chapter  8
How to See the Horror: The Hostile Fetus in Rosemary’s Baby and Alien
ByA. Robin Hoffman
Pages 23

Despite the many aspects of style, narrative, and of course chronology that distinguish Rosemary’s Baby from Alien, these films share an interest in humans’ potential to incubate, literally, their own destruction. Perhaps more importantly, in both cases curiosity about latent=fetal power manifests itself partly through cinematic interrogation of the limits of human vision. Thus, when at the conclusion of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) Rosemary cries out at the sight of her eponymous offspring ‘‘What have you done to its eyes?’’ the viewer is not granted access to what Rosemary sees; the camera remains trained on the mother rather than revealing the bassinet’s contents. This conspicuous denial results in frustration mixed with relief: we want to see whether her fetus was physiognomically doomed or redeemed, but we also want to avoid the shock of seeing marks of evil in the flesh.1