Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 13th, 2016
BluRay released: October 17th, 2016
Approximate running time: 116 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B / Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: £15.99 (UK)
Burnt Offerings was co-written and directed by Dan Curtis who is most known for creating the T.V. series Dark Shadows. Other notable films that Dan Curtis has worked on as a director / producer include, House of Dark Shadows, Night of Dark Shadows, Trilogy of Terror, Dead of Night, Night Stalker T.V. series and its two movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler. Key collaborators on Burnt Offerings include, screenwriter William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run), Jacques R. Marquette (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, A Bucket of Blood) and composer Bob Cobert (“Dark Shadows”). The screenplay for Burnt Offerings was adapted from Robert Marasco’s novel of the same name.
Content wise, Burnt Offerings is a classical example where bloodshed and mounting body counts are always needed to frighten audiences. With film’s like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Jack Clayton’s The Innocents being two similar examples of horror films that rely more on atmosphere then carnage.
Besides a solid premise and well-constructed narrative. Another area where Burnt Offerings excels is how it immediately draws you in with its atmospheric visuals which at times blur the line between what is reality and what is a nightmare?
Key moments visually include, a scene where the father and son are horse playing in the pool and father who is overtaken by sinister energy of the place gets to psychical with son who nearly drowns. Another standout moment visually includes, the scene where the aunt character in bed and very sick is visited by the creepy guy who drives a Hearst.
Performance wise the entire cast are great in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces, The Pyx) in the role of the wife Marian Rolf. Other notable performances include, Burgess Meredith (“Batman ‘66”, Rocky) in the role of the wheelchair bound brother who rents the home to the family for the summer and Betty Davis (Jezebel, All About Eve) in the role of Aunt Elizabeth.
Burnt Offerings comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors look nicely saturated, flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp, black levels and shadow detail remain strong throughout. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included for this release. There are no issues with back ground noise or distortion and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. Dialog comes though clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, an image gallery, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 28 seconds), three interviews – the first interview with actor Anthony James titled Acting His Face (17 minutes 31 seconds), the second interview with actor Lee Montgomery titled Blood Ties (16 minutes 28 seconds) and the third interview with screenwriter William F. Nolan titled From the Ashes (13 minutes 20 seconds) and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary with film historian Richard Harland Smith and the second audio commentary with director/co-writer/producer Dan Curtis, actress Karen Black and co-screenwriter William F. Nolan.
Topics discussed in the interview with Anthony James include, being type-cast as an actor, In the Heat of the Night, Oliver Reed, Betty Davis, Gene Hackman, Clint Eastwood and The Unforgiven, how painting / drawing is one of his other artistic outlets and how Betty Davis encourage him in regards to his art.
Topics discussed in the interview with Lee Montgomery include, his audition for Burnt Offerings, Dan Curtis and the films they worked on together, Oliver Reed, the pool scene and other on-set memories with Reed, Betty Davis, Karen Black, the film’s ending, critic and audience reaction to the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with William F. Nolan include, the first time he encountered Dan Curtis and how this lead to a long collaboration between the two of them, the premise of Burnt Offerings, the cast, key moments in the film are discussed in depth, critics negative reaction to the film, how the film has since gained a cult following and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Richard Harland Smith include, how the film’s main location would be used as a funeral home in Phantasm, the meaning behind the Burnt Offerings the title of the film, differences between the novel and the film, scenes that were shot and do not appear in the final cut for the film, the cast & info about them, themes explored in the film, the film’s ending and other production related topics.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Dan Curtis, Karen Black and William F. Nolan include, scenes that were cut from the film, Karen Black was pregnant while shooting the film, Oliver Reed, Betty Davis, the plot, the characters and themes explored in this film.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a booklet with cast & crew info, an essay about the film written by Kat Ellinger and information about the transfer. And included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Brunt Offerings gets a solid release from Arrow Video.