Burnt Offerings, The Legacy and Sssssss - Movies That Scared (Or Scarred) Me
I don't watch many movies these days but when a recent storm knocked out the internet to both my home and my writing studio, I decided that, rather than limp along on my mobile hotspot, I'd stay home, catch up on some household chores, and keep my fingers crossed that our power held. I flipped on the television for background noise and just happened to catch the first half hour of a showing of the old Dan Curtis film Burnt Offerings.
I first saw Burnt Offerings as a pre-teen and was absolutely creeped out by it. Nightmares for days. Seriously.
If you're not familiar with it, Burnt Offerings is about a family who moves into a rundown mansion for the summer and quickly realize they got a lot more than they bargained for. The mother, played by Karen Black, seems especially vulnerable to the house's influence. (And while all the film's performances are fantastic, Bette Davis does a death scene so powerful you'll question your senses.)
These days I might describe Burnt Offerings as an early commentary on the dangers of consumerism and materialism but for tweenaged me, it was terrifyingly good fun.
Watching Burnt Offerings got me thinking about another supernatural film that scared me--The Legacy. This one was released in 1978 and is set in an old mansion in England. Katherine Ross plays Maggie, who realized far too late that she is an heir to a Satanic legacy.
Critics generally ravaged the film but the scenes in which Maggie struggles to remove that ring haunted me for years.
Sssssss was my first horror film and, Wow! This film really got to me. I had slipped out of bed late one evening and crept into the living room where my mother and a visiting cousin were watching Sssssss on television. Crouched down behind a recliner, I watched until the very last scene.
Critics were a bit kinder to this film but criticized its pacing, its plot, and its dialog. It did, however, win an award for its special effects.
I've never revisited Sssssss. Perhaps I just don't feel the need to. Or perhaps I'm afraid that watching the film through adult eyes will spoil my memory of this campy, weird movie.
Okay, it's your turn. What films (horror or not) did you see too young, too late at night or too alone in a quiet house?