Friday, August 12, 2011

OFFERINGS (1989) - if she won't love you, don't ripoff Halloween...move on with your life

It’s nothing special to say that a slasher movie rips-off Halloween, but it’s really the approach behind it that matters most. It’s one thing to adopt a form, and quite another to try and get your movie career going by appropriating a film almost scene for scene, with a couple of story accoutrements thrown in to keep the lawyers off your ass. On second thought, the makers of Offerings ripoff the score for Halloween to surely illegal levels, with the occasional A Nightmare on Elm Street thievery sprinkled in. I guess they figured no one would be watching. Good call boys.

The story begins with a morose bastard of a boy, wearing a sad, hopeless half mullet. A cute blonde girl wants to hang out with him, and his smoking hag of a mother actually gives him the go ahead. As he is a total loser, he chooses to play checkers with her (getting his ass crushed) rather than take her underneath the bleachers to make out. Being that the movie is shot in the mean streets of Oklahoma, a group of ruffian tykes on bikes show up to cause problems for others. They make the boy walk around a well, and one of the evil schmucks suddenly frightens him, causing him to fall in.

Ten years later, we learn what has become of poor Johnny. He suffered a severe blow to the head after falling down the well, and this has, as expected, turned him into a cannibal mongoloid. After the initial accident, he immediately killed and ate his own mother; the shock of feasting on a wretched old hag forcing him into a comatose state. He eventually wakes up, escaping from the hospital after killing a nurse, and so begins his Myers’ influenced rampage of cinematic appropriation.

Instead of Donald Pleasance, we have a fat sheriff who learns of Johnny’s escape and the possibility that he may return to their town. He jumps into action (maybe “waddles into action” would be more appropriate), informing a local professor about the psycho and then heading off to feed geese. The blonde girl, all grown up and smoking (well, for late 80’s Oklahoma), gets simultaneous calls from the killer and her inexplicable valley girl friend. This scene is exactly the same as the one in Halloween, except for the Van Halen poster on the friend’s bedroom wall. I guess Valley girls can’t get enough of Diamond Dave, no matter what state they live in.

Johnny later digs up his mother’s grave, and breaks the headstone instead of stealing it (I guess it would be crazy to lug that shit around town like Myers did). Apart from subtle variations like this, the main difference between Offerings and that other movie is that after the mongoloid offs somebody, he leaves a body part for the blonde girl. These titular “offerings” (like a finger or an ear) are the killer’s way of showing his love, where as Jamie Lee Curtis was Michael Myer’s sister, so he probably figured boning her was out of the question. Some of the murders are also a bit more inventive, like when the killer stands on a dude’s roof and lynches him when he pokes his head out of the window. This means you might have to sit on the roof with noose in hand for a couple of hours, waiting for the dude to pop his head out. That's dedication.

As you might imagine, the two girls get together with their boyfriends and have a sleepover, where they watch what looks to be a pretty shitty horror movie (it was filmed as cut away fodder for a no-budget regional slasher, so I’m guessing it probably bites the big one). They comment on stupid moves made by characters in horror movies, a full seven years before Scream. When the pizza arrives, mysteriously left on their doorstep, they fail to notice that the killer has placed human body parts on it. The sheriff comes by to investigate the mysterious pizza, as well as a human ear that was left as a gift, but just tells the girls to go back to sleep. Apparently, someone will eventually examine the evidence, you know, if they get around to it and shit.

The ending is again the same as Halloween, but with a very slight twist. The blonde shoots Johnny several times to no effect (falling head first into a well apparently makes you invincible) before the sheriff shows up to save the day, despite his piss poor handling of the case up to this point. He lays some buckshot into the mongoloid, which finally does the trick. Johnny, in his death throes, bellows out “loooooooove!”, before shedding a tear and dropping stone ass dead. This is probably one of those pathos deals.

The ending reminds me of that Kids in the Hall sketch where Mark is in his backyard, cooking the greatest steak the world (well, Canada) has ever seen. Bruce runs in and gives him a hug, yelling out “Love me!!! Love me!!!”, before running away. Mark quixotically asks the audience “I wonder what he wanted?” In the case of Offerings, Mark would be the audience, Bruce is the subtext of the film (that of the monster that feels), and Bruce is trying to force the subtext onto Mark by squeezing him and yelling. Of course I’m paraphrasing.


  1. "Myers’ influenced rampage of cinematic appropriation." Ha! Good stuff, my friend, good stuff indeed.

  2. @John
    Just pointing out the obvious my good man. ;)

  3. I've only seen parts of this movie, but if the ending will remind me one of my favorite Kids in the Hall sketches then I'm definitely in for watching it in its entirety. Great post and I love the title!