Take three of Hollywood’s biggest hams (the always inebriated-seeming OLIVER REED, the voluptuously cock-eyed KAREN BLACK, and a post-BABY JANE/pre-stroke BETTE DAVIS), dangle before them an irresistibly low three-month rent package for a gothic mansion with the caveat that someone drops off a tray of food to an elderly mother concealed in an attic three times a day, shoot the proceedings with a gauzy porn filter, and there you have the gist of BURNT OFFERINGS. Shortly after agreeing to take the estate at 17 Shore Road from the underutilized sibling wonders of BURGESS MEREDITH and EILEEN HECKART, Marian (BLACK) and Ben (REED) Rolf start acting all kinds of cuckoo. Ben tries to drown their son in the pool while roughhousing, much to the dismay of artsy Aunt Elizabeth (DAVIS), whose still-life style is not unlike that of Thomas Kincade, Painter of Light. Meanwhile, Marian takes to wearing chokers and dressing old-timey in between obsessively cleaning the house and dropping off plates of pork chops to the unseen matron of the manor. The insanity, and overacting, escalates to the point where Aunt Elizabeth decides to stub out her last smoke and call it a shoot. Despite the death in the house, Marian wants to stay. In her defense, she did get a sweet deal. $900 for the whole summer… it would take at least three deaths to get your aunt john to skip out on something like that. As the Rolf family continues to deteriorate, the house itself is invigorated by an extreme makeover (supernatural edition). The siding replaces itself and the contents of the greenhouse flourish. Ben grabs his son and tries to escape in the wood-paneled station wagon, but the shrubs have other plans. For this family the realization that they’e not keeping the house, the house is keeping them, comes fatally too late.
- The demise of Aunt Elizabeth
- Death by chimney
- Any scene involving the pox-marked Chauffeur & his shit-eating grin