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Burnt Offerings
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Burnt Offerings More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

One of the scariest movies that I have ever seen.

Author: mk_china from somewhere, USA
1 June 2002

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.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Karen Black Performance: Burnt Offerings A Dan Curtis Masterpiece

Author: perryvalentino from United States
20 September 2010

Originally I bought this movie thinking this would be a campy movie with a lot of overacting from Karen Black. Boy was I surprise. "Burnt Offerings" has excellent performances by Oliver Reed, legendary Bette Davis and the young Lee Montgomery. However, this is clearly Karen Black's movie. This is a summer dream house, which becomes a nightmare. The movie itself doesn't have too much action until the very end. Needless to say, it does have solid performances, which make this an excellent movie. The argument scene between Karen Black and Bette Davis was well performed. Echoes of the t.v. show "Dark Shadows" also dominate this movie with the haunting music of Robert Cobert and the excellent direction of Dan Curtis. Movie has a surprise ending, which I will not spoil. Enjoy this delightful movie, which makes me want to buy more Karen Black movies.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

One of the best horror movies ever made.

Author: horror2 from United States
5 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you are looking for blood, gore, or loud jump scares, you might want to look elsewhere. Rather than resorting to cheap tactics, this film focuses heavily on atmosphere, suspense, and tension. There is enough suspense in this film for three movies. There isn't a boring moment in this entire film. I was so captivated by this film, that the first time I watched it, I actually felt as if I lived in the mansion among the characters. Almost never does a film come along in which I forget I'm even watching a movie and can't separate it from reality. This movie did just that. It's story sounds like your run-of-the-mill haunted house film when you simply read the summary, but when you actually watch the film, it is a unique experience never to be forgotten. It is highly similar to The Shining. Both films are sophisticated, chilling horror films that require the viewer to think. Because of that, they are both wonderful.

It is no coincidence that this movie is from the mastermind behind Dark Shadows. Dan Curtis masters suspense and terror in a way very few can. The musical score by Robert Cobert contributes to the unsettling mood of the film perfectly. It is one of my favorite scores of all time. The acting is incredible. Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and Lee Montgomery all have great chemistry as a family and are all wonderful in their respective performances. The characters are all likable. I don't usually like happy endings in horror movies, but this is a case where I wanted the characters to live because I liked them so much. But sadly, that was not meant to happen. Overall, this film has everything I could want in a horror film and I am glad to be a fan of it.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A nicely spooky haunted house horror chiller

Author: Woodyanders ( from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
12 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Grouchy Ben (the always excellent Oliver Reed) and his perky wife Marian (superbly played by the divine Karen Black) rent a large swanky country mansion for the summer for a mere $900 dollars. Staying with the married couple are their bratty son David (solid Lee Montgomery) and feisty Aunt Elizabeth (a terrifically tart Bette Davis). Pretty soon they all find out that something is seriously amiss with the isolated estate. Director Dan Curtis relates the absorbingly spooky story at a slow and stately pace, effectively creates a suitably uncanny gloom-doom Gothic atmosphere, and delivers one corker of a surprise twist bummer ending. Eileen Heckart and Burgess Meredith are wonderfully quirky as the weird sister and brother owners of the expansive abode. Popping up in nifty supporting parts are Dub Taylor as a cranky, grubby handyman and Anthony James as a creepy chauffeur. Bob Cobert's brooding, chilling score, Jacques R. Marquette's hazy, yet sharp cinematography, and the startlingly downbeat conclusion substantially add to the overall eerie quality of this bang-up little fright film winner.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great haunted house classic starring the lovely Karen Black and wildman Oliver Reed

Author: dworldeater from United States
2 November 2012

The 1970's were a great time for horror . This offering (no pun intended ) more than holds its own among many of the other classics from the same period . This haunted house story is very similar to both The Shining and The Amityville Horror and I might add Burnt Offerings predates both of those films . Great direction, cast and score. The performances by leading actors Karen Black and Oliver Reed are excellent ,as well as the rest of the cast. The atmosphere is foreboding and I must say this film creates a lot of tension and suspense. Even though this is a PG rated film , it dose not lighten its tone or wimp out in any way . The only horror movie of this type that I feel is better than this is The Shining , but not by much. Very recommended for fans of classy, well made horror.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A Different Take On Your Average Haunted House Movie.

Author: Mr_Ectoplasma from New York, NY
23 April 2006

I had never heard about this film before, I saw it once at a video store once but hesitated to rent it. While at the store around Halloweentime, I happened to see it, and it was on sale for 10 bucks so I decided to give it a chance. And I actually enjoyed it, it was a fairly good movie.

