'Rosemary's Baby' is as scary as ever

"Awful things happen in every apartment house," Rosemary Woodhouse intones in Rosemary's Baby.

And she should know.

The film that became a cultural touchstone and the punchline to a million "spawn of Satan" jokes is a little quaint now, with its '60s New York apartment setting and pre-Exorcist, pre-Omen Satanic storyline.

But Ruth Gordon, Elisha Cook Jr., Ralph Bellamy, Maurice Evans and the rest of the "characters" in Rosemary's apartment building are as scary as ever. Mia Farrow came to embody a kind of gamin innocence, thanks to the film.

And director Roman Polanski's European eye was never creepier than in this tale of a woman selected to have the devil's baby. It's all Gothic chills rendered in lurid, 1960s colors, with dialogue that has more than a touch of camp about it.

"No pope ever visits a city where the newspapers are on strike."

The reason for this 40-year-old horror classic's inclusion in this year's Florida Film Festival is its William Castle connection. (Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story also is in the festival.)

The horror impresario owned the rights to the novel and planned on filming it, but Paramount insisted that Polanski direct, with Castle earning a producer credit and a cameo role in the film.

Screening at: Sunday, April 6, 9:30 p.m.–11:45 p.m. at Enzian.