The following comes from a Jan 2014 story in Crisis magazine.
Unexpectedly, I came across a reference to NBC re-making Rosemary’s Baby into a four-hour mini-series; press reports suggest that shooting has already begun this month. With this news, a fear began to grip as my thoughts returned to the original.
Strange tales grow up around movies. Like many before and since, Rosemary’s Baby has had its fair share. There is one, however, regarding that 1968 movie that to this day, continues to disquiet, revealing as it does a tale seemingly darker than that which transpired upon the screen.
Sharon Tate was one of the “faces” of the 1960s—like Christie and Bardot; she too had “the look.” Her star has somewhat faded now, but she was fast becoming an intrinsic part of that decade. Born into a middle class Catholic family in California, she was to hear Hollywood’s siren call—from then her path was set. At precisely the same time as another was making his way there with a similar goal, albeit from a very different place. A Polish Jew named Roman Polanski had forged, with one film, a reputation as a director of promise in his native land. Now, with an eye to the international stage, he was coming to London, just as Tate was arriving in England to film her first major role: playing the part of a witch in the Eye of the Devil (1966). Decisively, their paths were to cross. Polanski’s London based film, Repulsion (1965), marked out the young Pole still further. It starred another 60s icon, Catherine Deneuve (similar in looks to Tate) who played an isolated young woman going slowly mad in a South Kensington apartment, before a frenzied killing with an axe. At the time, it was to be as disturbing a piece of cinema as it was to prove successful with critics and audiences alike. Cinema was throwing off moral constraints at the perceived dawning of a new age, and films such as Polanski’s, with recurring themes of murder, madness, and the supernatural were to be in the vanguard of this emerging order.
Thereafter, a very 1960s affair ensued between the now lovers, Tate and Polanski—she wanting marriage and children, while he wanting his “freedom” and her. The Spirit of the Age dictated that she acquiesce, which she duly did. International celebrity for both followed, becoming one of cinema’s Golden Couples in the process. Inevitably after the success of his European films, Polanski was beckoned to America with a view to making his first U.S. film: Rosemary’s Baby—based upon the 1967 best-selling novel by Ira Levin. Unsurprisingly, Tate was his first choice to play the lead—a plan, later, aborted. Nevertheless, the stage was inexorably being set.
Still to this day, Rosemary’s Baby (1968) is a chilling movie. The plot is of an actor who sacrifices his wife’s fecundity to evil so that his career subsequently flourishes; and flourish it does. I remember the first time I saw it on television, one Halloween in the late 1970s. Even then, I realized that this was a strangely different sort of “horror” film to any I had thus far experienced, and a long way from the studios of Universal and Hammer. Here was something distinct, and with a peculiar feel that disturbed. Barely a teenager, I wasn’t sure why. Over thirty years later, I watched the movie again—it disturbed me even more than it had that first time, only now I began to understand.
For a start, until the late 1960s, there had never been a Hollywood film where evil triumphed so blatantly; and what evil, nothing less than the birth of the Anti-Christ. There are, of course, many other, more subtle (and all the more disquieting for that) hints of evil suffused throughout—for example, the real 1966 Time magazine cover asking: “Is God Dead?” And the use of actual footage of Pope Paul VI’s visit to New York City in 1965, with its accompanying mocking by the now Satanist husband to his still nominally Catholic wife, Rosemary. Other, more lurid, attacks on the Church are present. Be in no doubt, a palpable darkness pervades this movie from the start.
And then, there is Rosemary: an innocent cut adrift, the slowly crumbling, unknowing mother-to-be—brilliantly played by Mia Farrow—isolated, spiritually as well as physically, increasingly alarmed at the realization that she can trust no-one. As the net continues to tighten, we watch with equal unease, knowing her predicament is far worse than she could ever have imagined. In this horror movie, like none before, there is to be no escape for Rosemary. For this is a truly nightmarish plot from start to dire finish, ending as it does with that final scene’s infernal adoration ringing out: “Hail Satan!”
