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|Index||110 reviews in total|
30 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Great 70's horror., 15 July 2005
Author: tony5150 from Canada
My 10 out of 10 vote for this movie really stems from the first time I'd seen it. I was an 8 year old at the drive-in with my parents. The assumption was I would watch the first movie of this double bill and fall asleep before the scary movie started. I cannot remember the first movie but I can tell you I will never forget this one. I played like I was sleeping in the back seat but watched the whole movie without my parents knowing. I had nightmares for months to come. Images of the creepy Chauffeur driver and the foggy lighting and lens effects really stuck with me. And the last scene was terrifying. I'm much older now but when revisiting this horror classic I'm reminded of that night in the backseat of my parents car...I still get chills. I also had the same experiences with "Seizure" "From Beyond the Grave" and "The Sentinel".
31 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Creepy and mesmerizing!, 15 July 2001
Author: Kristen Deem from North Hollywood, California
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the few horror films that I can still sit back and enjoy. It
scared me pretty badly as a kid. I still feel all the haunting vibes and
chills as an adult.
It may not be action packed (although the scene with Reed trying to kill his soon in the pool was terrifying--and ultra-realistic), but it certainly gets under your skin. This film is about mood, and it is both beautifully entrancing and ominously mesmerizing. I actually found the acting quite good. Reed was wonderful. I loved the two weird siblings, Roz and Brother (Burgess Meredith, wonderful actor). Their adoration of the house sends chills up my spine.
The true stars of the movie are the music (Bob Cobert's amazing Music Box Theme) and the house (Dunsmuir House & Gardens, in Oakland, California). For true horror buffs out there, this movie inspired the creators of PHANTASM to drive up to Oakland and use this same mansion as the infamous Morningside Mortuary. Which is probably, when the opening moments of PHANTASM rolled in 1979, I already had such fear upon seeing the mansion again on screen!
I have to wonder if other elements of BURNT OFFERINGS inspired PHANTASM as well. Note the creepy old lady upstairs at the end. Reminds one of PHANTASM's eerie fortuneteller. How about B.O.'s terrifying hearse chauffeur? He's kind of like a forerunner of the Tall Man!
BURNT OFFERINGS is well worth the viewing. Don't expect any real jolts or screams. But turn off the lights and let it really sink in. It's well worth a viewing. There are many moments (such as the house renewing itself during the rainstorm) that are bizarre and horribly fascinating. I haven't seen this good a haunted house movie in years.
And definitely visit Dunsmuir in real life. This place is spectacular. You'll fall in love with it, just like Karen Black! I certainly did. I spent awhile helping out as tour guide and volunteer at the estate while attending college in the Bay Area.
29 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
BIG FAN, 30 August 2004
Author: Adam Beck from Melbourne, Australia
I've been a big fan of this movie for years, ever since I was about 12. And I've watched as time and time again people have complained about this movie, and I just didn't get it. Now I'm grown up and I see the flaws, but I still don't care. I love Oliver Reed and Karen Black and don't think it could have been acted better. Watching her grow more an more attached to the house is very interesting. The best part I thought was when she surprises her son who drops a crystal bowl that smashes on the floor, and she kneels there, holding the fragments in her hands, sobbing hysterically, almost like a child had died. The boy, Lee Montgomery, I've never had a problem with. The kid from the Shining, now HE was annoying. hehe. And above all, I LOVE how the movie ends. Although it's predictable, it was VERY welcome. Movies with sad, creepy endings that leave you with a shiver always work for me.
25 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Understated and scary -- underrated unjustly, 10 October 1999
This movie does not play into the pea-soup vomit game started by "The
Exorcist." The chills here are subtle, the effect being cumulative over
sum of the movie as the awful truth is revealed too late. People who think
"Carnival of Souls" was cheap and corny will also condemn this pic. But
chauffeur in this movie, a truly frightening presence, has a lineage
directly to the earlier film.
Low production values do mar the movie, but if you are disposed toward quiet creepy shudders, give "Burnt Offerings" a look.
