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Burnt Offerings
Burnt Offerings
Actors: Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckart, Lee Montgomery
Director: Dan Curtis
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
PG     2003     1hr 56min

Step inside a vacation house of horror in this terrifying thriller that "does for summer homes whatJaws did for a dip in the surf" (The New York Times)! Starring Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith and Bette Davis, ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckart, Lee Montgomery
Director: Dan Curtis
Creators: Jacques R. Marquette, Dan Curtis, Dennis Virkler, Robert Singer, Robert Marasco, William F. Nolan
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/26/2003
Original Release Date: 10/18/1976
Theatrical Release Date: 10/18/1976
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 56min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Keith A. (Keefer522)
Reviewed on 6/1/2013...
...a '70s flick from Dan Curtis (of TV's "Dark Shadows" fame), in which a family rents a creepy old house for the summer and then slowly (VERY slowly) become affected by the place (and by the mysterious old lady who supposedly lives upstairs, but is never seen) in various disturbing ways.

Atmospheric but ultimately pretty dull flick that is kinda like a lower watt, less intense version of "The Shining," which came along a couple of years after this.

It seems to have a bit of a cult classic status, but I guess said "cult" is made up of people who first saw it as kids. I could see how it would've been a bit scarier if I'd seen it when I was younger (and therefore was not as much of a jaded schmuck...).
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Brian L. (Bridad) from DRAPER, UT
Reviewed on 6/1/2009...
Burnt Offerings showcases fantastic acting amidst the terrifying backdrop of a haunted estate, complete with creepy gardens and a malevolent swimming pool. Oliver Reed and Karen Black are really on their game in this stylish horror film. The plot is slow-moving, but creeps up on viewers in a manner that is disturbing and real. The “in-your-face” horror films of today would benefit from watching this film for reference. If you are looking for the Rob Zombie/Saw torture-porn of recent days, then you will be disappointed. But if you prefer the unsettling, intellectual horror of Amityville or the Shining, then you might also enjoy Burnt Offerings.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Chrissy B. from HICKSVILLE, NY
Reviewed on 2/23/2008...
This movie is a true horror classic. Karen Black was perfect in her role.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Evil Has a New Home
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 02/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Who's up for a truly creepy haunted house thriller? In 1976, director Dan Curtis, Dark Shadows (1966) and Trilogy of Terror (1975) brought to life a wonderfully scary movie that scarred quite a few younger viewers at the time and still has the power to evoke strong remembrances when mentioned.Burnt Offerings (1976) stars Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and Burgess Meredith. City dwellers Marian (Black) and Ben (Reed) Rolf find the deal of a lifetime in a fabulous, secluded country estate, and soon settle in, along with their son and old auntie (Davis). A deal too good to be true? Why yes, it is, as strange things start happening, but not so strange as to send up serious warning flags that would cause most any of us to flee. What was so great about this movie was the way the director took his time in ratcheting up the suspense for the viewer. Changes to the various characters were introduced in such as way as to seem subtle, and not highly alarming. Soon some of the characters do catch on, but by then, it's too late. I thought Reed was really great in this movie, a man haunted by a past demon amplified through the house, who manages to keep a fairly level head throughout. Another wonderful character in the movie is the house itself. Dunsmuir Estate is the setting for most of the movie, actually coming to life through skillful directing and some very creepy music. This is an actual home, located in Oakland, California.The movie runs just under two hours, but the time will seem to go by quickly as you will find yourself gorilla glued to the screen, waiting in anticipation as to what happens next. There is a noticeable lack of blood, as the scares are more of the psychological kind. This seems to be a tactic used not so much these days, as visceral sells, but I do enjoy when the violence can be implied, rather than shown. I find my imagination is able to come up with plenty of scary images given the right fuel. The main problem I had with the movie was the picture. The movie on the disc appears in that sort of diffused style common in the 70's, where everything seems to have a slight fuzz on it, a haze throughout the picture. I did get used to it after awhile, but it was a little annoying. I don't seem to recall it being like this when I first saw the movie so long ago, but oh well. Another problem, a minor one, was some of the audio was unclear, as it seemed the audio levels were uneven at times. There are English subtitles, and I made use of them. As far as special features go, there is a commentary track by director Curtis, Karen Black and Co-writer William F. Nolan and an original theatrical trailer which I would avoid watching until after watching the film as it gave too much away, in my opinion. I will tall you this, the end truly a climatic one, and well worth the wait. If you liked Burnt Offerings, I would highly recommend the 1963 Robert Wise film, The Haunting.Cookieman108"
On DVD at last!
Tony R. Tucker | Crewe, VA United States | 07/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Directed by Dan Curtis (TV's Dark Shadows), BURNT OFFERINGS tells the story of the Rolf family who, one summer, rent a huge house to get away from it all. The home is owned by the Alerdyce (sp) family, an eccentric bunch including Burgess Meredith. The Rolf family is overjoyed, despite having to do amazing amounts of yard work (some vacation) and taking care of the elderly matriarch of the Alerdyce family who lives in the attic and whom no one ever sees. No one except Mrs. Rolf played by Karen Black.The house begins to repair itself and other weird things begin to happen. Sanity if questioned, bonds are broken, trust is shattered, and soon death arrives in the form of a ghostly hearse and it's pale driver...possibly one of the creepiest characters ever to grace your television screen.I am not sure if this movie was made for television, but that's where I first saw it. Later when I saw it on video, it appeared to be the exact version I saw. I cannot credit the cast of this movie enough. All were excellent, even the young boy. Bette Davis and Oliver Reed do excellent work, but the standout has to be Karen Black. Move over Scream Queens, Karen Black can outshine anyone when it comes to pushing creepy glances and facial expressions. Her last scene in the film haunts me to this day. Oh man, I can still see her!The title refers to the practice in some cultures of burning animals alive as sacrifices to the Gods. They don't realize it, but the Rolf family is being led to the altar, the fire is hot, and you are invited along. I encourage anyone who has not seen this film to not miss this opportunity to own it!"
Creepy thriller
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With Halloween almost upon us, it's time to take a brief glimpse back at some classic films of terror. Dan Curtis' started directing and producing with his terror/soap hybrid "Dark Shadows". This stylized film recalls "Dark Shadows" and Curtis' other films of terror "The Night Strangler" and "Trilogy of Terror" in that what you don't see or understand creates more suspense than what you do see. Ben and Marian Rolf (the wonderful Oliver Reed and Karen Black)and their young son Ben (Todd Turquand)find a beautiful old house in the middle of nowhere for their summer rental. The place has been around for at least a hundred years based on the photos of the house taken over the years. Arnold Allardyce (Burgess Meredith) and Roz Allardyce (Eileen Heckart)will rent the place to them for next to nothing---$900.00 for three months. Ben suspects there's a catch and there is--Arnold and Roz's mother never leaves the place. She doesn't need any special attention just three meals a day and no disturbances.

