updated: 22/02/2009

old-age: Burnt Offerings

Another creepy haunted house mystery that takes itself far to seriously and is far too obvious to be mysterious. Ben and Marian Rolf (Karen Black) move into a gothic house as summer caretakers with their young son. The catch? The house rejuvenates a part of itself with each death that occurs on its premises. Marian ends up as an old lady in the attic.

Roger Ebert summed it up: ‘What’s mysterious is that the filmmakers were able to sell such a weary collection of ancient cliches for cold hard cash.’

Al Fleming was the makeup artist on the movie but Dick Smith was brought in, as a favour to director Dan Curtis, to designed and apply Karen Black’s old-age makeup as an aged Marian Rolf for the final scene. He produced three versions with varying degrees of makeup: all three were filming in one day. Dick’s favourite was the one shown in black & white above but Dan Curtis went with the lighter makeup shown in the large image, apparently ‘because he was afraid you couldn’t tell it was Karen with the others’.