Saturday, July 20, 2013

VHS Rewind Of The Movie 'Burnt Offerings' 1977- For Your Old School Horror Games


Introduction Burnt offerings movie poster.jpg
 There are some films that sort of stay with you and this was one I saw as a kid.
According to wiki :
Burnt Offerings is a 1976 mystery horror film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Robert Marasco.[1] Directed by Dan Curtis, the film stars Burgess MeredithKaren BlackOliver Reed, and Bette Davis.
 The story concerns a family who moves into an old house that rejuvenates itself by means of its occupants.
Its a theme that runs through both the  Legend of Hell House And The Amityville Horror as well. This film has a sort of 'Twilight Zone' or dream quality to it. 

The plot According To Wiki: 
The Rolf family takes a vacation from an unnamed city at a large, shabby neo-classical1890s mansion in the California countryside. The family consists of Marian (Karen Black), her husband Ben (Oliver Reed), their young son David (Lee Montgomery), and their elderly aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis). The owners of the house are the Allardyce siblings, brother Arnold and sister Roz (Burgess Meredith and Eileen Heckart respectively). The Allardyces inform their new tenants of a particularly odd requirement for their rental: the Allardyces' elderly mother continues to live in her upstairs room and the Rolfs provide her with meals during their stay. The siblings explain that the old woman is obsessed with privacy and will probably not interact with them, so meals are to be left outside her door.

As it turns out, this task falls to the mother, who gradually succumbs to the allure of the ornate house and its period decor. She becomes obsessed with caring for the home, begins to dress as if she is from the Victorian age, and of particular concern to her is the room outside Mrs. Allardyce's room with its huge collections of framed pictures and a music box. Various "accidents" occur during the summer. While playing in the pool the father almost drowns the child, a gas heater in the child's bedroom is mysteriously turned on and the windows closed. Ben is haunted by a dream and a waking vision of an eerie, grinning, malevolent looking chauffeur whom he saw at his mother's funeral decades prior. With each "accident," the house begins to regenerate itself. It gradually becomes clear that Marian is somehow being possessed or controlled by the house and that a malevolent force is slowly consuming the family.
Then Aunt Elizabeth suddenly takes ill and dies, and the mother does not attend the funeral. She steps into a room that had previously contained barren and half dead flowers only to discover a beautiful, ornate garden. Upon arriving home from the funeral, Ben confronts Marian, who retreats to the room outside the old woman's bedroom. He angrily confronts her about her obsession with the home and what the home is doing to their family. She denies it. He reveals to her his intentions of leaving the next day, "with or without you."
The father sleeps in an armchair in the son's room, then awakens to the sound of old shingles falling off the home. He attempts to escape with the son but, a tree blocks the road. The mother drives them back to the house; the father accuses her of being part of it. He then sees the mother as the chauffeur, and becomes catatonic. The next day, while David is swimming and Ben is watching him, the placid pool turns into angry, vicious waves, pulling the boy under as Ben is unable to move. Marian frantically saves him, and agrees it is time to leave.
As Ben readies his family to leave the house, Marian decides to go back inside to tell Mrs. Allardyce that they are leaving. After she fails to return to the car Ben goes inside to get her, but cannot find her. Ben decides to confront the elderly Mrs. Allardyce, whom he has not seen face to face. Ben is horrified when he finds that his wife has somehow become the old woman in the attic, or perhaps always has been. Ben is thrown from an attic window, landing on the windshield of his car. In shock, David runs toward the house and is killed when one of the chimneys falls on him.

When the house is now fully rejuvenated and glistening like new, the voices of the Allardyce siblings are heard marveling at the house's beauty and rejoicing over the return of their mother. The house is seen to be filled with pictures of various people, many from years past, some more recent - including those of Ben, David and Aunt Elizabeth.

Using Burnt Offerings For Your Old School Horror Games 

Not unlike the the Legend of Hell House, Burnt Offerings mansion is far more subtle then the usual horror rpg adventure. This is a location that offers subtle demonic possession and the promise of eternal repose within its walls. 
The 37-room mansion is 16,224 square feet and features 10 fireplaces, a Tiffany-style dome, wood paneled public rooms and inlaid parquet floors. The servant quarters in the house are designed to accommodate 12 live-in staff.

The Allardyces family seem to have a very dark history with the place. There's an almost 'Shining' feel to the place.  Adventurers  will find the place a  probably a bit too methodical in its pacing for killing. Those accustomed to slam-bang approach of post-'70s horror fare may be in for a surprise. But seasoned Call of Cthulhu  fans will find plenty to enjoy in this film's location for its subtle charm and a bit of insanity in the house's approach. 
The house seems to be  a malevolent force is slowly consuming the family and others who have visited it and become a part of its walls.  I've always felt that the place might touch other times and places throughout history. The place lures its victims in and then begins to consume both sanity and body until the place claims them as its own. 
 The house can be more then just a simple trap. Those spirits that reside within its walls may have knowledge of the past that no other being possesses. The rare insights that may come in handy to adventurers. Getting past the entity which controls and regenerates the house will not be easy. 
Even those who escape the houses phantoms may be cursed and may find themselves returning to the house as its obsession takes over. 
 There are a couple of reasons to use Burnt Offerings. 1. The film is relatively unknown to many horror fans and rpg players today. 2. The film makes a quick set up for a one shot adventure. 3. There's plenty to use here if the 'time travel from hell' bit is used to allow the house's phantoms to work their magic over the adventurers. 
The film's location of the Dunsmuir House and its grounds have appeared in numerous movies and television shows. There's plenty of info about the place right over on wiki!
 Right over HERE

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