Director: Christopher Reynolds
Script: Christopher Reynolds
Cast: Leigh Bowman, Elizabeth Greene, G. Michael Smith, Jerry Brewer, Tobe Sexton, J. Max Burnett, Debbie Potter, Rayette Potts
Running time: 94 minutes
A young boy, Johnny, is universally hated, (even by his chain-smoking mother), for never speaking and being kinda weird – he seems to like taking things apart, especially animals! His only friend is a local girl, Gretchen, who tries to stand up for him against the other local kids who all pick on him. One day a group of kids have poor Johnny cornered and he ends up falling down a well.
Ten years on, and Johnny escapes the looney-bin that he’s been interred in, (having killed his mother some years previously), and heads back to wreck revenge on the kids who did him wrong all those years ago, with the exception of the now all grown-up, and quite lovely, Gretchen, who he loves so much that he keeps leaving body parts in and around her house as ‘offerings’ to represent his strange love for her! What’s wrong with chocolates?!
As you can see, apart from the ‘offerings’ element of the story, there’s nothing really new about this slasher offering (see what I did there?), and it quite blatantly rips off much better films like John Carpenter’s seminal Halloween. Not that there’s anything wrong in aiming high… Even the music is reminiscent of Carpenter’s Halloween score at times!
Despite all its shortcomings - and it has many - I did quite enjoy this ‘blast from the past’ horror. Right from the start you can tell no one’s taking themselves seriously, nicely illustrated in an earlier piece of dialogue where one sanitorium orderly describes one of the patients to a colleague, emphasising his hypochondriac ways.
“You want to be scared of Mr Cranks, every-time he takes a dump he thinks he’s having an abortion!”
The acting is variable, with some of the parts obviously taken by enthusiastic local am-dramers, who aren’t helped by some variable sound recording. However, the film is passably shot, and holds your attention for the most part. Leigh Bowman, playing Gretchen, seems to be a decent actress in some scenes and quite dire in other scenes – not sure what was going on there… There are a series of unlikely murders, some of which I’m not convinced are possible (could a normal hypodermic syringe needle be stabbed through a skull and kill someone?), but we don’t really see much gore and grue. Plus, the psycho seems a little too bland to be memorable. In fact, the main cop is more memorable as he waddles around from one crime scene to the next, and the mortician is the craziest that I’ve seen in any film!
88 Films have done a good job in bringing this more obscure slasher film back from the video dead, although I did notice some print damage during the title sequence and the sound was a little soft at times during the quieter scenes.
The film left me with a couple of questions: what’s with Americans and their obsession with having eggs for breakfast; and I wonder how many American teens really go to bed in their jeans? Oh, and who thought it was a good idea to name their child Ben Dover, as someone did in this film? I think the scriptwriter must have a smutty, rather English sense of humour!
Finally, my favourite line: Deputy Sheriff Buddy: “I’m on those girls like stink on a skunk!”
88 Films are distributing Offerings on DVD and Blu-ray. Extras on the disc include:
A trailer (1.15 mins) – a cool trailer with the tag-line ‘We only hurt the ones we love’, which isn’t really true in this case!
An audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues podcast crew, namely Justin Kerswell, Eric (from Dublin), Joseph, (from Tennessee) and Nathan. Author Kerswell mediates well, and talks a lot about the cottage industry within the North Americas for slasher films throughout the eighties.
* Please note, the stills used in this review are not indicative of the picture quality of the Blu-Ray.