Review: ‘Burnt Offerings’

Most of the cliches of the Gothic genre are encompassed in the plot about Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and young Lee H. Montgomery having a weird summer after moving into a home owned by batty Burgess Meredith and Eileen Heckart. The horror is expressed through sudden murderous impulses felt by Black and Reed, a premise which might have been interesting if director Dan Curtis hadn't relied strictly on formula treatment.

Most of the cliches of the Gothic genre are encompassed in the plot about Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and young Lee H. Montgomery having a weird summer after moving into a home owned by batty Burgess Meredith and Eileen Heckart. The horror is expressed through sudden murderous impulses felt by Black and Reed, a premise which might have been interesting if director Dan Curtis hadn’t relied strictly on formula treatment.

The plot [from the novel by Robert Marasco] is treated in mysterioso fashion but the audience can guess the ending maybe an hour before it happens. Black gives an uncertain performance, Reed grimaces and sweats a lot, but Montgomery manages to be believable in the film’s best role, and Meredith is suitably creepy.

Burnt Offerings

Production

PEA. Director Dan Curtis; Producer Dan Curtis; Screenplay William F. Nolan, Dan Curtis; Camera Jacques Marquette; Editor Dennis Virkler; Music Robert Cobert; Art Director Eugene Lourie

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 116 MIN.

With

Karen Black Oliver Reed Burgess Meredith Eileen Heckart Lee H. Montgomery Dub Taylor
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