By Keith Staskiewicz
November 02, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
Everett Collection
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  • Movie

Horror used to be the domain of grand, secluded estates groaning under the weight of their own sordid histories. It was the solitude of these mansions that was most disquieting: The House on Haunted Hill certainly wasn’t part of any homeowner’s association. But Roman Polanski’s paranormal-pregnancy classic, Rosemary’s Baby (1968, 2 hrs., 16 mins., R), moved the genre to the big city and found fear not in the things that go bump in the night but in the people who go knock on the door. For Rosemary (Mia Farrow), suspicions pile up silent as snow after she and her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes), settle into a new building in Manhattan. Why is Guy so chummy with the neighbors? What is that strange chanting coming through the wall? What’s in those drinks Minnie (Ruth Gordon) keeps handing her? The movie (now out on Criterion Blu-ray) makes Farrow’s hollow-eyed terror our own, our paranoia growing along with whatever is subletting her womb. ”All of them. All of them witches!” she cries when she realizes how savagely she’s been betrayed by those around her. As a child of the Holocaust, Polanski understood that monsters don’t always advertise with fiery brimstone. Sometimes they come bearing casseroles. The EXTRAS are slight by Criterion standards, but new interviews with Farrow, Polanski, and producer Robert Evans are worth watching, especially for Farrow’s recounting of how the film broke up her marriage to Frank Sinatra. A-

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  • R
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