“He chose you, honey! From all the women in the world to be the mother of his only living son.” – Minnie Castavet
We genuinely despise Roman Polanski, but there’s no denying how his 1968 horror film Rosemary’s Baby changed the course of horror. Streaming on Netflix in some regions, the film was a pioneer in the realm of horror due to the sheer agony and psychological turmoil the film contained. The film was also a great source of inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining as the director was inspired to incorporate anguish and unsettling horror elements in his film. Polanski’s masterpiece is embedded in religious and spiritual connotations and the concept of a chosen human acting as a portal to birth Satan’s spawn within this tense, psychological hell has been shown in a terrifying manner.
Rosemary Woodhouse and her husband Guy move into the iconic Bramford building in New York. Guy is a struggling actor and the new building seems to be spooked by various unpleasant rumours surrounding it. The young couple befriends their bizarre neighbours, the elderly Castevets who barge into their lives. Rosemary soon gets pregnant and her husband starts bagging jobs. However, she soon finds her social circle crumbling down and ominous events haunting her that leads her to question the intentions of the Castevets as well as her husband.
Ruth Gordon won the Academy Award for playing the role of Minnie Castevet. With her outlandish makeup and bizarre outfits and boisterous cackle, Castevet was the perfect horror villain who made the most familiar seem the most terrifying. Her lack of understanding of personal space made her barge into the lives of Rosemary and her husband and she was the one who notoriously coaxed Rosemary into unknowingly becoming the recipient of Satan’s child. Castevet’s infamous villainy and sinister motives made her an iconic villain and garnered her a massive cult-like following.
Treacherous and vile, Minnie’s character as the shiver-inducing matriarch whose intentions as the satanist-next-door is very unsettling. She seduces Rosemary’s husband into the world of fame and desire with empty promises and violates the naive Rosemary by taking away her agency. Gordon’s performance as this malevolent yet amicable neighbour is commendable as it adds a strange sense of unnerving aura to the film. Immensely memorable, the restlessness in her fiendish eyes and her ability to justify such a heinous job makes her an eerie yet iconic horror villain from the 60s whose undeniable impact forms a greater part of Gordon’s legacy.