The Roman Polanski horror movie everyone knows and loves is, of course, Rosemary's Baby (and to some extent The Ninth Gate, except for the "loves" part, though I think that one gets a bad rap). But the seriously scary Polanski film that is criminally underseen -- though generally appreciated by those who see it -- is his 1996 effort Repulsion, the first movie in his "apartment trilogy" that would conclude with Baby and The Tenant. Certainly it's the scariest movie about sex that you'll ever see, putting Teeth to shame. (Any other contenders?) A character study that gradually reveals a very disturbed psyche, it's super-creepy in insinuating, unconventional ways. (Remember the constantly ticking clock in Rosemary's Baby? It's here too. And mysterious bells. And sometimes the sound just cuts out...)
If you've never seen Repulsion -- as I hadn't until very recently -- you might hold out for July 28th, when the wonderful folks at Criterion will release their typically awesome-sounding Special Edition on DVD and Blu-Ray. Among other things, it'll have a full-length commentary from Polanski and Catherine Deneuve, who was barely 20 when the film was shot and is a dead ringer for Gwyneth Paltrow. It'll also have a documentary shot on set in 1964, which should be fascinating.
But even if you don't shell out the $40 bucks for the Criterion set, see this movie. Netflix it or something. It's a master class for admirers of the horror genre. Here's something tantalizing: it has one of my favorite final shots of all time.