• Offerings

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: April 9th, 2017.
    Director: Christopher Reynolds
    Cast: Loretta Leigh Bowman, Elizabeth Greene, G. Michael Smith, Josh Coffman, , Jerry Brewer
    Year: 1989
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    The Movie:

    The Italians and the Turks don’t have an exclusive on cinematic rip offs – oh no, North America has its own share of celluloid copycats, many of which are just as goofy as their foreign counterparts. Case in point? A 1989 low budget horror film named Offerings, one of the most derivative slasher pictures you’re ever likely to see.

    The film opens with a scene where a young boy named Johnny Radley (Josh Coffman) is chastised by his horrible mother (Rayette Potts) for his shortcomings. From there, we see him hanging out with some of the other local guides, and before you know it, poor mute Johnny has fallen down a well and given himself a serious head smacking. The only kid who was ever nice to him was Gretchen (Kerri Bechthold), a kindly girl who tried her best to get the other kids to take it easy on Johnny. Eventually Johnny snaps, kills his mom, and goes off for a lengthy stint at a nearby asylum.

    A decade later, Johnny (Richard A. Buswell) is freed from the confines of the hospital where he was kept constantly drugged up after killing a nurse and making his escape. Of course, once the powers that be learn of his escape, town Sheriff Chism (G. Michael Smith) is on alert. A psychology teacher named Jim Paxton (Jerry Brewer), who once worked on Radley’s case, is poking about – trying to warn people about just what Johnny is capable of. Now that he’s free, what does he do? He starts leaving body parts as ‘offerings’ for grownup Gretchen (Loretta Leigh), whose parents have gone away and who is partying with her friends Kacy (Elizabeth Greene) and Linda (Heather Scott) and their respective boyfriends. First, it’s a weird pizza, then it’s an ear, then a nose… eventually one of the boyfriends (who has a rad Van Halen poster on his bedroom wall) is murdered and we’re off as Johnny tries to get ever closer to Gretchen…

    Shot entirely on location in the great state of Oklahoma, Offerings really is essentially a Halloween remake. Mind you, it’s nowhere near as good or as interesting as Halloween and it’s never really tense or scary, but the premise is the same, Jim Paxton is basically Dr. Loomis, Johnny Radly is basically Michael Myers and the cop and the girls all essentially mirror characters seen in Carpenter’s classic too. The movie even outright swipes the soundtrack too, changing just enough to (presumably) prevent a law suit. None of this is coincidence and all of it likely be design. This blatant plagiarism in film from is pretty brash, but the fact of the matter is that it isn’t done very well. It’s like Halloween, except not good.

    For this reason, the movie will hold a certain sort of appeal to a certain sort of fan, those brave enough to not only journey into the depths of horrordom’s bastard child of a subgenre but also to celebrate it. If bottom of the barrel stalk and kill productions float your boat – and we know you’re out there – you’ll probably appreciate this for what it is. If you don’t have that built in tolerance, odds are good you’ll just be reminded of how good Halloween is and how not good Offerings is.

    On a curious side note, there’s a scene where the fat cop heads into the old Radley home where he busts a kid looking at nudie mags. This kid tells Chism that his name is Ben Dover before running away and flipping him off. The actor who plays this kid? Chasen Hampton in his screen debut. What did he do after this? He won himself a lengthy six-year stint on The All New Mickey Mouse Club where he would eventually play alongside the likes of Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and Britney Spears.

    The more you know.


    Offerings arrives on Blu-ray from 88 Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen taken from a ‘2k scan of the original 16mm negative.’ As you’d expect, this is a fairly grainy looking image and it’s got some minor print damage throughout – not really a big deal, but worth mentioning. More of an issue is this strange trailing/ghosting effect, more noticeable in the darker scenes than the lighter scenes (but still there throughout) where, when characters or objects move, swarmy noise sort of follows them. There are also some compression artifacts that show up here too. Contrast is iffy, color reproduction is okay. It’s watchable, but certainly leaves room for improvement (and that trailing effect is just plain weird).

    The LPCM 2.0 Mono track, in English, is okay. There are some spots where the levels bounce up and down a little bit but otherwise, it’s fine. The dialogue is easy to understand and to follow and the film’s oh-so original score sounds quite good. Optional English subs are provided.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track from the guys behind The Hysteria Continues podcast – they being Justin Kerswell, Joseph Henson, Nathan Johnson and Erik Threlfall. If you’ve heard any of their earlier commentary tracks you’ll know what to expect: a well-researched discussion that is delivered with a sense of humor. It’s a fun listen, with the group pointing out some of the obvious similarities that Offerings shares with a few slasher classics but also what makes it stand out a bit. They talk up the score, the effects, the kills scenes, the film’s local flavor and quite a bit more and also give a bit of critical analysis alongside the expected barrage of facts and trivia.

    Aside from that we get a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. Inside the keepcase alongside the disc is an insert advertising the 88 Films Slasher Classics line. The flip side of the cover sleeve art features the same image as the opposite side, albeit without the banner on top and the ratings logo.

    The Final Word:

    Offerings isn’t scary or even really good but it’s amusing in how brazenly it rips off Halloween, which makes it amusing and, yeah, even entertaining in a strange sort of way. More for slasher die-hards than casual viewers – you know who you are. As to the disc itself, the transfer is more than a little funky but the audio is mostly fine and the commentary quite enjoyable.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      This reminded me more of PROM NIGHT than HALLOWEEN.
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      I bought the US blu. I love this one. Don't get me why wrong it's a bad movie that rips off Halloween like crazy but I find it oddly charming and fun.

      And Matt H i respect your opinion but this is nothing like Prom Night. To each their own
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      Quote Originally Posted by moviegeek86 View Post
      And Matt H i respect your opinion but this is nothing like Prom Night. To each their own

      The whole set-up is lifted from PROM NIGHT, including the killer taking out the grown-up bullies who were responsible for him falling down the well. The only difference is that he survives and gets to do it himself as opposed to his sibling exacting revenge. There's a dash of MY BLOODY VALENTINE, too.

      I just don't see it as a carbon-copy of HALLOWEEN - it rips off numerous slashers (and, as Michael Weldon pointed out in Psychotronic, it seems to have been inspired by BLUE VELVET as well).
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      You make good points. Well done