A frequent visitor to the set of Rosemary’s Baby, Tate was the subject of a series of photographs taken at the time by Esquire. In retrospect, these images appear as eerie as the movie itself. Moreover, a peculiar conversation took place shortly after the movie’s completion, when she startled a friend by saying: “The Devil is beautiful. Most people think he’s ugly, but he’s not.” Curious words indeed, and spoken by one blinded by the entity of which she spoke—the Father of Lies—whose “beauty” was but a mask beyond which lay only Death.
Rosemary’s Baby burst onto cinema screens during the summer of 1968, only a handful of weeks before Humane Vitae also arrived, if to less thunderous applause. One taught the truths of human life and love, the other was but a nefarious parody; one caught the Zeitgeist and was lauded, the other pilloried. Nevertheless, both were prophetic, and in their very different ways marked the beginning of a battle for more than just the soul of Hollywood.
Needless to say, the film was released to great critical and commercial success. At the New York premiere one woman did cry: “Blasphemy!”—she was mocked. The Catholic League of Decency, by then on its last legs, tried to protest but was immediately dismissed—the tide had turned.
Meanwhile, Polanski’s career “took off.” The future must indeed have looked golden; and yet, while the director and his now wife were making their new home in the hills over Hollywood, every move was being scrutinized. Unfortunately for them, the eyes so doing were those of a madman, by the name of Charles Manson. Manson, a self-styled “guru,” and his followers—The Family—were deranged, but, more worryingly still, they lusted after blood.
And so it was, on August 9, 1969, just as the clocks struck midnight, wishing “to do the work of the Devil”—as was their later boast—The Family in a packed automobile made for the Santa Monica Mountains: having already decided who was to be their next victim.
With Polanski absent, this murderous cabal smashed their way into the young couple’s home. It was there that the “blood sacrifice” was to be offered—two in fact, for Tate was heavily pregnant. That night, like the fictional mother at the close of Rosemary’s Baby, Sharon Tate was also robbed of what lay in her womb, as well as of life itself; and, as was the case with Rosemary, by chanting men and women who claimed to worship the Evil One—only this was no fiction, but, instead, all too real.
It is an old and wise maxim not to dabble in “things” of the Occult. One foolishly forgotten in these days when such powers are naively played with, looked upon as nothing but “harmless fun,” and therefore invoked unwittingly.
Still, even for non-believers, it would seem at least prudent to leave such things well alone. On that dreadful night, Sharon Tate may well have thought so. In those last minutes of life, we can only surmise what thoughts flooded her mind. Possibly they turned to her husband’s first American film?
Later, at the trial of her murderers, it was revealed that her last cry was but one word: “Mother.” A call for help, perhaps a reference to that earlier film, or, was it a prayer?…
To read the original story, click here.
There is truth in this article. I remember several movies of this era, and there was a penetrating evil in he air.
You are right, and in the “now”, evil can once again be felt
And has the penetrating evil gone away since then?
I saw the whole movie once years ago and found it absurd: a sort of unfunny “Bell, Book and Candle”. Devils have no bodies and can’t beget, and no child is born damned (or damnable). That the husband enjoyed success because of his “sale” was never quite clear until he declared it very near the end. The characters of the husband and the warlock were very believable, however. Our coldly “practical” age is quite ready to summon spirits from the vasty deep.
This film did not scare me at all. The people in it were pathetic and banal like most evil truly is. It reminds of me the person who sold out Thomas Moore. St Moore was astonished not by the deed as much as how little this guy got for his betrayal-(“For WALES, Percy? For WALES?”) The husband got next to nothing for the horrible thing he did. Was it worth it? I thought the movie was just sad for that reason.
To me a much more frightening film was “The Devil’s Advocate” where the protagonists turn to evil by a serious of slow, quietly selfish and evil decisions that slowly make them into monsters. The devil, Al Pacino, started it but the young couple ended up finishing it. For me, films like this and “The Box” scare me a lot more because they’re about true corruption and the process of becoming evil. Being born bad is silly. Slowly selling out to evil is horribly easy.
