its brilliant conceit of putting gothic horror themes of Satan and his followers in the environment of the bright NYC apartment of a young couple was groundbreaking for the time. It paved the way for other urban horror hits like The Exorcist and The Omen, and was a profound influence on writers like Stephen King. The movie culminates in this scene when Rosemary, played by fragile waif Mia Farrow, discovers the true nature of her newborn child. Her plaintive question at the end reveals the horror of her progeny more than any make-up job could.
Any kid coming of age in the 70’s was permanently scarred by the ending of this flick, based on the first published novel by Stephen King. Director Brian DePalma lulls you into a sense of calm with a tinkling soundtrack and a diffuse lens… and then gives you one hell of a jolt.
Speaking of Stephen King, I complained in Nerdstalking Podcast IT Review that that movie had too many jump scares. You can probably trace the lineage of the cheapest of all film frights to this moment in Carrie. Still, it’s fun to look back on a time when it wasn’t the overused trope it is today.
John Lithgow is one of those actors where, no matter how mediocre the film, he’s always interesting to watch. His segment in the film version of The Twilight Zone, based on the original series entry Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, was anything but medicore. It takes a real actor to out-hysteric William Shatner, but Lithgow somehow manages it as a harried aviophobic who keeps seeing a gremlin on the wing of the airplane he is flying in.
While the scene featured here occurs before the fireworks really get started, its weirdness serves to put both Lithgow’s character, and the audience, ill at ease.
When it comes to great film moments, this one has an edge. As a fan of the original Alien (1979), I was wondering a couple of things when I was in the theatre watching this scene from the 1986 sequel. First, since the crew has woken up from cryogenic sleep and they’re gathered in mess eating a meal, is someone gonna start convulsing and you-know-what pop out? You have to wait for a full chest-bursting scene later (and they already kind of pulled the trigger on that earlier in the film, as well).
The other question they answer here is, as with Ash in the first film, is there a shady android among them? The answer comes in this great scene, where Bishop (Lance Henriksen) exhibits an otherworldly skill with a knife, at the expense of eternal whipping-boy Hudson (Bill Paxton).
Great moment in film: Time to wash all this scum off the street.