18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
The Best Dan Curtis Film, Period., 6 November 2005
Author: luvehorror from United States
I can watch this film over and over again. The atmospheric styles of Dan Curtis are imaginable. His usage of lower camera angles, I could go on and on. With excellent performances from Oliver Reed (R.I.P.), and Bette Davis. I also love how Burgess Meredith is in the film, it gave the movie such a Rod Serling feel. The slow moving suspense is nerve racking but keeps you on your toes at the same time. Much better ending than from the original novel. (listen to the commentary with co-writer William F. Nolan)-Burnt Offerings is truly a HORROR CLASSIC. Brace yourself for a creepy ending. Karen Black is stranger than usually. If you like scary old victorian houses with mysterious goings on, Burnt Offerings is just the flick.
16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
The Shining part 0, 28 October 2007
Author: Bryce David from Psychotronic land
Well made little horror film. Nothing earth shattering or outstanding but quite effective in some spots and original. What's really remarkable about BURNT OFFERINGS is how much it looks like THE SHINING. Stephen King admits that he was inspired by the Robert Marasco novel (and definitely the movie) when he wrote The Shining and it's quite obvious. It's an almost exact copy. A couple with one kid rent a big mansion for the summer. They bring along the husband's aunt and the 4 start experiencing changes in character. The husband is violent towards the boy. The mother is angry towards the aunt, etc. Everyone starts changing after staying at the house for a while. The house itself is seemingly alive and it takes over the family. The last shot in BURNT OFFERINGS, the one with the photos, is identical to the one in Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING. Truly shocking. Did the author of the novel sue? Anyway, the movie is a creepy little movie in some parts and somewhat dull in other parts. Watching Bette Davis dying was, eh, a bit unsettling. She really looked like she was dying, the poor old woman. Good but not great. I really love the idea of the house "shedding" its skin. If you've seen THE SHINING and not this film, watch it, you'll be more shock about the similarities than the movie itself.
14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
"Burnt Offerings" -- is it about fertility rites/ renewal via death?, 13 March 2006
Author: Error_PC_LOAD_LETTER from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This comment may contain a spoiler or two -- it is for those who have
seen the movie and are baffled.
I have not read the novel, and have only seen the 'edited for T.V. version (about four times). But from reading other posters' comments and reviews, it seems that many people are baffled by what the title 'burnt offerings' means and what the heck is going on in the movie. From what little I have seen on television, the theme seems to be that the house injures and even kills its resident occupants in order to renew itself. Sort of a fertility rite, where death was enacted to bring about the Springtime, or renewal. Whenever someone gets hurt, or killed, the house renews a part of itself. Minor injuries may only repair a simple light bulb, or bring a few dead potted plants back to life or restore a cracked mirror. But look what happens at the end !!
The old lady upstairs, Mrs. Allardyce (?sp) is supposedly an eighty-five year old woman'. Isn't that the approx. age of the house (in 1976? Wouldn't you say the Dunsmuir house looks about that old, built in 1891, perhaps?) When the professor / renter asks the owners of the house what 'the catch' is (why it's so inexpensive to rent), the response from one of the owners (who are insulted at the idea that it's a 'catch' -- their response is, 'it's our mother.' -- is that intended as the 'catch? that the house is their mother? (then the conversation shifts to that she is an eighty five year old woman, and that she stays in the upstairs room). I think there may be some symbolism here of the death-and-renewal, earth-goddess sort.
And, by the way, this is NOT a 'haunted house' but what might be described as a slightly different genre' -- a 'living house.' Not haunted, as on the changeling or The Haunting, nor 'demon possessed' as on the Amityville Horror, but a 'living house' -- this one with an appetite and a penchant to renew itself. Lots of old houses, to me, seem to have a soul and thoughts and demeanor of their own. Enjoy the renewal rites.
21 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
One of the scariest movies that I have ever seen., 1 June 2002
Author: mk_china from somewhere, USA
Without a doubt, one of the scariest movies that I have ever seen. The scene with the undertaker and coffin coming up the stairs still gives me nightmares. The final scene in the attic throws you out of your seat; a scene that I have never forgotten.