What a powerful article! It captures the spirit of 1968. I did not know that Sharon Tate had filmed The Eye of the Devil. In the original article in The link to Crisis Magazine they have a picture of her bringing offerings to an altar, with the following:
Editor’s note: The MGM studio caption for the above scene from “Eye of the Devil” (1966) reads: “Devil worshiper Sharon Tate offers a white dove, killed in flight by an archer’s arrow, as sacrifice to the demands of the unholy “13″ tribunal.”
In many years of attending Mass, both OF and EF, I do not remember mention of the Devil, except in the St. Michael Prayer after low mass.
It is wonderful that Pope Francis reminds us that we are in danger of his snares.
Let us not forget that the devil is real. There are 14 paragraphs in the CCC on the devil, and 14 paragraphs on Satan.
CCC: ” 414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.”
Letter to Ordinaries regarding norms on Exorcism (Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict)
CCC: ” 1673 When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism.
Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing.
In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism.
The solemn exorcism, called “a major exorcism,” can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church.
Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.”
We must always keep our priorities straight.
1) God first, humans second;
2) Eternal first, temporal second;
3) Knowing and keeping separate the Intrinsic Evils, rather than mushing them together with other Church teachings.
I really liked your post but I am confused by what you meant by number 3.
It is my understanding that in the “new” rites of Baptism” exorcism is played down if not totally ignored!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika and His Church!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
One reason why I am grateful that my husband and children were baptized in the old rite.
Could it not be the reverse: that Polanski’s fascination with the occult led to perversion and deviance?
There were many sick, radical minds, in the 1960’s,, savagely tearing the world to pieces, like a bunch of wild, crazy animals! A reflection, no doubt, of extreme “modernism,” and the “alienated” man’s loss of family, religion, community, identity, value to society– and his “loss of soul.” Thus, we saw a goofed-up, very secularized Episcopal Church leader, Bishop Pike of San Francisco, abandoning his faith, preaching ideas like “God is dead.” Sounds like a “crazy-but-chic” fashion concept, by disgusting modern “artists,” with no talent, and very bad taste! Then, we saw tons of bad books and movies— including the blasphemous nightmare, “Rosemary’s Baby.” After Vatican II, we no longer had the Legion of Decency, and movie ratings. No Friday abstinence, no Church traditions left! Over 200,000 priests, worldwide, resigned! Our way of life gone! No more Church leadership or discipline! And no foundation left, either, for a solid Catholic marriage and family life, and for being a good, practicing Catholic! “Humanae Vitae” was a big shock, and source of confusion, for many Catholics! Our religion was already gone! Now this??
Our Blessed Mother has told us in many apparitions and locutions as did alos St. Paul to “stay with Tradition”. If, God forbid, even a Pope goes against Tradition, we can then ignore him!
Pray that the modernist do not reign at the coming Synod in October!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika and His Church!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Exorcism is fine, but locking up the Manson tribe was paramount. The declaration that the death penalty was unconstitutional after their conviction eliminated capital punishment in this case.
Evil. No better word to describe this crime and the criminals who perpetrated it..
Don’t watch this trash. Don’t let these awful images invade your mind and upset your pease of soul. Why put yourself through horrific details of depravity? Turn away from this stuff. You will not be sorry you did, but you may be very sorry if you don’t.
I totally agree with you Kristin. Everything about that situation was demonic — the book, the movie, some of Polanski’s behavior and last but not least the Manson Family. It seems that evil attracts evil in most cases. I do not recommend this movie for anyone. It can open the door to the occult. It is wise to stay away from the occult in any form — no astrology, no necromancy, no tarot card reading, no fortunetelling, no illegal drugs. The Holy Bible and the catechism forbids it all for a reason.
I totally agree with you Anne! I saw it when it came out and I thought it was really insidious. The music is especially evil and the lullaby that Mia Farrow sang was utterly haunting and evil…another door to the occult. There are so many seemingly innocent lures to darkness…especially drugs and distilled alcohol . The problem is, people have become cynical and jaded and don’t even believe evil exists.
