Both movies were directed by Roman Polanski, and both are incredible psychological thrillers. Repulsion (1965) completely creeps me out every single time I see it, and I'm still surprised at how many elements of this movie show up in movies being released now. The very young and utterly beautiful Catherine Deneuve plays a young manicurist living in swinging London with her sister. She has a slight problem. Men make her physically ill. Her sister leaves for a holiday with her married boyfriend, and things go terribly terribly wrong. How much of it is hallucination and how much of it is real? This is one of those rare movies where the viewer ends up looking at the world through the eyes of a person who is not sane, to the point where reality sort of disappears.
Rosemary's Baby (1968) runs along a similar vein, so to speak. Rosemary and her husband Guy move into the Bramford apartment building in New York City. The building in the movie is actually the Dakota, where John Lennon was shot years later. The Bramford has a colorful history of witches, suicides and death, but we all know how hard it is to find decent housing in New York. The couple is befriended by an older couple, and Ruth Gordon as Minnie nearly steals the entire movie. She reminds me so much of my grandmother that it really is frightening. Anyway, after a strange evening, Rosemary finds out she's pregnant, chooses an obstetrician who is a friend of the older couple's, and spends several months of her pregnancy in debilitating pain. She also gets a Sasoon haircut, which makes the already fragile actress Mia Farrow look absolutely breakable. Rosemary's dying friend leaves her a gift with a clue, and then paranoia explodes. Has Rosemary snapped, or are the nice, nosy neighbors actually bloodletting satanist witches?
With both of these movies, the direction and camerawork builds the paranoia to crazy extremes. Also, every time I watch them, I notice some nuance or detail that I never noticed before. Not much blood, no gore--this kind of horror is scarier to me. This kind of horror happens almost completely in the characters', and the viewer's, minds