Air Date: Oct. 29, 1976 (ABC Friday Night Movie)
Production Companies: The Culzean Corporation, Paramount Television
Running Time: 100 min.
Available on: YouTube
Written by: Anthony Wilson
Directed by: Sam O’Steen
Cast: Stephen McHattie, Patty Duke, Broderick Crawford, Rutyh Gordon, David Huffman, Tina Louise, George Maharis, Ray Milland, Donna Mills
Rating: 7 vintage televisions (out of 10)
There’s no love to be found for Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby (1976), the TV-movie sequel to the classic film, Rosemary’s Baby, even though those who have seen it and read Ira Levin’s sequel novel, Son of Rosemary, claim the film is better than the book. I can understand not liking it, but I’m having trouble fathoming its 3.4 rating on IMDb. While only 856 people contributed to that rating, I am one person that enjoyed it.
In short, it’s a compelling depiction of one possible chain of events when the devil’s son comes of age at 21 years old. It held my interest for its 100 minutes and, at times, was effective in its unsettling atmosphere. A strong representative of the era, the rock music and sometimes hippy-dippy dialogue may be what turned off some viewers after the more restrained nature of the original theatrical movie. I had no trouble, though, accepting it.
I like how the film is structured into three “books.” The first, The Book of Rosemary, begins with Rosemary, played this time by Patty Duke (not Mia Farrow), on the run from the coven with her 8-year-old son, Adrian (bad persona)/Andrew (good persona.) The coven has its talons across the country and manipulates the separation of mother from child. He’s “adopted” by Marjean Dorn (Tina Louise) a hooker who will be rewarded for her participation in the plot.
The Book of Adrian focuses on the days before Adrian/Andrew’s 21st birthday and a reunion of the coven at his party. During this part, we learn about the internal turmoil that the young man faces. He’s not necessarily evil at this point, just a troubled kid that likes to drive too fast and drink a beer or two. The good angel on his shoulder is his best friend (perhaps more?), Peter Simon, who wants him to leave his life behind for a better one.
Finally, The Book of Andrew focuses on the aftermath of events at the birthday party. This section was most interesting to me, going into more psychological territory rather than supernatural. I will admit I didn’t quite understand the ending, but I could say the same thing about any number of 1970s movies, TV or otherwise. That’s why they’re in my sweet spot; you can make of it whatever you want to (or simply be perplexed.)
If I compare Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby toThe Final Conflict (The Omen III), I enjoyed this one much more than that. It’s not scary, but is intense at times. Stephen McHattie does a good job as Adrian/Andrew, but it’s admittedly an unusual performance. I also like that, although played by different actors, many of the characters come from the original story. Only one actor returns, and I’ll end by exclaiming her name: Ruth Gordon! What else do you need?
Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby as well as all the great movies from this series...