Directed by Dan Curtis
Written by Dan Curtis & William F. Nolan
Starring Bette Davis, Burgess Meredith,
Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Anthony James,
& Lee Montgomery
Running time 116 minutes
Burnt Offerings is a classic haunted house/possession film. The all star cast in this is downright phenomenal, some of the best names of the time are attached. This is a film that I think many overlook as the years pass, in part due to the fact that its not at all gore or sex driven like many of the films from the era. Burnt Offerings is a film that masters the driving force of psychological suspense, and give you some great edge of your seat jump moments. The film and cast got several nods in the form of awards, winning the Saturn Awards for Best Horror Film, Best Director and Best Actress for Karen Blacks role as Marian Rolf, Karen and Dan also won Sitges
Film Festival Awards again for Best Director and Best Actress, with Burgess Meredith winning Best Actor, for his role Arnold Allardyce. Burnt Offerings is a very formulaic film, but it was one of the early ones to use this formula. It has since been duplicated or pulled from a million times, making it an important piece in the history of the genre.This film has always struck a chord with me, it sucks me in and gives me goosebumps every time.
The Rolf family is looking for a getaway, they rent a somewhat rundown but very large estate from the Allardyce siblings Arnold and Roz, who inform them the the rental is conditional. It seems that their mother will remain in the home with the Rolf family. Marian is informed by the siblings that she is a woman who values her privacy, and will need her meals taken to her room daily. The Rolfs agree that it is a fair trade off for the home and price, so the brood (Ben, Marian, son David and Aunt Elizabeth) settle in for what they expect to be a relaxing summer. Unfortunately events conspire against them as accidents begin plague the family, tension grows, leading to violent outbursts between the family members increasing the oppressive tension of the film. Marian becomes increasingly obsessive about the home and Mrs Alldaryce, alienating herself from her own family as the days pass, while at the same time the house seems to be coming back to life with no effort from short term residents. Will the Rolf family make it out in time? What is going on with the reclusive Mrs Alldaryce, is she to blame for the strange occurrences?? Only one way to find out folks, dust this classic film off and check it out for yourself!