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
THE best haunted house movie ever made., 31 October 2007
Author: atmcpnk40 from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This review will contain spoilers... in other words I will expose the
ending. But it is needed to show a point. So if you haven't seen this
movie and want to be surprised - move on. But if the ending perplexed
you - and it did to some people - I will try to explain because I
figured it out and I'm here to help.
Now I know that many people consider The Shining as the best haunted house movie. Yeah, I'll agree that one is spooky. But for pure just-to-creep-you-out styled chills, you can't beat this one. The movie starts out with a young family renting an old somewhat run-down looking mansion for the summer for the mind-numbingly low amount of $900... for the whole summertime, not just monthly. The owners (a brother sister pair played by Burgess Meredeth and Eileen Eckhardt along with their caretaker played by Dub Taylor) are a little strange but nice. The condition, they must care for their old mother who lives in a upstairs room. So the family - father Oliver Reed, mother Karen Black, their son Lee H. Montgomery (who, despite his mention in The Golden Turkey Awards as one of the most obnoxious child actors ever, comes across as a pretty decent actor) and Reed's elderly aunt played by Betty Davis (who isn't - for once - playing some old nutcase, diva, or all around self-centered bitch) moves in. It isn't long before we find out about the evil surrounding the house. . . every time someone gets hurt, which is often, the house starts looking a little better. Not only that, but that the house is also purposely doing things to put the family in danger. And what about that creepy old women upstairs that we never see? Mmmmmmm!
Okay basic plot aside let's us get to what makes the film scary. It's the fact that the family is up against an evil force they don't understand, and it doesn't stop until everything around it is harmed. That means them. Now the acting. Black is quite good as the wife who becomes infatuated with just who the old woman is (Black begins to look lovingly at a table filled with pictures of the woman's loved ones outside her bedroom even though she knows none of the people in the photos) and starts taking on the mannerisms of the lady. Reed (an actor who I never really liked because to me he always looked more like he wanted to beat you up than entertain you) is also good as the father who becomes more confused, nervous, and outright scared as things get stranger. Davis is sympathetic as the aunt who realizes that something is wrong with the house when her health starts to go bad with quick alarm and mentions that they need to get the hell outta there. But the best acting goes to Anthony James as The Chauffeur. Kind of like a featured player in the house's show of evil, this guy will give you the willies with his downright satanic smile and menacing demeanor. He's the kind of stuff that nightmares are made of and I assure you he WILL make you cringe with horror.
Now the ending with the last scene of the movie, showing the pictures on the table, being the one of most chilling in the film. Some people just didn't get it so I will explain. The house destroyed the family - or more to the point - devoured them, much to the delight and pleasure of the siblings/owners. Their pain was it's nourishment (in the audio commentary director Dan Curtis says the best horror movies are the ones where everybody's doomed and nobody makes it out of their dreaded situation alive). After the old woman possessed Black, and the father, the aunt, and the son have all met nightmarish ends, the house springs back to life from it's former run-down look - as seen in pictures hanging in the hallway all showing that this has happen a number of times before and will happen again. And, for you see, all those many pictures on the table outside of the old woman's bedroom weren't pictures of friends, sweethearts, family, and other loved ones. They were pictures (with our doomed family being the latest addition)... of victims. The End.
Isn't fun to be frightened sh*tless? Because you will be after watching Burnt Offerings!
This review was written on 10-31-2007...Happy Halloween and Pleasant Nightmares!
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Truly Creepy., 18 December 2006
Author: rjacob67 from United States
I enjoyed this movie immensely. The creepy score, the precarious atmosphere, and the Erie flashbacks of the chauffeur with that huge grin. It was a great ghost story. Some say a bit slow paced, but It just added to the tension. Ben was played well by Reed. A man with many problems, compounded by this house from hell. And Karen Blacks performance from loving wife and mother, to the caretaker of the "old lady". Betty Davis comes off a bit aloof, but that also work well in the story. And the scene with the house "shedding", very creepy. Now for the ending. One of the best I have ever seen. I would even put it up against the original "Wicker Man".
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