Friday, July 6, 2012

Burnt Offerings: Some Houses are born BAD!

Title Burnt Offerings

Year 1976

Director: Dan Curtis

Dan Curtis the genius behind Dark Shadows and Trilogy of Terror brought us this haunted house film but is it ghosts haunting the family?

Burnt Offerings is a haunted house film with a twist. It has more in common with The Shining then The Others. Interesting to note that the film version of the Shining came out 4 years later. The story is very simple, a family rents a summer home from a strange brother and sister and for a great deal. Yes there is a catch. They must make sure the owners elderly mother is looked after.  The family settles in and seems to enjoy there beautiful summer home. That is until they are plagued with strange happenings. And nobody ever sees the old lady living in the house. I wont spoil anything but there are several twists and turns abound. The plot is paper thin yet Curtis delivers a nice roller coaster thrill ride of horror and mystery that builds and builds until a shocking ending that you wont soon forget.

Visually the film is interesting, its filmed in a soft focus which adds a very eerie almost dream like atmosphere.  Dan Curtis adds his Dark Shadow touch to Burnt Offerings with how he films the dreadfully sinister mansion.The film starts out slow but once it gets going there is much fright to behold.

There is a very well done shocking scene in which the house actually comes alive. The overall effect is not corny but very effective. 

What can I say the cast is amazing! Karen Black, Oliver Reed Bettie Davis Eileen Heckart and Burgess Meredith I mean that is as all star as you can get. First off I love Oliver Reed, hes so awesome I could watch him read the phone book. As always Reed gives his all no matter how far fetched the plot may get. I cant figure out if Karen Black in his is hot, or not. In any case she does a odd yet consistent job as Reed`s wife. Her and Reed have a strange chemistry together which kind of heightens the weirdness. You can tell this is a relationship that has been strained for awhile. They have a great sex scene between them that I just bizarre. Screen icon Bettie Davis also graces this weird little film. Even though she is clearly seen better days she still turns out a solid performance as the aunt and its kind of hard to watch her characters descent.  The whole cast is brillant. 

The film is not without its flaws, It clock in at almost two hours some of which could have been trimmed.Also this film hasnt aged well.I have heard some jaded "film buffs" say this a campy melrodramtic horror movie but I couldnt disagree with them more. Curtis brings his old dark house charms with great eerrie backdrops then add some of the greatest character actors all under one evil roof and you have a sorely underrated gem. So I couldnt think of a better way to spend youre summer then with this strange film. 

Film Triva: Die hard Phantsam fans might recognize the house from B.O was later used as the funeral home.

Streaming on Netflicks for those who have it

1 comment:

  1. Welcome (belated) to HBA!