Saturday, October 6, 2012

If You Are Going to Rip Off a Movie, Do It With Some Style: "Offerings" (1989)

Here is the basic plot: a young boy is psychologically scarred and kills a family member.

Years later, he escapes from a mental hospital after attacking a nurse, and heads back to his old hometown. A psychology professional and the local sheriff track him. Cut to the hometown, where the friends of a pretty student begin disappearing, all being murdered, with suspenseful keyboard music in the background. One of her friends is killed in the front seat of a car. The psych guy goes to the cemetery and finds out the killer's family member's grave has been vandalized. Meanwhile, the sheriff visits the killer's old house, now boarded up and abandoned. Eventually, the killer tracks pretty student to her house. Bullets cannot stop this guy, and he ends the film supposedly dead on the lawn.

"Wait a minute, Charles, you big silly...this is the plot to 'Halloween," why is it listed under this other movie called 'Offerings'?" Because this film rips off "Halloween" so much that writer/director Christopher Reynolds should retain a lawyer.

There are a few differences between the films, very few. The psych guy gets killed in this (after handing the killer a nice heavy metallic flashlight to be beaten with). The sheriff here weighs at least 300 pounds. He resembles me, except he has more hair and I have a brain.

Our ditzy heroine, Gretchen, is so worried about her friends disappearing and spare body parts turning up in her front yard, it is all she can do to put on half-shirts and capri pants and wait for the police to arrive. The sheriff, not wanting to panic the girls, collects a severed ear and a severed nose by scooping them into a plastic baggie like he was picking up dog poop (or was it this script?). Forget a crime scene, this guy has more important things to do- like bust a teen in the abandoned house for reading porn, as unnecessary a scene as there ever was.

The acting is terrible. This was filmed in Oklahoma, but half the time the cast sounds like they are trying to cover their accents and not succeeding. Reynolds rips off John Carpenter's superior film constantly, from the basic plot to assorted wide shots with hard to see action occurring at a suburban house. The gore is weak, and the onscreen action is pretty bad. The entire cast sits around and waits to get killed. The killer is taking revenge for a wrong done to him by his victims when they were kids. The problem is the kids are never identified (except Gretchen), and you have no idea who they grew up to be. Instead, we see a bunch of students getting killed, and you do not know if they were involved in the young killer falling down a well or not. The opening scenes, where the young killer is abused by his mother, is offensive to say the least. The mother is killed off camera, we must hear about it later from a minor character.

The musical score is not just really similar to John Carpenter's score- it IS John Carpenter's score. There may be a few differences here and there, but not enough for "Offerings" to list an original score in its credits.

On top of all the blatant copying of a superior film, this film does not stand up as even good bad horror. No scares, weak gore, unsympathetic characters, and at ninety six minutes, this film is ninety six minutes too long.

I wholeheartedly urge you to never rent, view, or buy this film as long as you roam God's green earth. You will be a better person for it, and I will feel like the time I wasted watching this mess was not in vain. (*) out of five stars.