Burnt Offerings (1976)

Movie poster Modern Gothic movie with good performances by Oliver Reed, Karen Black and Bette Davis (Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?) starts out strong, with a family renting a house for the summer that turns out to be haunted. But it quickly runs out of steam as the family is “affected by evil forces” and the plot slows down for too much expository material. The mishmash builds to a predictable twist ending. Producer/Director Dan Curtis co-wrote the script from a novel by Robert Marasco. Burgess Meredith and Eileen Heckart are also in it, but Burgess was better in the TV-series S.E.A.R.C.H. Lee Harcourt Montgomery won a Golden Turkey Award for his performance:

“This juvenile sensation of the 1970s specialized in making himself pathetic; in all his major screen roles he plays an unhappy young man with some debilitating physical or psychological affliction. As the son of Carol Burnett and Walter Matthau in “Pete N’ Tillie” he portrayed a 9-year-old leukemia victim who dies before the comedy is over. A comedy about a couple trying to adjust to the death of their son may not be your idea of hilarity, but Lee H. Montgomery does his best to make the concept work. Before disappearing from the screen he succeeds in making himself so obnoxious that the audience breathes a sigh of relief when they know his role has ended.

“In Burnt Offerings, he is the son of another “fun couple” – this time Oliver Reed and Karen Black – who move into a spooky ol’ house for the summer. The plucky lad has several close calls – he nearly drowns while playing in the swimming pool with his father, and shortly thereafter monster trees try to crush the car in which he is sitting. Finally, a chimney from the house falls directly on his head, doing him in for good and surprising no one who knows about Montgomery’s fatality rate.
“Despite these distinguished appearances (and a brief role in George C. Scott’s incestuous ego-trip “The Savage Is Loose” in 1976), Lee H. Montgomery is still best remembered for his starring role in “Ben.” This sequel to the highly popular “Willard” tells the story of a touching romance between a frail, sickly boy and his pet killer rat. Montgomery’s towering performance as the defender of a group of rats, numbering more than 3000, led critic Judith Crist to refer to him as a “small repulsive fat-faced boy.” At the conclusion of “Ben,” Lee H. outdoes himself. The rats have all been destroyed and the poor sickly boy sits alone in his room to mourn their demise. But lo, through some miracle Ben himself has survived and the faithful rodent makes it back to Lee’s bedroom to visit with his friend. Witnessing the interaction between the two principals, it is hardly surprising that the rat who played Ben got considerably better reviews than did Lee H. Montgomery”

No relation to the movie Midnight Offerings (1981). Monstervision review/host segments for Midnight Offerings

Burn Witch Burn (1962)

Burn Witch Burn Supernatural thriller (aka Night Of The Eagle) co-written by Richard Matheson (Twilight Zone The Movie, Kolchak the Night Stalker) back when he was adapting Edgar Allan Poe stories for Vincent Price and Roger Corman. A college professor rapidly rises to fame with lectures about witchcraft. Then he finds out that his wife (Janet Blair) is herself a witch and has been using black magic to push his career along. Try not to duck when the killer bird pops down from the face of the campus clock tower! Atmospheric horror builds to genuinely frightening, suspenseful climax. All-British cast has no stars known in America, making story seem even more real. 87 minutes, black & white. Later spoofed in “Witch’s Brew” (1980) starring Teri Garr as the witch-wife. Story was filmed previously as Inner Sanctum sequel “Weird Woman” starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the professor.

Review and host segments for past Monstervision feature Mad Monster Party

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