Of all the horror films out there, Rosemary's Baby is my absolute favorite. I love the original book by Ira Levin, I love Roman Polanski as a director, Ruth Gordon as Minnie the creepy neighbor is brilliant and Mia Farrow's haircut is awesome. I've watched the movie every Halloween for the past decade. This Friday, October 18, the Houston Museum of Natural Science just happens to be playing the classic picture on its giant screen during their twice-monthly "Take Two" film screenings.
As excited as I may be to see this film projected to gigantic proportions with surround sound, I think I will be skipping it. Why? Because I just happen to be pregnant (with twins), and thinking about this movie and the possibility that my growing fetuses may in fact be the devil incarnate is a pretty frightening notion.
"What if my baby is the devil?" Yes, this sounds silly. Even the worst of colicky, screaming, crying, never-let-you-sleep, won't latch on to your boob, terror in a bassinet, is still a cute and lovable baby sometimes. This is NOT what I am talking about at all. What if your baby is literally the devil, as it happens to be for Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) in the film? What the hell do you do then?
In precaution, I have been looking for any clues that may lead to Lucifer-baby and thus far I think I'm in the clear, although there are a few things that seem to stand out to me.
In the movie, Rosemary's husband makes an arrangement with the couple's creepy neighbors the Castevet's to further his acting career in exchange for a romp in the sack with his unsuspecting wife. While I cannot see my husband doing anything like that, - he is a computer programmer and there is little fame to be won in that field - I could, however, see myself doing this! Yes, I am a starving writer (currently I don't look starving but rather whale-esque), and haven't I made secret pacts with some unknown ethereal figure many, many times in my life? Haven't all artists? "If only my play is accepted into this theater festival, I will do whatever you want forever, oh, unnamed floating vapor that I cannot see." No? I'm the only one? If, by some off-chance, Satan was listening to my inner thoughts, as I totally know he can do, maybe I have made some sort of verbal agreement that even I am not aware of. I dunno! I guess I'll wait and see if anything awesome happens to me professionally; as of now it hasn't.
Rosemary is talked into drinking these crazy potions that are more powerful than regular vitamins. Now this is something I know that I have done prior to getting pregnant and still continue to do. "The pre-natals contain all of your nutrients," says doctor I think I know a lot because I am actually a doctor and you are not. But I know better, and when I say I, obviously I mean the Internet. If you open my medicine cabinet you will find a vast array of herbs and pills and supplements that do things to your body that I couldn't possibly understand. I went through a phase where I put bee pollen into all of my smoothies because someone told me this would help with something that seemed rather important at the time. And don't forget the Macca root powder I bought because I was told that it made your eggs stronger, whatever that means. Honestly, if someone on one of the thebump.com message boards said they started taking tannis root (which Rosemary is given in the movie), I would probably be ordering it right now over Amazon, assuming I could get it through Amazon prime, of course.
Rosemary finds that she has an intense yearning for raw meat and chicken liver. I can happily say uncooked cow is not something that I've been sending my husband to retrieve at Kroger's during a 4 a.m. run. What I have been craving to absurd levels, however, is ketchup. Lately, I find myself eating foods for the sole purpose of covering them with the thick, red, salty condiment. Really, how different is Heinz from blood? Not very. The other day I ate a bowl of frozen peas just to put ketchup on them. I know! That sounds disgusting. That is surely some doing of Diablo.
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Of course there is no way that either of my unborn children are really the spawn of Lucifer because the devil would never be into me -- I am way too neurotic and he seems like a real laid back type of dude -- but I think when you are about to have your first child (children) there is a genuine fear of the unknown and whether you will have the ability to roll with whatever happens. Your life will completely change; everything you have established for yourself, all of your professional desires, your favorite hobby of doing nothing but watching television for hours on end, when you sleep, when you go out, when you have time to write, whether or not the baby will like indie-rock while you are driving in the car or if you'll have to listen to endless amounts of Raffi, basically the bubble that is "you," which you have spent so many years crafting, will be turned on its head just like that. And so the secret thought of, "Holy crap, what if my baby is the devil," while absurd, is as honest as it gets.
On the plus side, if my baby does turn out to be the Prince of Darkness, at least I know that it will be really good at wheeling and dealing. As long as its eyes are OK.
Rosemary's Baby is playing at the HMNS, this Friday, October 18 at 7 p.m. For more information visit hmns.org