Boy, you think YOUR kids are a handful. Roman Polanski's 1968 feature adaptation of Ira Levin's novel Rosemary's Baby has aged remarkably well, particularly because of its emphasis on character and human drama and minimal use of traditional horror elements. One of the most shocking moments of the film comes right at the beginning when you see William Castle's producer credit. I'm still surprised when I'm reminded that he had a hand in this picture. Castle was best known for directing charmingly gimmicky B horror flicks like Mr. Sardonicus (audiences were given thumbs up/thumbs down cards to vote on the villain's fate), the Psycho influencedHomicidal (the film featured a "Fright Break" right before the climax that allowed audience members to retreat to the "Coward's Corner" if they weren't feeling brave enough to sit through the rest of the movie), and the original 13 Ghosts (for which the audience was given special glasses to view the ghosts in the film). Had Castle followed through on his original plan to direct Rosemary's Baby himself, I'm sure we would be talking about a very different film.
Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes) are a young couple who move into a new apartment in New York. The place seems a bit extravagant, particularly since their income consists of what Guy makes as a struggling actor. The elderly couple living next door, Minnie (Ruth Gordon, who won an Oscar for the role) and Roman Castevet (Sidney Blackmer) are friendly enough, but too clingy for Rosemary's taste. There's also some strange chanting coming from the Catevets' apartment, and a girl who was living with them is found dead in the street of an apparent suicide. Rosemary and Guy's old friend Hutch (Maurice Evans, who will always be Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes to me) let's them in on their new building's sordid past, telling them of witchcraft, cannibalism and infanticide being performed by previous tenants.