American Horror Stories' New Villain Homages (& Trumps) Rosemary's Baby
Caitlin Chappell
liz and matt from american horror stroy and guy from rosemarys baby
liz and matt from american horror stroy and guy from rosemarys baby
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for American Horror Stories Season 1, Episode 5, "BA'AL," now streaming on Hulu.
Once again American Horror Stories has reworked classic cinema in its latest episode, "BA'AL." While Episode 3, " Drive-In," connected to The Exorcist, Episode 5 is all about Rosemary's Baby. Along with Liz (Billie Lourd) taking on Rosemary's role, her husband, Matt (Ronen Rubinstein), takes on Guy's role, and at times he is actually worse than Rosemary's despicable husband.
In both American Horror Stories and Rosemary's Baby, the husbands are struggling actors who want fame and success more than anything, even if it comes at the expense of their wives' safety and sanity. They also come to the same conclusion that the best way to achieve their dreams is to manipulate Rosemary and Liz's pregnancies.
For Guy, he makes a deal with the elderly couple in their apartment building. In exchange for fame and fortune, Satan would rape Rosemary and impregnate her, and she would believe that this child was hers and Guy's. He would then gaslight and isolate Rosemary, so she would have no one else to turn to for help, and she would be reliant on the elderly couple as they groomed her to be the perfect mother for the son of Satan.
American Horror Stories - Episode 5 Ronen Rubinstein as Matt
American Horror Stories - Episode 5 Ronen Rubinstein as Matt
Meanwhile, Matt takes a similar approach. He doesn't want kids with Liz, but he decides having one thanks to supernatural intervention could be the boost he needs to make it big as an actor. He, his mistress and his friends -- a bunch of struggling filmmakers -- concoct the plan to stage a demonic pregnancy, which starts with Matt sabotaging Liz and his chances at having a baby. The hope is that Liz will become desperate and accept any help offered to her, including the help of the occult.
The mistress, who's the secretary at Liz and Matt's doctor's office, offers Liz a "solution" to their conception problem. She claims her family uses a fertility totem to guarantee pregnancy, and she offers said totem to Liz, who accepts it. After placing the totem under the bed and having sex with Matt, Liz finally is pregnant, but this has nothing to do with the supernatural. Instead, Matt stopped sabotaging their attempts, so it seems like the totem worked.
After giving birth to the baby, Matt and his friends stage what appears to be a demon stalking Liz and her child. Liz is convinced the demon is real, but Matt and those in on this continue to gaslight and manipulate Liz to the point that she thinks her only way to stop this is through a banishing ritual from the secretary.
Matt and his friend heighten their torment during the ritual so much so that Liz stabs him, and this is enough to institutionalize her. It's after this that audiences learn this was all staged, so Matt could get out of his relationship with Liz while also producing this whole thing in hopes of using the material to jumpstart his and his friends' careers.
guy rosemary's baby
guy rosemary's baby
In both cases, these men exploit the women they supposedly love for their own benefit. They also attempt to strip away these women of their freedom and agency, with Guy putting Rosemary in a position where she cannot leave her role as the Antichrist's mother. Meanwhile, Matt was planning on sending Liz to jail once he got the material he needed.
In this area, Matt is more despicable. Matt knew he would destroy Liz, and the worse he treated her, the better his content would be. Matt was the brains behind this horrific ploy; meanwhile, Guy was more so compliant with the elderly couple's plan. Plus, it seems like he thought this was something they could move past, while Matt wanted to be break Liz completely. Guy's still guilty of abuse, yet there is something more sinister about Matt because he was specifically trying to profit off Liz's trauma and pain, while Rosemary's pain was an afterthought.
That being said, Guy allowed one of the most horrific things to happen to Rosemary, and he knew what he was signing up for. While his disregard for Rosemary's well-being is not as intentional as Matt's, it's still there, and when it came to the catalyst of Rosemary's Baby -- the rape, he's the one who accepted this deal, well aware of what would happen.
Guy also gets away with what he's done, while Matt is punished by Liz. This could be because he went along with whatever the elderly couple said, while Matt was the brains of the operation, and in the end, he proved no match for Liz. It'll be interesting to see if American Horror Stories, which has new episodes airing Thursdays on Hulu, will rework other horror movies, either by giving fans modern -- and at times more twisted -- takes on the villains or by finally seeing characters like this get their due justice.