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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Burnt Offerings [Blu-ray]

 

(Dan Curtis, 1976)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Dan Curtis Productions

Video: Kino Lorber / Arrow Video (UK)

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' / Region 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:56:01.913 / 1:56:00.954

Disc Size: 35,410,538,879 bytes / 39,634,147,474 bytes

Feature Size: 24,670,064,640 bytes / 32,121,556,992 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.79 Mbps / 29.98 Mbps

Chapters: 9 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 6th, 2015 / October 17th, 2016

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1566 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1566 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentaries:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Audio commentary with director/co-writer/producer Dan Curtis, actress Karen Black, and co-screenwriter William F. Nolan
Audio Commentary with Film Historian Richard Harland Smith
Interview with actor Anthony James (17:33)
Interview with screenwriter William F. Nolan (13:21)
Interview with actor Lee Montgomery (16:30)

Trailer From Hell with Steve Senski (3:21)

• Animated Footage of images (3:21)

• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:29)

 

Audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith
Audio commentary with director/co-writer/producer Dan Curtis, actress Karen Black, and co-screenwriter William F. Nolan
Acting His Face, an interview with actor Anthony James (17:32)
Blood Ties, an interview with actor Lee Montgomery (16:29)
From the Ashes, an interview with screenwriter William F. Nolan (13:20)
Portraits of Fear, an animated gallery of promotional materials and behind-the-scenes stills (3:20)
Theatrical trailer (2:28)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love
First pressing only: Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kat Ellinger

 

Bitrate:

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Evil Has A New Home! Step inside a vacation house of horror in this terrifying thriller that does for summer homes what Jaws did for a dip in the surf. Karen Black (The Pyx), Oliver Reed (The Brood) and Bette Davis (All About Eve), star in this riveting haunted-house chiller that delivers hidden terrors mounting creepily as the film builds to a climax of pulverizing fright. Marian (Black) and Ben (Reed) find it hard to believe that for only $900 they've rented a sprawling country mansion for the entire summer. But as they settle into their isolated estate with their son (Lee Montgomery, Ben) and Ben's aunt (Davis), they find themselves surrounded by an evil, hypnotic living presence that feeds on torture, fear and murder. The stellar cast includes Burgess Meredith (The Sentinel), Eileen Heckart (The Bad Seed), Dub Taylor (Gator) and Anthony James (High Plains Drifter). Co-written, produced and directed by horror legend Dan Curtis (Dracula).

 

 

The Film:

Dan Curtis, director of TV's Dark Shadows series, directed this eerie haunted-house thriller about a house which draws energy from its inhabitants and selects its own "keeper" from the family of Ben and Marian Rolf (Oliver Reed & Karen Black), who rent the strangely-affordable house one fateful summer then find themselves slowly succumbing to its creepy powers. The photography is suitably moody, and many of the standard haunted-house cliches are used to decent effect -- particularly a violent scene in which the surrounding woods form a barrier to prevent the family station wagon from escaping the area -- but the pace is too leisurely overall, climaxing with the type of grim ending employed by nearly every mainstream horror film in the late 70's. Black's spooky looks are used to maximum effect, but are never quite as chilling as the final shot of Curtis's TV movie Trilogy of Terror from the previous year.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

As the Supernatural Honey, I’ve seen my fair share of haunted house movies. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright deplorable, but every now and again, one will exceed every expectation. For me, one of the best is Burnt Offerings.

Ben and Marion Rolf, along with their son Davey and Aunt Elizabeth, leave the city for the summer and rent a dilapatated mansion in the country from Roz and Arnold Allardyce. The price is too reasonable and there is a catch. They must look after “mother.”

Almost immediately, the house begins to come alive as the Rolfs get to cleaning and repairing, but it starts to have a strange effect on Ben and Marion. Ben has visions of a creepy hearse driver stalking him and Marion becomes obsessed with Mrs. Allardyce. They turn on each other and as everyone’s physical and mental health deteriorate, the house regenerates, restoring itself to it’s original grandeur.

Excerpt from TheHorrorHoneys located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Burnt Offerings has come to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. I wouldn't say it's a stunning image via the dual-layered 1080P transfer. Skin tones (especially Reed) are quite warm but the visuals are consistent. Nothing is dynamically crisp and there is only a touch of depth. Other than that the image is quite clean and watchable just showing few of the strong attributes of HD. It is fairly bright and I noted no noise. This Blu-ray gave me a reasonable, but far from stellar, viewing in regards to the picture quality.

 

For most consumers there won't appear to be a huge difference... but I'd give a slight edge to the Arrow, in-motion, despite it shows a sliver of less information in the frame, but it is more technically robust. Anyway, pretty much the same image quality.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1566 kbps in the original English language. There are some effects in the film - both subtle and aggressive. The score is by Bob Cobert (Dan Curtis' TV version of Bram Stoker's Dracula, plus his The Night Strangler and The Night Stalker) and it tends to support the film quite well sounding very decent in the lossless. It all sounds clear and audible with consistent dialogue. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Arrow go linear PCM (also only 16-bit) and I am not capable of detecting much difference. Effects still carry some weight - overall it may export the higher-end a bit tighter - but I cannot say that with any certainty. Arrow does take the trouble to include optional English (SDH) subtitles and their disc is region 'B' encoded.

 

Extras :

Kino really stack this release with over 10 Gig of supplements. We get two audio commentaries - a first with director/co-writer/producer Dan Curtis, actress Karen Black, and co-screenwriter William F. Nolan and a second, good one, with Film Historian Richard Harland Smith. Both quite entertaining with interesting facts on the film. There are also three interviews totaling about 45-minutes with actor Anthony James, screenwriter William F. Nolan and actor Lee Montgomery. More reminiscences plus a short Trailers From Hell piece with Steve Senski, some screen shots of images from the film and an original theatrical trailer.

 

Well, exact same extras - same commentaries (Arrow uses uncompressed audio), same three interviews and 'Portraits of Fear' animated gallery and a theatrical trailer. We lose the, short, 'Trailer From Hell' piece with Steve Senski only found on the Kino but, with the Arrow, add a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love and the first pressing only, gets a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Kat Ellinger. Again, Arrow nudge ahead.

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I re-watched this with my wife this morning. She wasn't as keen as I but I began to see some positive qualities and we have two, nay three, great stars propelling the story.  It has a very 'Dan Curtis' feel with a very with a comfortable, but eerie, setting. While not top-shelf it is worth seeing for fans of the director/producer and the genre. I, of course, loved every minute with Bette Davis. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is far from stellar but it did give me the opportunity to see the film in 1080P and the extras are extensive adding further value. Plus, I liked it - it would be one I would revisit one day. Good package!

 

Although I don't know - it sure seems like either a joint effort or Arrow leased the extras from Kino (or the other way around). Bottom lime for consumers is that this is pretty much the same package with Arrow inching ahead with a few more bells-and-whistles and I like their cover better! I loved seeing the film again - especially for Bette Davis. Dan Curtis made some memorably creepy stuff! Recommended!

 

Gary Tooze

September 26th, 2015

November 18th, 2016

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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