The 100 best horror films - Rosemary's Baby



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Number 7: Rosemary's Baby

By Derek Adams, Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, Sarah Cohen, Nigel Floyd and Tom Huddleston, with the generous support of everyone at FrightFest and Cine-Excess. Explore the individual top tens of every contributor.

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |


Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Dir Roman Polanski (Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon)

The hoof that rocks the cradle

It’s hard enough moving into a flat and trying to start a family without having to wrestle with the enveloping suspicion that your new neighbours might be satanists dead-set on parenting a demon child via you. This is the intelligent, subtle face of horror, as Polanski limits the specifics to a minimum and keeps us guessing as to how much is going on merely in the mind of Mia Farrow’s character as she comes to believe she’s been impregnated by a creepy bunch of well-to-do Manhattanites with a connection to the occult. There are some more explicit key scenes – a potential nighttime rape and a chilling climax – that serve to get right under our skin without making the whole premise seem ridiculous. Farrow and Cassavetes’s performances as a couple disintegrating serve Polanski well in his attempt to make the potential alienation of everyday family life feel horrific, and the faux-naive score, evoking lullabies, makes the whole affair feel doubly creepy in the most heady way possible. DC

What the experts said

  • ‘Probably the best study of evil in the modern world.’

    Reece Shearsmith
  • ‘Remarkable because it allows us to see abnormality beneath the surface of normality. The subtle nuance of madness tainting our everyday existence is what’s memorable about this film.’

    Coffin Joe
  • ‘Absolutely unsettling and disturbing...’

    Ruggero Deodato
  • ‘Brilliantly conceived as both a modern day horror story and as an allegory for the patriarchal institutions that try to control and violate women's minds and bodies.’

    Bruce LaBruce

Watch a 'Rosemary's Baby'-related video clip

Here’s a selection of revealing interviews with the producer, director and stars of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |

Users say

Captain Howdy
Captain Howdy

I would have made this Number Two...Invariably the best horror films are those that slowly eat your mind away and tear your soul apart..not just go for screams and sudden jolts but INFECT your mind with MADNESS! Tannis Root...ROsemary was the best