Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The house carries a morte gauge

Movie • BURNT OFFERINGS • 1976
With a title like Burnt Offerings I expected Creme Brulee, and I was not disappointed. Truth be told, I’ve seen this movie three times now, and I still get a kick. I want to run around like a ranting raven to tell everyone to see it just for the Bette Davis character. Karen Black has certainly played better roles. but this seems to be Bette Davis hitting rock bottom. It really brings out the self-pity in the character… unless she was really that good! Burgess Meredith wasn’t bad either. He was so creepy. I never would have trusted him. Seems like he’s always a creepy character, even when he’s not supposed to be.
Auntie, mummy and daddy, and their little brat boy rent a remote mansion for the summer; but there’s a catch. They have to take care of the old woman on the top floor. She never comes out, and she doesn’t want to be bothered seeing people; so food must be left for her like a bowl of milk for a stray cat. Mom (Marian), played by Karen Black takes on this chore; and it seems she makes an odd connection to the woman and the house.
As most 70’s movies go, dad seems to devolve into a nasty, abusive man who can’t be trusted. That’s the great decoy. I wouldn’t want to spoil that further, so I’ll say no more than to look closely at the photo collection.
Is the house alive? I’m not sure, but it sure looks like a nice place to live. The place is good for spookies, and children are good for the place. Never did find out the burnt part of Burnt Offerings though.

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