11. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

I only like Roman Polanski when he’s doing horror – The Tenant and Repulsion could easily have made this list, but they’re easily trumped by Rosemary’s Baby, which is one of those films I have to watch every year or so just to remind myself that my neighbours are probably evil satanists. Mia Farrow is perfect as the victim wife you love to see suffer: I’m sure there are feminist readings of this film, and God knows Polanski’s sexual politics are appalling, but in terms of horror fiction it’s a great, unsettling dynamic. The supernatural nonsense filters slowly and subtly through the banalities of life in the apartment block, and the fact that the real villains are such boring people is a masterstroke. rosemarys_baby_15aI love all the stuff about drinks parties and nibbles being used as a vehicle for demonic possession, and there’s the tantalising suspicion (at least the first time you see it) that Mia Farrow might just be crazy and imagining the whole thing. The final scene (‘Hail Satan!’) is one of the most successful blends of high camp comedy and real scary horror ever. Pour yourself a large glass of tannis root and enjoy.


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