Plot: As a child, young John was tormented by cruel classmates and bullies, not to mention his own sadistic mother, who reveled in unleashing verbal and emotional abuse on her own son. But in the midst of all of the torment, he was able to find a friend in Gretchen, a kind girl who refused to mistreat him. He was eventually bullied into a situation where he fell down a well, injured himself greatly, and was taken to a mental institution. Years later, Gretchen (Loretta Leigh Bowman) is a college student with a decent life, some good friends, and even a love interest, but all that is threatened when John escapes from the asylum. Soon strange things unfold around Gretchen, such as when she finds an ear outside her house, a sausage pizza seems to have odd ingredients, and a looming sense of dread begins to build. Will John be able to exact his revenge all these years later and how will Gretchen factor into his murderous plans, since she is surrounded by those he wants to kill?
Entertainment Value: A pizza with mysterious sausage, a random nose on the floor, and a deep love for Halloween can all be found in Offerings, a late 80s slasher that is on the formulaic side, but has some fun moments. I mean, you have to like a madman who leaves his dream girl gifts like an ear and a nose, right? That’s one thing Offerings has that helps it stand out in a crowded genre, as the killer isn’t some ice cold maniac, but a more sympathetic character. He is a murderer capable of horrific acts, but he is driven by mental illness, not some insatiable blood lust. This is emphasized in several ways, not the least of which is his mother reminding him of his father’s mental instability, so the warped mind must run in the family. The tone seems like it want to be serious at times, as evidenced by the frequent homages to Halloween, but a number of scenes also have an absurd texture. I think it leans more toward the campy side, intentional or not, but to me that isn’t a bad thing in the least. I do wish the pace was peppier and the kills were more creative or visceral, but the wooden performances are a lot of fun, as is the often ludicrous dialogue. So if you appreciate slasher cinema with a camp slant, Offerings is recommended.
No nakedness. This one is light on sleaze, but given that random body parts and creepy pizzas are being delivered to the females, it kind of makes sense. I mean, you might not feel in the mood after discovering a nose on your floor, right? The movie has some bursts of bloodshed, but it never overly graphic or over the top. I love that the killer leaves the small body parts as a tribute to Gretchen however, as an ear or nose just laying around is an odd touch. I especially like the girls’ reactions, as they pick up the ear to confirm it is indeed an ear, as if it would be anything else. The kills are mostly routine and have a little splash of crimson here and there, but while the body count is decent, there’s not much gore thrown around. Some blade work, gunshots, a lynching, and even a head in a vice though, so some fun stuff regardless of blood volume. The dialogue is fun here, thanks to some strange lines and of course, the stilted performances. A killer is on the loose, but no one seems overly concerned based on their moods, which range from oblivious to ridiculous. The lead girls tend to have the best moments, but some fun lines are sprinkled throughout here. The craziness scale benefits from the odd dialogue and wooden performances, but perhaps the most memorable element here is the film’s often slavish devotion to Halloween. The movie borrows and outright steals, which is not unusual for the slasher genre, but Offerings is obsessed with Halloween and that crush is always obvious here.
Overall Insanity: 4/10
The Disc: 88 Films delivers a new restoration here, sourced from a new 2k scan of the original negative. The image looks great, with a super clean appearance, but it also retains the inherent texture of the source. So this never looks overly scrubbed, but detail is rock solid while colors and contrast are also on the mark. Fans of the movie should be more than satisfied with this presentation. A little light on the extras, with just a trailer and an audio commentary track from a horror podcast team, but the movie looks and sounds great, which is the real draw.