Roman Polanski, Religious Horror, and The Antichrist

Roman Polanski’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby’: Mia Farrow in the scene where she first sees her newborn, the Antichrist

On a Facebook thread, on an artist friend’s page, the topic turned from Roman Polanski’s genius with the horror genre to his personal horrors and pederasty. I contributed that the problem is he still just doesn’t think it’s wrong. In too many ways, culturally, he’s a vestige of the bad, old, European ancient regime.

This has afforded him a special insight and perspective that is often funny, ironic, deeply socially insightful, and satirical. He’s always been able to see the seamy, not to say sordid and horrific, underside of things, especially American culture and subcultures. Ironic his wife and unborn child, and likely a goodly portion of his soul, were destroyed by one such, as Manson’s victims.

Rosemary’s Baby was pure genius; if the Christian narrative is ‘true,’ and to be heeded as any kind of reality, then so is the satanic nightmare folded into its dualistic logics and theology. If you’re invested in the validity of the Christological story based on the New Testament, then you automatically subscribe to the reality of the nightmare scenario of its final book, the Book of Revelations, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, the Second Coming, the Final Judgement, and the birth of the Antichrist on Earth to counter the prophesied Kingdom of God that is supposed to come in the wake of these events.

If you’re Christian, or have even only been raised Christian, there is often no opting out of these fundaments of the faith. By the tenets of the Apostle’s Creed, fundamental to all Christian denominations, recited at the outset of the mass or service in Protestant denominations, Christ ‘shall come again, to judge the quick and the dead,’ and so will his counterpart in this polarized fiction, Satan. Nasty and inescapable.

All horror, and all horror genres, are, at base, dualistic Abrahamic/patriarchal religious. Polanski knew this and set it as it should be: as a toxic meta-narrative, or poisonous fiction — a true horror story. I adored him and was grateful for this and other ironic works, like the Fearless Vampire Hunters, for years, but now just can’t watch anything of his. His soul damage is just too sad and toxic to bear.

I'm a writer/researcher/arts educator on Vancouver Island and all round global citizen who loves humans even though we're such a phenomenal pain-in-the-ass.