“Burnt Offerings”/”The Warriors”/Book vs Film/What I am Reading

Happy Bloomsday, nerds.

Earlier this year, I read “Burnt Offerings”, a book which was the basis for the 1976 film staring Karen Black and Oliver Reed. That movie scared the living shit out of me as a child; particularly a sequence with a hearse and its driver, who’s rictus grin is burned not only into my mind, but apparently the minds of a lot of people on the internet. I was struck by how rigidly the script of the film stuck to the book. There’s a bit more in the way of introduction; we learn a little of the family’s backstory, but once they arrive at the house where the majority of the action takes place, it’s mostly the same. 

Honestly, I didn’t know it was a book at all. 

I also wasn’t aware that “The Warrirors” which is based off a novel by Sol Yurick, which in turn is based off the Ancient Greek tale “Anabasis” by Xenophon. Rewatching it recently, I see the novel is actually mentioned in the opening credits, but it’s not something that registered with me, for whatever reason.

The directors cut of “The Warriors” directly references “Anabasis”, in a spoken-word prologue. I actually prefer the theatrical cut to the director’s cut, mostly out of familiarity, I suspect. The director’s cut, however, only makes a few minor changes (something like a minute of extra footage, slightly different editing, and the addition of comic-book style ‘panels’ for certain scene changes).

I’m not all that far in to the novel, but already there are a ton of differences. The central gang, for example, is not named “The Warriors”, but rather “The Coney Island Dominators”. None of The Dominators share a name with any of the film version of their gang, from what I can tell. There’s a lot more detail about the various structures of the gangs, and how and why they operate.

There’s some territory for me to explore here; I have a great deal of affection for the film. But it’s an incredibly visual thing; the fights, the rival gangs, the endless sequences of trains, there’s nothing else quite like it. The book appears to be focused on something else, but I’m not deep enough into it yet.

What I’m Reading:

“The Warriors”— see above

“Fight Like Hell”— about halfway through Kim Kelly’s history of various labor unions. Still a good and interesting read.

“TheMystery.doc”— it may be time to admit this is not something I’m going to get through at the moment. It probably needs to be something I read on a dedicated basis, not with other books. Maybe when I finish “Fight Like Hell”. 

This blog has begun to affect my reading habits, in that I am thinking about reading interesting things ‘for the blog’ instead of making random connections between things. We will see if that’s for better or worse. 

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