Burnt Offerings

Released 1976


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Movie Summary

Dan Curtis (I)
Burnt Offerings is the 1976 cult horror mystery thriller from prolific scare meister Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows, The Night Stalker, Trilogy of Terror, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), based on the novel by Robert Marasco. A typical American family moves wide-eyed and innocent into a large old mansion with a sinister secret. The family, and us, are told that a harmless elderly woman lives upstairs in a room by herself and that she will be no problem to the renters. Soon, however, strange things begin to happen. Ben (Oliver Reed, The Brood, Gladiator) and Marian (Karen Black, Five Easy Pieces) begin to behave in unpredictable fashion and the house seems to get newer and brighter the longer they are there. Viewers begin to see gray hair in them where none had been before and sprightly old Aunt Elizabeth (screen legend Bette Davis), ages noticeably. Ben begins to see visions and Aunt Elizabeth dies. It's as if the house is sucking the life out of Ben and Marian. Frightened after almost murdering his young son, Ben senses the danger and wishes to leave, but Marian hesitates, enthralled by the house and it's atmosphere. And, what part does the mysterious old lady upstairs play in this?moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times Lawrence Van Gelder

    Director Curtis times his audience immersions into the ice bath of terror with such skill that moviegoers will scarcely have the leisure to ask why some of the renters aren't a bit...

  • 60

    Time Out

    The current minor boom in American horror films has two notable features: the single-minded concentration on the nuclear family as a point of attack, and the consistent rejection o...

  • 38

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Burnt Offerings is a mystery, all right. What's mysterious is that the filmmakers were able to sell such a weary collection of ancient cliches for cold hard cash.

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Drama, Horror, Suspense