Burnt Offerings Blu-ray Review (1976)

I think it’s time I take a look at another cult horror film, this one’s from 1976, Burnt Offerings and has a rather impressive cast. So without further ado here’s my Burnt Offerings Blu-ray review.

  • Burnt Offerings Blu-ray Review (1976)
  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed by Dan Curtis
  • Written by William F. Nolan & Dan Curtis
  • Running Time: 116 Mins
  • UK Rating 15
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
  • Released By Arrow Video
  • Blu-ray Released: 17 October 2016
Plot

When the Rolf family decide to take a summer long holiday they are offered the chance to stay in an old country mansion.
Burnt Offerings Blu-ray

The current owners the Allardyce’s, Arnold (Burgess Meredith) and Roz (Eileen Heckart) are going away and want someone to stay there over the summer and therefore the rent is incredibly cheap. With the house comes something of a catch, the Allardyce’s mother will be staying at the house and they request the Rolf’s look after her by simply leaving her meals.

Marian Rolf (Karen Black) seems strangely drawn to the house almost as if she were a part of it. The rest of her family consist of her husband Ben (Oliver Reed) their son and Ben’s mother Elizabeth (Bette Davis).

Ben soon begins to act strangely which he more than anyone finds terrifying. The Allardyce’s mother is never seen preferring instead to remain locked away in her bedroom.

Just what have the Rolf family become involved with? I’ll let you discover that for yourselves.

Style / Direction

The film is directed by Dan Curtis with the cinematography handled by Jacques R. Marquette.

Burnt Offering is more of a low build kind of psychological horror. The suspense and tension just keeps on building leading you to believe that one or more of the characters will eventually crack. The film does this reasonably well although at times it felt a little too drawn out.

The film appears to have a milky mist look in some scenes which is presumably deliberate and not just a bad print. It does give a kind of dream like effect, though I personally did not like the look.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is provided by Bob Cobert with most of the music being a mix of a music box chiming style contrasted against a powerful and tense score that definitely works well.

Acting / Characters

The cast is pretty strong with Oliver Reed, Karen Black and Bette Davis among the main characters in the film. Add in Burgess Meredith and Eileen Heckart in the supporting roles and you should have plenty of good performances and the good news is we do.

The film centres largely on Karen Blacks character Marian and her connection with the house. She plays this very well being the caring wife and mother one moment and then seemingly house obsessed the next.

Oliver Reed also plays his role very well, he begins the film as a strong leader of the family. However the longer he is exposed to his new surroundings he begins to fall apart mentally. Although that role is not entirely new to Oliver Reed as he plays a similar role in the Hammer film Paranoiac (1963).

Bette Davis adds further weight to the film with another strong performance.

Cast
  • Karen Black
  • Oliver Reed
  • Bette Davis
  • Lee H. Montgomery
  • Eileen Heckart
  • Anthony James
  • Burgess Meredith
Conclusion: The Burning Film Review

The film appears to have everything going for it, decent story, location, music and top actors yet somehow just misses out from me giving it classic must see recommendation.

It’s a good film don’t get me wrong but I felt it should have been better. As I mention earlier I found the film dragged a little in the first half in which the tension begins to build. Not by very much but enough to have me notice.

Then I suppose I should mention the ending without giving anything away too much, it was pretty much as I expected although they did add a rather nice iconic film shot with Oliver Reed to bring an end to proceedings.

Overall I enjoyed Burnt Offerings and would say it’s definitely worth watching but fails a little short of classic status.

The film appears to have a milky mist look in some scenes which is presumably deliberate and not just a bad print. It does give a kind of dream like effect, though I personally did not like the look.

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Conclusion: Burnt Offerings Blu-ray Review

It’s another MGM film and that generally means only bad news. Let’s be clear this Blu-ray release has not been restored it is a high definition print and on this occasion it’s not too bad.

The print is far sharper than any other release to date however there still are some dirt marks that appear throughout the film. Thankfully these marks are not often enough to ruin viewing unlike other MGM releases.

It certainly would have been nice if Arrow Video could have stretched to a restoration but this is overall a decent print that is without doubt worth upgrading to.

Extras
  • Anthony James: Acting His Face (18 mins)
  • Blood Ties (16 mins)
  • From The Ashes (13 mins)
  • Portrait of Fear (3 mins)
  • Trailer
  • Audio Commentary by Dan Curtis, Karen Black & William F Nolan
  • Audio Commentary by Richard Harland Smith
  • Booklet
  • Reversible sleeve

A great set of extras with Blood Ties and From The Ashes being of particular interest.

On to my movie rating for Burnt Offerings (1976)

  • Movie Rating: WELL WORTH WATCHING
  • Blu-ray Picture: GOOD
  • Extras: VERY GOOD

Burnt Offerings (1976) is available now on Blu-ray priced £13.99 from Amazon (as of date of review)

Amazon UK Links

 

 

 

 


Film Trailer

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version

That’s my Burnt Offerings Blu-ray Review, if you have any thoughts on this film leave them in the comment section below:

 

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Summary: Burnt Offerings (1976) Blu-ray Review

Director(s): Dan Curtis

Actor(s): Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, Lee H. Montgomery, Eileen Heckart

Genre: Horror

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Rating
  • Extras
3.7

Summary

A tense psychological horror with an outstanding cast that’s definitely worth watching.

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