The Church is a powerful force against Evil, and the Devil. Daily devotion to Our Blessed Mother, and saying her Rosary— is very helpful in combating Sin, and protecting mankind from Evil! The extremely destabilized post-Vatican II Church has invited the forces of Evil to attack and kill many of Christ’s sheep! Too much confusion, too much destruction to the Mass and daily practice of the Faith, and no regular instruction of Catholic Faith and Morals! Plus, the discouragement of religious devotions, particularly, devotion to Our Blessed Mother! And too many discouraging prohibitions, overall– of pre-Vatican II religious practices, by Church authorities! The filthy, misguided, so-called “sexual revolution” (descent into Sin!) of the 1960’s, use of birth control– and eventually, the legalization of abortion– plus, acceptance of gay sex acts of perversion, use of drugs, acceptance of profanity, pornography, and violence, and the horror of child sex abuse in the priesthood– all of this FILTH invited the forces of Evil to mislead and destroy millions of souls on Earth, with the reign of the Devil!! Instead of more exorcisms, we need a strong, regular religious practice, in our Church!!
The apartment block where Rosemary’s Baby was filmed was the same one John Lennon later lived in ,and outside of which he was shot .
And which was witnessed by a friend of mine.
The new “rite” of exorcism does not work, only the pre-vatican 2 Latin exorcism worked, I know I know Novus Ordonarians will go bonkers and say Latin Latin all you traditionalists do is whine about Latin, well it is the sacred language of the Church and it worked.
Yes, Janek: It also eliminates invocations to the Blessed Virgin (there are two chapters with texts and prayers general in the 1999 “new” ritual (revised again 2004): plus, ah yes, hidden in the back, two appendices where there actually contains a mentioning of her name). The new rite also eliminates much of the language and prose and powerful imprecatory and imperative prayers, whole and entire, that the famed Benedictine, counselor to Charlemagne, Alcuin (d. 804), had collected from the decades of experience of the Benedictine order of “things that worked”.
The traditional 1614 RR’s (Rituale Romanum) invocations against obsession or possession are awesome to read, fearsome even to believers, and it minces no words: the traditional rite is a powerful frontal attack of accusations of all the wicked crimes of the Dragon, weakening him/it and stripping it/him of the pretense “he” uses mainly to gain advantage on souls. No pussyfooting.
On the other hand, the 1999 rite De exorcismis et supplicationibus quibusdam (“On Exorcisms and Other Supplications”) according to Fr. Gabriel Amorth is fearfully weakened, warns against confusing mental illness with diabolical possession, (oh, thank you: never thought of that) and appears to have been designed by those who doubt the need to fight an Ancient Dragon.
By the way, when the “experts” revised the new rite—-not one of them was an exorcist, nor had exorcist experience. (Wouldnt want that now..)
By the way, you can purchase the Editio Typica (1952 version)/1957 Vulgate version of the Rituale Romanum (1614 text) at FSSP’s website, Fraternity Publications, for about $80. Anything that you see online that is “Roman Ritual”, such as at Amazon, is the 2004 ersatz version.
And by the way, the “need” to revise the rite of exorcism was justified by another one of the famed trap-door, typically ambiguous paragraphs of Sacro.Concilium (On the Liturgy) of V2:
“25. The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.”
Again, Gamber, Ratzinger, Bouyer, Stickler, all the periti who were real experts, never expected that the 1614 RR would be gelded by par. 25. One of the smallest little clauses from Vat 2 has come to let all hell loose.
Who determined that liturgical books should be rewritten? Don’t they have to offer reasons or qualifications? That doesn’t even make sense. There should have been some justification .
Read the books that Steve Phoenix recommends, Dana. He is faithful as you know. But as things progress in the Church, it is important to know the how and the why.
The Second Vatican Council – An Unwritten Story by Professor Roberto de Mattei is a very thorough and scholarly work that reveals much that led up to VII, chronicled the events therein, and touches on much of the concern surrounding the Council.
Dana, the Church wrote the liturgical books and the Church can revise them.
One of the things they restored was reading from the Old Testament.
