Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Another film dealing with that pesky spawn of Satan is Roman Polanski’s slow burning, atmospheric, dark and brooding psychological horror, based on Ira Levin’s novel of the same name penned the previous year. Although Mia Farrow’s first credited feature film was Guns at Batasi (1964) it would be Rosemary’s Baby that would catapult her into worldwide stardom.
Farrow had been married to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra for two years when she was cast as the lead, which enraged Sinatra as he had expected to forgo her career when they wed. Initially succumbing to the pressure, she asked Paramount executive Robert Evans to let her out of her contract but after Evans showed her an hour-long rough cut and insisting she’d win an Oscar, Farrow stayed. Sinatra served her divorce papers on the set a few days later and she ended up not even being nominated for an Oscar.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Considered the grandfather of the zombie genre, George A. Romero’s low budget independent horror follows seven people who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in western Pennsylvania, trying to survive against a group of cannibalistic, undead corpses. This property not only launched the zombie movie into popular culture but also spawned five more movies, also directed by Romero.
This is another low budget horror that more than made back its budget of $114,000 by grossing approximately $30 million. In 2020, that would be around $223.6 million, over 263 times its budget. Sadly, Romero hardly saw a cent of this money due to his lack of knowledge regarding distribution deals. Theater owner Walter Reade and his company Continental Film Distributors would exploit this and walk away with practically all of the movies considerable profits.
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie star in Nicolas Roeg’s haunting tale of grief, clairvoyance and murder that is now considered not only a classic but one of the most influential in British horror cinema. Focusing on the grief suffered after the death of a child, its depiction of grief is considered to be usually powerful for a movie with supernatural elements.
The film garnered controversy for its explicit love scene, with many believing that Sutherland and Christie weren’t acting, a claim both actors deny. What lends credence to this denial is the fact that prior to being cast in the movie, the two had never met each other before and the very first scene they had to film was that infamous scene.
So controversial was the scene that when the movie was theatrically released in Ireland, the Irish censor demanded that the scene be completely removed before being screened in the country, which they did.