BURNT OF­FER­INGS Rental health prob­lems

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 17 Oc­tO­ber 1976 | 15 | blu-ray & dVd (dual for­mat) Di­rec­tor dan cur­tis Cast Karen black, Oliver reed, lee Mont­gomery, bette davis

Dan Cur­tis, cre­ator of gothic soap Dark Shad­ows, brings us a dif­fer­ent kind of vam­pire in this over­looked hor­ror: an old man­sion that feeds on the life­force of its oc­cu­pants. That’s bad news for the Rolf fam­ily, who rent the place one sum­mer.

As this fam­ily of three is grad­u­ally torn apart, with mum (Karen Black) in­creas­ingly ob­ses­sive and dad (Oliver Reed) in­ex­pli­ca­bly ag­gres­sive to their young son, the film of­ten feels like a pre­cur­sor to The Shin­ing – es­pe­cially since Reed’s twitchy crack-up act­ing ri­vals Jack Ni­chol­son’s. No won­der the orig­i­nal novel is rec­om­mended in Stephen King’s Danse Macabre.

At a stretch you could read it as a cri­tique of our mod­ern-day ob­ses­sion with prop­erty. But it also works just fine as a doom-laden gothic chiller with an ef­fec­tive shock end­ing.

Ex­tras In­ter­views with two cast and writer Wil­liam F Nolan (47 min­utes) pro­vide in­ter­est­ing anec­dotes about Oliver Reed (whose en­tourage got child ac­tor Lee Mont­gomery drunk!) and co-star Bette Davis. An old commentary by Cur­tis, Nolan and Black is backed up by a some­what ram­bling one by Video Watch­dog writer Richard Har­land Smith. Plus: gallery; trailer; book­let. Ian Berri­man

The same house – Dun­smuir House in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia – was later used as the mau­soleum in 1979 hor­ror Phan­tasm.

Hal­lu­ci­nat­ing Ol­lie gripped the bot­tle.

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