Traumafessions :: Reader Mickey W. on Burnt Offerings

In the 1970’s it was all about KAREN BLACK scary movies. One KAREN BLACK movie in particular comes to mind when I think of movies that terrorized me as a child, BURNT OFFERINGS. Well, TRILOGY OF TERROR too but I am just going to focus on BURNT OFFERINGS. I think I was about 7 when I first saw it on T.V. The scenes that kept me awake at night involved that creepy chauffeur. You know, the one OLIVER REED keeps remembering from his childhood. Anyway, that tall, skinny, pale, bespectacled man probably caused plenty of kids’ nightmares. I went back recently and watched the movie again. I must say it has a few boring parts, but the chauffeur still gives me the willies big time.

Unkle Lancifer SEZ: Mickey, I agree with you completely, BURNT OFFERINGS‘ (1976) chauffeur (Anthony James) is one of the creepiest cats ever. In the film OLIVER REED‘s character remembers his smiling off-putting presence from his mother’s funeral when he was a lad and he becomes an almost grim reaper like harbinger of doom. In the novel the film was based on by ROBERT MARASCO his origin is slightly different but he’s equally menacing if not more so. I’m not sure if he was a direct influence on these other grinning, lanky louts of cinema but he certainly shares a similar diet and disposition…

ANGUS SCRIMM as the terrifying “Tall man” in 1979’s PHANTASM
JULIAN BECK in 1986’s POLTERGEIST 2: THE OTHER SIDE (NATHAN DAVIS portrayed the not-so-good reverend in 1988’s POLTERGEIST 3)
Don’t forget “The Gentlemen” from the 1999 episode “Hush” of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. If those grinny skinnies didn’t send a chill down your spine, then you ain’t nothing but jaded!

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14 years ago

Burnt Offerings is definitely one of my all time favorite horror movie. I’m so glad someone confess about his fear of the creepy chauffeur. Every screen time he has gives me the chills! For some reasons, the movie reminds me a lot of The Shining from Kubrick. Maybe it’s because the directors gave so much personnality to the houses that we finally consider them as full characters of the movie.

I especially love the Bette Davis death scene. That was totally bizarre… and symbolic meaning that the chauffeur is actually a representation of the Grim Reaper.

I have myself a confession to make… I’m completely in love with Karen Black!