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Rosemary’s Baby

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rosemarys baby

Image credit: Rosemary’s Baby, 1968.

Cute dresses, weird jewelry, and Ruth Gordon’s funky hats- THIS is how you get me to watch a horror film. Like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down, the costume and production design of Rosemary’s Baby (DVD/Download) make it palatable (dare I say, enjoyable) to a scary-movie neophyte like me. If you haven’t seen this classic film yet, stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now.  You’ll thank me later.

More than a horror film, I consider this picture to be classic suspense. Rosemary, played brilliantly by vintage-pixie Mia Farrow, is married to a handsome, feckless actor when they move into a storied New York City apartment building. Their neighbors, played by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, are old, very creepy, and secret occultists. Rosemary is drugged and raped by the devil while a bunch of naked senior citizens (AND HER AWFUL HUSBAND) stand by and watch, then she’s unknowingly forced to carry the spawn of Satan for 9 months. There are not enough words in the English language to fully convey how much I hate Rosemary’s husband, who makes her think he violently raped and clawed her up, instead of the devil in her dream. Because that’s somehow okay??? I’d say Rosemary needs a divorce attorney.

How, you ask, do Rosemary and her husband get pulled into this coven’s orbit? By that great social icebreaker, a cocktail party. Their strange neighbors serve up cocktails and terrible cake made of god-knows-what. Devil’s food? (Sorry, I had to). While you watch Rosemary’s Baby, I recommend drinking this Vodka Blush cocktail, straight from the Castavet’s fabulous apartment.

Vodka Blush

2 1/2 oz Vodka

½ oz Lime juice

½ oz Grenadine

Sprig of Rosemary for garnish

Mix vodka and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cold, then strain into a chilled flute. Slowly top with grenadine, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Vodka Blush

While I definitely had one tense night of sleep where I woke up expecting Ruth Gordon to be standing in a corner with too much lipstick and a lime green feather boa, this movie didn’t exactly scare the bejeezus out of me. I attribute this mainly to the relatable performance by Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski’s incredible direction, and an enviable 60’s wardrobe. I can only hope her maternity dresses will come back in style for the rest of us. Not that I’m planning on getting pregnant with the spawn of Satan, but they’re the perfect camouflage for a belly full of cocktails and queso. Cheers!

Harold and Maude

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Image credit Paramount Pictures, Harold and Maude, 1971

Image credit Paramount Pictures, Harold and Maude, 1971

One of my favorite things about February is the excuse it provides me to watch romantic movies.  To start things off, I’m featuring one of my all-time favorite films, Harold and Maude (DVD/Download). It’s so quirky and  beautiful, and I am beyond excited that my local drive-in movie theatre is showing it this weekend. Of course I love seeing movies at the drive-in because I can bring my own drinks, and I’m not at the mercy of overpriced chemical sludge at the snack bar.

Harold and Maude is often ranked as one of the greatest love stories in cinema history, and it’s easy to see why. Harold (played by Bud Cort) is a lonely, depressed young man who enjoys going to funerals and faking his own death. Then he meets Maude (played by Ruth Gordon), a fire-cracker senior citizen who has an amazing zest for life. She shows him how to have fun and above all L-I-V-E! (sorry Matthew McConaughey- you totally stole your mantra from Maude). Harold falls madly in love with Maude, and together they have wild, zany adventures liberating sad little trees from city sidewalks, picnicking in the junkyard, and tooling around in Harold’s Jaguar-hearse. The 70’s décor and costumes in this film are pretty great, and the Cat Stevens soundtrack is phenomenal. What Simon & Garfunkel did for The Graduate, and Aimee Mann did for Magnolia, Cat Stevens does for Harold & Maude. It’s the perfect music for this unlikely, wonderful couple.

Because I’m seeing this film at the drive-in, I have to make sure my drink is easily portable. This is actually a good lesson to learn in case you ever want to bring cocktails to a friend or date’s house. I would suggest investing in some portable barware (nothing glass or breakable!) and pre-mix your liquid ingredients before you go, storing them in a sealed container. Then pack a small cooler with a ziplock bag of ice, and any garnishes, and you should be all set for mixing on the go. For Harold and Maude, I’m using some ingredients that I wouldn’t typically put together, but like the characters in this movie, sometimes the unexpected pairing results in something great. While watching Harold and Maude, I recommend drinking a Maude Taylor (in reference to the classic Mamie Taylor cocktail).

Maude Taylor

1.5 oz scotch

.75 oz lime juice

Ginger Beer

Build drink in a highball glass over ice.  Garnish with lime peel.

Maude-Taylor

I would never think to use scotch and ginger beer together, but the resulting taste is sweet and spicy, just like Maude herself.  Of course I’m using an aged scotch because, well, things get better with age.  Now the only thing missing from my perfect night is that Jaguar hearse- imagine heading to the drive-in in that! Cheers!