21 June 2024
The Offspring (1987)
99 min.
Directed by Jeff Burr.
With Vincent Price, Susan Tyrell, Clu Gulager, Terry Kiser, Cameron Mitchell, Rosalind Cash, Martine Beswick.
The gruesome history of Oldfield, Tennessee is recounted by librarian Julian White (Price) to reporter Bess Chandler (Tyrell) in the form of four terror vignettes of variable quality.

The first segment is the best: repressed geek Clu Gulager murders his date after she spurns his advances. He then has sex with his slain amour (yikes!). But no worries. He pays for all his wrongdoings nine months later...

Kiser is also good in the second segment as a cursed criminal who is given eternal life...with a macabre catch.

The third episode concerns a performer in a carnival sideshow who yearns for a life outside the circus. Shouldn't be a problem, right? But when he tries to leave, he gets the shock of his life.

The last segment chronicles a warped orphanage during the Civil War. Seems the tykes have no problem torturing the adult soldiers who might happen by, including a wayward Yankee (Mitchell).

The Offspring is effective in parts - but gory when it doesn't have to be - and often chooses to get perverse and disturbing when it should be simple fun, leaving the viewer feeling almost violated.

The biggest shame here is that genre greats Price and Beswick, and cult queen Tyrell are essentially all wasted.

Also known as From a Whisper to a Scream.

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