Halloween Edition: Burnt Offerings (1976 Full Film)


I think I was like ten years old when I first saw “Burnt Offerings”.  It was the first time I had seen a haunted house movie and it scared the urge to pee right outta me.  Sure there are lots of haunted house movies but very few are actually scary or even psychological in some way.  “Burnt Offerings” is both scary and psychological. 

The film stars the Rolf family who in their infinite wisdom has decided that a summer vacation in a countryside mansion away from everybody would be a great idea.  Marian (Karen Black), her husband (Oliver Reed), and their son Davey (Lee H. Montgomery) take along their ailing elderly aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis) to this quite mansion where they know they’ll have a blasty blast.

The owners of the house are brother and sister, Arnold (Burgess Meredith – Legend) and Roz (Eileen Heckart).  They inform the Rolf’s that in order to rent the mansion for the summer they must care for their mother who is ill and it prefers to keep to herself.  They employ a caretaker to make sure the house stays perfectly clean and of course add the occasional weird glances set to suspenseful music.  Yeah, his name is Walker (Dub Taylor).

Marian immediately falls in love with the house and begins to dress in period clothing and becomes obsessed with the home, as if it were her own.  So much so she becomes distant from her own family.  However, this would not be the only strangeness to accompany this family vacation.

Mysterious accidents begin happening all over the house.  At first, they’re nothing too unusual and then they become downright deadly as the house begins to try and murder its occupants.  With each accident, the house seems to become more alive and seems to restore itself, almost as if it were feeding on the souls of the people it terrorizes.

Burt Offerings was directed by Dan Curtis (from Dark Shadows fame) and is based on the novel of the same name by Robert Marasco.  It would also be the first film shot in the historic Dunsmuir House.



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