In the previous Mass, now called the TLM or the EF, the people do not activiely participate. Only the altar boy responded to the priest. There was a reading from the New Testament and the Gospel like there is now. People did not pray the Mass- a lot of them would pray the Rosary but some had devotional books so they would pray a different prayer-connected to the action of the Mass. The Holy Father wanted people to be involved in the prayer of the Mass and to restore liturgical practices from the early Church, much nearer to the time of Christ himself. Please don’t be influenced by gossip about who did what and who was shocked. Remember when St. Paul argued with St. Peter? Would you go back and say “We should do what Peter said the first time”? Of course not. The Holy Spirit guides the Church, no matter how many people want to cause you to distrust Him.
Thank you Nancy. That was very helpful. I’ve attended a Latin Mass several times and it was completely sung by the choir from the loft above. I had a Latin/English Missal but I kept getting lost, mainly because I was so unfamiliar with everything. I did love the Altar rail though, and taking the Host while kneeling.
Many seem to confuse active participation with speaking and ‘doing’ something at mass, Nancy. They do not recognize the benefit and full union of contemplative prayer at mass and therefore fall into the notion that *all* those praying their rosary and/or engaging in assorted devotions during mass were not participating. While that may be true for those with less than pure intentions, nothing could be further from the truth for many others.
We do not need to lift our hands or follow every word to be united and participating at mass. That is a very limiting perspective that often leaves folks frustrated as they do not ‘feel’ they get anything from the mass even though they – follow the missal word for word, raise their hands when required, distribute communion as an Extraordinary Minister, etc. etc. Mass is not an academic exercise.
By attempting to find the lowest common denominator, the deep spiritual participation of contemplation is passed over as being nothing. That’s not deception. Rather that is why contemplation at mass is often poo pooed.
So saying, “…the Church wrote the liturgical books and the Church can revise them,” is true enough. But look to the fruits of the new rite of Exorcism. Effective Exorcists use the old formula. And for good reason. It works.
You might want to try just praying at the TLM, Dana. Use the missal as much as you can, if you can, but if you get lost, don’t focus on attempting to follow the words. Follow the Spirit and pray to be united to the Sacrifice on the Altar. Engage in the deep communication with Our Lord that your soul craves during otherwise hectic times. Allow the ritual to carry you, to assure you, to unite you. It does.
The outward signs of submitting to Christ like kneeling to receive Him on the tongue in Holy Communion *is* a form of union and ultimately prayer. One is often taught without words and, in experience, that is much of what is beautiful in the TLM.
This is a video that introduces a Catholic Answers series on how the Mass has changed over the centuries.
The lion roars who will not be afraid? The Lord God speaks; who will not prophesy? Amos 3:8
“Weep not; the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has conquered.” Revelations (Apocalypse) 5:5.
Well, well. doo dah doo dah. I confess Anne, that I’ve always believed that the lion image was for the Old Testament as a sign of power but I’ve not heard it in reference to the Church…quite the opposite, though St. Mark’s symbol is the winged lion, but it’s not roaring. hmmm. I hope others will add their mite.
Some of us like the “previous” Mass.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”. I Peter 5:8
Please check your references Billy, before confusing people unfamiliar with the Bible. The Church never roars but is the Bride of Christ…with the attributes that a beautiful loving image that presents.
I’ll bet this is what you meant! God bless!
Dana, when I read Billy’s post, I pulled down a thin paperback prayer book off a shelf near my computer.. It is called “The Lion Roars, Prayers for the Remnant” by Dave Van Vickle. On the back of the title page is a picture of a sitting lion looking out over the sky and sea. with the Amos quotation above it. On the back cover is the verse from Revelation (Apocalypse). The lion mentioned in the first verse is probably the King of Assyria whom Amos prophesied would be allowed to devour the land of Israel for the people’s sins and idolatries. Some say the lion is the judgment of God himself who allows the king to invade Israel at that time. As far as the lion in Revelation, we know it is the Lord Jesus Christ. A lion roars after it has silently sneaked up and caught its prey and devoured it. The book contains many traditional prayers and Biblical passages, with the “thees” and “thous” of the older prayer books, right along with the newer Mysteries of the Rosary which include the Luminous ones. It also has an exorcism prayer which includes asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary. It all kind of fits in with the article above, and the cultural battle we are into now.