Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Burnt Offerings or Watch out for falling Chimneys

Burnt Offerings 1976

Director: Dan Curtis

Writers: Robert Marasco and William F Nolan

Starring Oliver Reed, Karen Black, Bette Davis and Burgess Meredith

The Haunted house sub genre in horror films has a long and storied history in horror films. There are classics such as the Uninvited, the Haunting and the Legend of Hell House. Burnt Offerings deserves to be right up there with these benchmark classics and I don't believe it gets the credit it deserves. This is one of my favorite haunted house films and is one of the ones i continue to revisit.
The plot consists of a vacationing family looking for a house to rent for the summer and they come across this summer home in the wilderness and they meet the owners a very bizarre brother and sister who give them an unbelievable deal on renting the house for the summer and the only caveat they ask is that their 84 year old mother lives upstairs and doesn't leave and wants them to bring food up to her 3 times a day. Ben (Reed) is uncertain about the house but acquiesces to Marian (Black) and they move in as caretakers, along with Ben's aunt Elizabeth (Davis). As they get comfortable weird stuff begins to happen like near deaths and mood changes that erupt into violence. It keeps getting progressive worse until the explosive final that doesn't end well for anyone.
This is just a superb film. The direction by Dan Curtis who you may know from Dark Shadows and the Night Stalker. The feel of the film is very oppressive and you feel as if a match is going to strike the powder keg of this house at any moment. The writing is great too, you really care about the family and want to see them survive the experience. The acting is stellar too especially Reed and Davis, with a special shout out to Meredith as the crazy brother in a bit role. There is not much gore in the film but it is still a enjoyable little horror film. This is one i love revisiting again and again.

This one gets 4 out of 5

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