"Burnt Offerings" is pretty much a typical haunted house story, but with a bit of a spin to it. It's about Marian and Ben Ralf (played by Karen Black and Oliver Reed) and their son, who move into a summerhouse in the country that is owned by a very strange brother and sister. The price is a steal, the only catch is that they would have to supply minimal food and care to the sibling's grandmother, who lives in an upstairs bedroom. Marian takes on this duty, and the family begins to prepare themselves to have a relaxing summer out at the old manor. Ben's Aunt, played by the legendary Bette Davis, also is staying with them at the summerhouse. After staying there for awhile, strange things begin to happen, and Marian becomes very secretive of the grandmother in the upstairs room. In fact, nobody in the entire house besides her have even seen the old woman. As tension mounts between Ben and Marian, strange events plague the family, including apparitions, strange sounds, etc.

The ending of this film was pretty different, it may be a bit confusing, but it's still good. Apparently the film is based on a book, which I may personally like to read myself. There are some parallels to "The Shining" too, even though this was released 4 years before that. But, Mr. Stephen King himself noted the novel as one of his favorite horror stories, so it leads me to believe he may have taken some inspiration from this story for "The Shining". Karen Black and Bette Davis give great performances, they are the most remarkable in the film. Oliver Reed was also great, and the kid, while a little whiny and unconvincing, was good enough for his role.

Overall, "Burnt Offerings" has a pretty good story, good acting and a well known cast (primarily Black and Davis). One of the better classic haunted house tales, with a different twist on it that makes it stand out a little in my mind. 7/10.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good old-fashioned horror

Author: DoomDealer from United Kingdom
10 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Burnt Offerings is one of those supernatural horror films that will still be watchable, and will have lost none of its creepiness in 50 years' time.

Despite having been shot in the 70's, it has a beautiful timeless quality. It's far from perfect (let's face it, no film is), and some would say its plot is far from original either, but it's the film's bleak, sinister and threatening atmosphere (possibly in connection with its 70's look) that makes it what it is, and it's exactly this atmosphere that will stay with you for a long time.

Highly underrated and not known by many people, it is well scripted, very well shot and extremely well acted. Oliver Reed is fantastic (which kind of goes without saying ...) but hopelessly out-creeped by the naturally creepy "mother of creep" Karen Black.

There isn't much more to say about it. It's a must for Oliver Reed fans (although die-hard Olly fans will most likely have seen it at some point), but it's also a must for fans of good old-fashioned, atmospheric horror.

Just sit back and enjoy.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

They don't make horror like this anymore

Author: Jimmy LeCompt ( from United States
14 June 2013

The Chauffeur alone would have made this one of the creepiest horror films ever made. I literally went into tears because of his dark character. The cast couldn't have been better. To have Betty Davis, Karen Black, and Oliver Reed in your picture... the director had to know he would end up with a classic. The story does creep but I think that is what is wrong with today's horror films. Everything is unveiled too soon. If you pay close attention, the house they rent for the summer is also used in another legendary horror film from the late 70's. Don Coscarelli's Phantasm. If you wanna watch a film without the gore that has some real fright factor, watch Burnt Offerings.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Creepy, old school, horror movie, with an excellent cast...

Author: guitarslinker from Canada
19 April 2012

Slasher, gore & over-the-top, special effects fans, will most likely, not enjoy this old school, horror movie. I first saw this one in the theaters, during my high school days...

It's always remained a favorite, mostly because of it's excellent, quirky cast & creepy details. As one viewer noted, the original novel was a direct influence on The Shinning. The cast includes, Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Betty Davis, Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckart, Dub Taylor & the unforgettable, Anthony James. It's weaknesses lie mainly in the script & editing. I'm being picky, but if there's one weak link in the cast, it's Oliver Reed. In terms of a remake, in the right hands, Burnt Offerings could be an absolute classic!

Dan Curtis directs...Known for TV's Dark Shadows & two, made for TV flicks, starring the excellent, Darren McGavin, as news reporter, Kolchak, in both 1973's, The Night Stalker & The Night Strangler. He also directed a couple of my personal favorite, made for TV, horror movies, starring the great, Jack Palance; 1968's, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & 1974's, Dracula.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Proves there's more ways than loud noises to scare you

Author: jtindahouse from Christchurch, New Zealand
4 March 2009

A lot of horror movies rely simply on sudden jolts of sound to make you jump. I recently watched Friday the Thirteenth (2009) and it was literally all it had. Which is fine, no one can deny it gets the job done. The problem with it is that the movies become inseparable and which one is scarier can only be judged really on which made you jump the most.

Burnt Offerings instead creates an atmosphere. It creates it masterfully through character decisions and great use of music. There was a stage early on when I realized nothing eventful had even happened as yet and despite this my heart was pounding. Sure enough a moment later some frightening action took place and I realized for the first time in a long time a horror movie had alerted my sub-conscience and not my mind. These days in horror movies it's far too easy to predict when the event is coming (it's generally when the filmmaker is trying to make you think NOTHING is coming).

Burnt Offerings is more than watchable in this day and age. The lines are nowhere near as cheesy sounding as a lot of other pre-1980 films make them sound today and the acting, whilst not perfect, is anything but bad. The suspense will have your heart pounding and it's all building up to something so terrifying it deserves far more recognition among horror buffs. Not to be missed.

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