Sunday, March 28, 2010

Offerings (1989)

Back when I was in high school there were three shows on every Saturday that I enjoyed watching -- four if you count segments from channel one that only appeared unscrambled for a few minutes every hour and a half starting at ten thirty. These shows were Monster Vision on TNT, Mystery Science Theater on the SciFi Channel, and Svengoolie on WCIU. Of the three, Svengoolie was my least favorite, yet one I still watched semi-regularly because I enjoyed the movies they presented, and because it didn’t compete against the timeslot of the other two shows. Unfortunately the other two did compete against each other and often would leave me having to tape one while watching the other, something which I never liked doing because they both seemed so much more enjoyable to watch as they aired. Sadly, Monster Vision and Mystery Science Theater are no longer on the air -- though I did learn that all the Mystery Science Theater DVDs are available through and will be renting them all once my brother is home from the army -- so my only option now is Svengoolie, which I will still watch if something good is being shown, recent examples being Killer Clowns From Outer Space, The People Under the Stairs, Count Yorga: Vampire, or, as in the case of last night, Offerings -- a movie I had never heard of before yet must have seen at some point during my life given how familiar the plot was, hum?

For those that have never seen it, Offerings is the heartbreaking tale of a troubled young man who is bullied by everyone he knows, one who wants nothing more in life than to be left alone so that he can play checkers with the cute little neighbor girl, and mutilate his ever dwindling collection of pets -- something which his really gross elderly mother seems to know all about, yet doesn’t put a stop too; instead she just takes part in his torment by verbally and physically abusing him, all because his father tried to kill her years earlier (talk about holding a grudge -- jeeze). One day the taunting from his classmates gets to be too much and he decides to take part in their little ritual of walking the well, something which looks pretty easy until one of the punks makes him fall in where he badly smashes up his head and face. Too make the situation worse, the kids flee rather forcing the young man to climb out of the old well all by himself, something which apparently created quite an appetite because the first thing he does upon arriving home is eat his mother -- even my cannibalistic standards this would have been something only the bizarre foods guy could have stomached given how revolting she was. After that the kid is put into a mental institution where he is kept peacefully sedated until a new nurse fails to give him his medication on time allowing him to wake up, kill her and escape. From there he walks about forty miles back to his home town, stopping only to eat some ducks at a pond, and then systematically begins to mutilate all those kids that bullied him, parts of which he leaves as ‘offerings’ to the only girl who was ever nice to him. Sadly something is lost in the translation of these gifts because the girl doesn’t seem too pleased with them (didn’t anyone ever tell her it’s the thought that counts), or the fact that he is killing her friends. Eventually things reach a climax when our love sick killer presents himself to his true love. Unable to express the same feelings for him, and probably morbidly terrified by the final gift he has to offer, she runs from his loving embrace to the safety of a police car where she grabs a dead deputies gun. The question is, will the bullet inside be enough to stop him? After all, as so eloquently said by Wesley in The Princess Bride not even death can stop true love, merely postpone it.

Earlier I mentioned that it almost felt like I had seen this movie before despite having never heard of it. The reason: it is pretty much a scene by scene recreation of John Carpenters Halloween, one which managed to capture the basic storyline of the movie, yet couldn’t seem to grasp the terror, suspense, acting, or atmosphere of it (they may have also forgotten about the palm trees in the background, but I can’t say for sure because I was pretty sleepy-eyed while watching it). All that said I still enjoyed the movie quite a bit and will be watching it again once my little brother is home on leave -- along with all those Mystery Science Theater episodes -- because I’m sure he will get a huge kick out of it. Even better, I won’t tell him it is a huge rip-off of Halloween and instead will be like ‘yeah, a great horror movie that was lost for many years that everyone is now talking about, one that horror fans are just swooning over’. Oh yeah, the look on his face will be priceless, especially once the slightly altered theme from Halloween starts up.

So there you have it, my thoughts on the movie Offerings that I watched last night on Svengoolie, one of the only shows that is able to bring me back to the long lost days of my youth. Now, if only I had some Monster Vision episodes . . .


Planet of Terror said...

What channel is Svegoolie on?
Offerings was featured in the top slasher film's from the 80's in the recent issue of Horrorhound magazine. I'm sucker for slashers, even if its a Halloween ripoff.

Great review.

William Malmborg said...

You know, I think that Svengoolie may only be on in Chicago and a few other areas because the channel that produces it is a local channel, which is probably why I never could find it when living in St. Louis. I don't know for sure though. In Chicago it is Channel 6 WCIU.

I am a bit surprised that this movie is considered one of the top slashers from the 80s. Now, I’m not saying the movie is bad, because it was pretty entertaining, but most of that entertainment comes from the fact that the scenes are so obviously ripped off from Halloween that you can’t help but shake your head with enjoyment. Hell, they even used the classroom discussion on fate, though this time around it was while reading Shakespeare Hamlet.

I’m glad you liked the review. It is a fun movie to watch and I will surely be seeing it again.