Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility.
Naturally, there’s going to be a little anxiety about a new arrival or how you handle each stage of raising kids. Horror and parenting are the perfect fit thematically.
Supernatural themes enhance the fears of an expectant mother in Rosemary’s Baby and a father faces unimaginable grief in Pet Semetary.
Set in 1965, the film follows a married couple, Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse (John Cassavetes and Mia Farrow), who move into an apartment in New York City. Once they settle in, Guy suggests it’s time for them to have a baby, he really wants a child, and Rosemary experiences haunting visions shortly after they conceive. Rosemary gets paranoid; is it just the pregnancy or are there dark forces controlling her every move?
Rosemary’s Baby presents a calm, seemingly ordinary situation and shows evil hiding in plain sight. It’s a chilling tale about gaslighting that weaves in maternal fear. Pregnancy is already a lot for a woman to handle without the occult!
Over 50 years after the release of Roman Polanski’s iconic horror film it’s still inspiring filmmakers. Jordan Peele lists it as his favourite horror film and used it as the key inspiration for Get Out. Talking to Vanity Fair, Peele said: “[it’s] a film about gender; it’s about men making decisions about women’s bodies behind their backs.”
It’s hard not to find a filmmaker working in the horror genre who doesn’t reference Rosemary’s Baby.
Watch Rosemary's Baby at SBS On Demand
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, director Mary Lambert captures the terror of the book, which King claims is the one that still scares him the most. King was so terrified after he wrote Pet Sematary that he put the manuscript in a drawer and began work on another novel. King’s wife found the story and agreed that it was too dark; but too good to not publish.
The story focuses on the Creed family who move from the big city to a rural town. Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff), the dad, can’t bear to see his kids sad when the family cat is run over on a nearby road. Louis’ neighbour (the unforgettable Fred Gwynne) tells him about an ancient burial ground with the power to bring creatures back. The cat is laid to rest but returns not quite right. Then, things go from bad to worse for the Creeds.
Pet Sematary is one of the best King adaptations because of its unflinching depiction of death and grief. Midkiff is incredible as Louis and despite all his poor choices, you relate to his desperation to overcome death.
The film’s most famous line still resonates over 20 years later: sometimes, dead is better.