Ira Levin’s 1967 bestselling novel was adapted for the screen and directed by Roman Polanski the very next year. Rosemary, a young housewife, and her husband Guy live in an old Gothic apartment building in New York City. Guy’s struggling actor career suddenly becomes successful as he becomes closer to their strange elderly neighbors. Rosemary and Guy decide to start their family soon after, and Rosemary has a frightening experience on the night of conception. Her pregnancy is filled with pain and strange cravings, and as her health declines, the baby grows. Rosemary finds out that the neighbors worship Satan, and she fears for her baby and her life. Director Polanski made his American debut with this film. The stellar casting proved to be a hit, with Mia Farrow’s performance as Rosemary standing out. Today the film is regarded as a classic in the horror genre, and at the time of its release, saw a return of over $33 million. Rosemary’s Baby was nominated for and won many awards.
Based on H. P. Lovecraft’s story, “Herbert West – Reanimator”, the film Re-Animator became the first film in a series of three. Stuart Gordon directed the film and also wrote the screenplay along with William J. Norris and Dennis Paoli. Originally it was conceived to be a half-hour television pilot, but producer Brian Yuzna convinced Gordon to turn it into a movie shot in Hollywood due to the special effects that were necessary. Filled with gore and the intensity that actor Jeffrey Combs brings as Herbert West, it has become a cult classic with a huge following. The film met mainly positive criticism and made more than the budget during its theatrical run.
Resident Evil was written based on the popular Capcom video game series of the same name. Combining elements from both the first and second games in the series, Paul W.S. Anderson wrote and directed the film which was released in 2002. At a secret underground facility, the Hive, the deadly T-virus is released. The virus causes people to turn into zombies. Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, and a group of commandos from the Umbrella Corporation are suffering from amnesia, and are sent into the Hive to find out what has happened in hopes of isolating the infection. The facility’s artificial intelligence, named the Red Queen, has sealed the Hive. When the commandos disable the Red Queen, the zombies are released and they must fight their way back out and try to locate an anti-virus, while trying to contain the disease. George A. Romero had originally been signed to direct and pen the screenplay, but Capcom didn’t like the script that Romero turned in, so he was passed up in favor of Anderson’s contribution. Upon release, Resident Evil received poor reviews, but audiences loved it as shown in the $102 million worldwide that it grossed. There have been four sequels to date.
The Return of the Living Dead
The Return of the Living Dead, released in 1985, was the first in a series of five films. Based on a novel by John Russo, who co-wrote Night of the Living Dead with George A. Romero, but director Dan O’Bannon polished the script and added more comedy and nudity in comparison to Romero’s film, in order to individualize it. Two men working in a Louisville, KY medical supply warehouse mess with some government issues barrels. Gas is accidentally released from one, and a corpse is reanimated. After dismembering it with no success, they carry it to a mortuary to have it cremated. The fumes are released into the air causing rain that carries the contaminated gas to fall. A group of punk kids that are friends of one of the warehouse workers have come to see him, and get caught up in reanimating corpses in the nearby cemetery. Things quickly get out of hand and the two warehouse workers that were exposed to the gas that leaked in the beginning start to turn into zombies. It was pretty successful when released in theatres, grossing $14 million, and was nominated for quite a few awards.
The Ring, released in 2002, was based on Koji Suzuki’s novel Ring, and a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film of the same name. Directed by Gore Verbinski, and produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, the film was wildly successful making $249 million. The storyline tells about a mysterious and cursed videotape that when watched follows with a creepy phone call where a girl tells you that you will die in seven days. The movie relied on creepy visual effects to instill fear and tension in the audience, along with a fair amount of twists. The movie won several awards and has one sequel that was released in 2005, with another that is rumored to be releasing this year.