Video Rewind: Burnt Offerings
Growing up for the most part I was never really big on horror movies, but I remember I had to see Burnt Offerings so my sister and I dragged our dad to the drive-in to see this rare horror gem.
The Rolf family, Oliver Reed, Karen Black and Lee Montgomery along with Aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis) take up residence in a mansion over the entire summer at a bargain price of just $900. It pretty much included everything: food and horror.
Blood and gore weren't the rage in the mid to late '70's but psychological terror was the in thing and many movies of the time reflect it. These horror films were designed to make you think and hold your attention and rarely were they the 85 minutes as in today's market. This comes in just under two hours and holds your attention.
While vacationing at the Allardyce home, Marian (Black) takes care of the never seen "Mrs. Allardyce" and won't allow anyone into the special room she watches over. It's her job to see she receives three meals a day while taking care of her family and the house.
There are a few odd jobs which need to be handled around the estate and everyone kind of helps out but it's Marian who becomes obsessed with details around the place.
Aunt Elizabeth is a spry old lady who has much more energy than her nephew and his family and finds the time to relax by painting or lounging by the pool until she starts to wear down and becomes increasingly sick.
Then there's the tension between father and son (and why would there be tension between the two who are so close? Well, if your father tried to drown you I think there would be some tension) as each begins to change in their own way.
Reed, as Ben, begins to have visions of the chauffeur (Anthony James) at his mother's funeral when he was a young boy. The visions continue until the chauffeur arrives at the house to pay a special visit. (It's that visit which will send a shiver down your spine and haunt you for a lifetime).
While there are many plot twists to the movie and since it is a psychological thriller I can only say this is one film which has haunted me for years and will probably continue to haunt me for the rest of my life.
As I said in my review of Trilogy of Terror you'll have to take a close look into Black's eyes at the end of the movie. It may not be the most chilling but I can guarantee you won't look at a chauffeur the same way (or a big smile for that matter).