‘Rosemary’s Baby’ Gave Birth to a New Breed of Terror When It Premiered 50 Years Ago

June 12 marks the 50th anniversary of “Rosemary’s Baby,” which still remains a gold standard for suspense movies. Though Ira Levin’s novel was a hit, the film adaptation “remained a big question mark until its initial screenings,” Variety wrote on May 29, 1968. The skepticism was because director Roman Polanski’s 1967 “The Fearless Vampire Killers” lost money, while star Mia Farrow was unproven at the box office. But Variety reviewer A.D. Murphy predicted it would be a success and praised the film’s “brilliant” work, above and below the line. With a budget of $3.2 million, the movie was one of the year’s biggest winners, bringing $12.3 million in rentals to Paramount. It was also subtly radical: While other 1960s shockers took place in isolated locations or creaky old homes, “Rosemary’s Baby” found horror in everyday urban settings. And after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy that year, ...

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