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Burnt Offerings

4.0 out of 5 stars 455 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Step inside a vacation house of horror in this terrifying thriller that "does for summer homes whatJaws did for a dip in the surf" (The New York Times)! Starring Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith and Bette Davis, this riveting haunted-house chiller delivers "hidden terrors [that] mount creepily as the film builds to a climax of pulverizing fright" (Rex Reed)! Marian (Black) and Ben (Reed) find it hard to believe that for only $900 they've rented a sprawling old country mansion for the entire summer. But as they settle into their isolated estate with their son and Ben's aunt (Davis), they find themselves surrounded by a living presencean evil, hypnotic, occult forcethat feeds on torture, fear and murder.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith, Eileen Heckart, Lee Montgomery
  • Directors: Dan Curtis
  • Writers: Dan Curtis, Robert Marasco, William F. Nolan
  • Producers: Dan Curtis, Robert Singer
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2003
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (455 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009PY32
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,062 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Burnt Offerings" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Who's up for a truly creepy haunted house thriller? In 1976, director Dan Curtis, Dark Shadows (1966) and Trilogy of Terror (1975) brought to life a wonderfully scary movie that scarred quite a few younger viewers at the time and still has the power to evoke strong remembrances when mentioned.
Burnt Offerings (1976) stars Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, and Burgess Meredith. City dwellers Marian (Black) and Ben (Reed) Rolf find the deal of a lifetime in a fabulous, secluded country estate, and soon settle in, along with their son and old auntie (Davis). A deal too good to be true? Why yes, it is, as strange things start happening, but not so strange as to send up serious warning flags that would cause most any of us to flee.
What was so great about this movie was the way the director took his time in ratcheting up the suspense for the viewer. Changes to the various characters were introduced in such as way as to seem subtle, and not highly alarming. Soon some of the characters do catch on, but by then, it's too late. I thought Reed was really great in this movie, a man haunted by a past demon amplified through the house, who manages to keep a fairly level head throughout. Another wonderful character in the movie is the house itself. Dunsmuir Estate is the setting for most of the movie, actually coming to life through skillful directing and some very creepy music. This is an actual home, located in Oakland, California.
The movie runs just under two hours, but the time will seem to go by quickly as you will find yourself gorilla glued to the screen, waiting in anticipation as to what happens next. There is a noticeable lack of blood, as the scares are more of the psychological kind.
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Format: DVD
Directed by Dan Curtis (TV's Dark Shadows), BURNT OFFERINGS tells the story of the Rolf family who, one summer, rent a huge house to get away from it all. The home is owned by the Alerdyce (sp) family, an eccentric bunch including Burgess Meredith. The Rolf family is overjoyed, despite having to do amazing amounts of yard work (some vacation) and taking care of the elderly matriarch of the Alerdyce family who lives in the attic and whom no one ever sees. No one except Mrs. Rolf played by Karen Black.
The house begins to repair itself and other weird things begin to happen. Sanity if questioned, bonds are broken, trust is shattered, and soon death arrives in the form of a ghostly hearse and it's pale driver...possibly one of the creepiest characters ever to grace your television screen.
I am not sure if this movie was made for television, but that's where I first saw it. Later when I saw it on video, it appeared to be the exact version I saw.
I cannot credit the cast of this movie enough. All were excellent, even the young boy. Bette Davis and Oliver Reed do excellent work, but the standout has to be Karen Black. Move over Scream Queens, Karen Black can outshine anyone when it comes to pushing creepy glances and facial expressions. Her last scene in the film haunts me to this day. Oh man, I can still see her!
The title refers to the practice in some cultures of burning animals alive as sacrifices to the Gods. They don't realize it, but the Rolf family is being led to the altar, the fire is hot, and you are invited along. I encourage anyone who has not seen this film to not miss this opportunity to own it!
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is one of the few horror films that I can still sit back and enjoy. It scared me pretty badly as a kid. I still feel all the haunting vibes and chills watching it as an adult.
It may not be action packed (although the scene with Reed trying to kill his soon in the pool was terrifying--and ultra-realistic), but it certainly gets under your skin. This film is about mood, and it is both beautifully entrancing and ominously mesmerizing. I actually found the acting quite good. Reed was wonderful. I loved the two weird siblings, Roz and Brother (Burgess Meredith, wonderful actor). Their adoration of the house sent chills up my spine.
The true stars of the movie are the music (Bob Cobert's amazing Music Box Theme) and the house (Dunsmuir House & Gardens, in Oakland, California). For true horror buffs out there, this movie inspired the creators of PHANTASM to drive up to Oakland and use this same mansion as the infamous Morningside Mortuary. Which is probably, when the opening moments of PHANTASM rolled in 1979, I had such fear towards Morningside--seeing the mansion there again on screen!
I have to wonder if other elements of BURNT OFFERINGS inspired PHANTASM as well. Note the creepy old lady upstairs at the end. Reminds one of PHANTASM's eerie fortuneteller. How about B.O.'s terrifying hearse chauffeur? He's kind of like a forerunner of the Tall Man!
BURNT OFFERINGS is well worth the viewing. Don't expect any real jolts or screams. But turn off the lights and let it really sink in. It's well worth a viewing. There are many moments (such as the house renewing itself during the rainstorm) that are bizarre and horribly fascinating. I haven't seen this good a haunted house movie in years.
And definitely visit Dunsmuir in real life. This place is spectacular.
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