23 July 2014

Burnt Offerings (1976)
116 min.
Directed by Dan Curtis.
With Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, Lee H. Montgomery, Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckert, Dub Taylor, Anthony James.
A review somewhere once criticized Burnt Offerings for its "slow pacing and typically 70's downbeat atmosphere." That's *precisely* why we like it!

Ben Rolf (Reed), his wife Marion (Black), son David (Montgomery) and Aunt Elizabeth (Davis) rent a country house for the summer. The only caveat is that they have to look in on the owner's 85 year old mother who still resides in the upstairs attic. But since the elderly woman is never present, it doesn't seem to be a problem.

But what is a problem is that the house seems to have a life of its own, and slowly the Rolfs begin to crumble under the strange power of the old manor. It seems they're literally being overtaken by unseen forces. Ben has nightmares involving a grinning hearse chaffeur, while Marion obsesses unhealthily over the house's antiques. Things only spiral down from there...

A nice haunted house/possession entry, this benefits from trademark touches courtesy of director Dan Curtis. Davis is anything but subdued here, yet her unique flavor is well bookended by the performances of Reed and Black. And that downbeat '70s ending is to die for...

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