Reluctantly Ben senior agrees to the deal when it's clear that Marian has fallen in love with the old house. They move in with Ben's aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis in a wonderful and cynical turn). Strange things start happening shortly after they move in; Ben begins having these vivid, horrible nightmares and the family's behavior begins to change as well with Ben threatening his son while playing with him.

A marvelous late 70's thriller, "Burnt Offerings" works precisely because of what Curtis doesn't show us; we don't see any hideous monsters poking out of the cellar nor body parts torn apart. if you're expecting that in this movie, look elsewhere. What makes "Burnt Offerings" work so well is the sense of menace and foreboding that begins as soon as the family enters the house for the first time. There's just too many unanswered questions and mysteries lingering about the house.

Featuring a marvelous commentary by director Curtis, co-screenwriter William F. Nolan ("Trilogy of Terror" and the author of the novel Logan's Run as well as episodes of "The Twilight Zone" and other series) and actress Karen Black, "Burnt Offerings" gives you the creeps. Stellar performances by all the cast particularly Burgess Meredith in a showy supporting role and Eileen Eckhart. I always thought there was something slightly off about Black and this movie demonstrates that she can use that image to great effect.

A warning for DVD buyers. The film was shot using a number of filters to give the house a golden, almost overlit look to it. A lot of folks believe it's just a bad transfer. It's not. While the print looks pretty good with minimal to no analog artifacts, it could have looked a bit brighter with more vivid colors. Overall, though, the look of the film accurately portrays the film's intended look through the use of camera and lighting filters to give the film its unique, distinct look. You'll notice that the look of the film shifts subtly as time moves on and that's quite deliberate as well. I won't spoil it all for you but will let you discover it for yourself.

The film comes with the original theatrical trailer (where you'll notice the same "filtered" effect on display although not quite as pristine. The trailer is also quite worn and clearly hasn't been restored. Although the film doesn't have any featurettes about the making of the film, the commentary more than makes up for that with interesting background on the writing, directing and acting of the film. As many others have pointed out, the house shown here is in Oakland, California. If you get a chance try and visit that area. It'll creep you out once you realize it's the same house that was also used in parts of "Phantasm".