Scream Factory continues their excavation of forgotten horror artifacts with their Blu-ray release of "The Legacy." I wish I could report that another piece of gold was discovered, but movie-wise it turns out to be iron pyrite. Aside from the company's usual compilation of great special features, we get a badly paced film that blends together elements of different genres and sub-genres such as gothic horror, haunted house horror, occult thriller, crime mystery, and romantic dramas but still won't hold your attention.
In "The Legacy," Margaret (Katharine Ross) and her boyfriend Pete (Sam Elliot) have a car accident in the English countryside. The other driver offers to take them to his lavish country estate to make amends. But once there, they are surprised to learn that all of the other houseguests are already expecting them! It's not long before the couple's fear turns into terror when the guests (including Roger Daltrey) begin dying in unspeakable ways. Now it's clear, the true master of the house is a supernatural force that will stop at nothing to find the rightful heirs for an unimaginably horrible legacy.
Well-intentioned actors fully embracing their roles and great sets almost make "The Legacy" worth a look. The special effects and makeup work aren't too bad either. The movie has all the right ingredients; they just weren't put in the mixing bowl in the right order.
I was shocked to see that two veteran filmmakers had a hand in the creation of "The Legacy." Acclaimed director Richard Marquand helmed the film and Jimmy Sangster co-wrote the screenplay. Marquand is known for his magnificent directing of "Return of the Jedi" and "Eye of the Needle." Sangster directed and wrote several of the classic Hammer horror films of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. I would've expected more from a movie headed up by these two gentlemen.
I did find it rather disturbing that the movie shows evil living happily ever after (if even just for an extended period) as the credits roll. It's not really a lesson or warning against playing with the forces of darkness, so what exactly was this movie trying to say? I guess the writers could have been stating that if you use evil means to gain happiness and riches then you'll be content for a while. However in the end, you'll get what's coming to you.
Although I found “The Legacy” to be somewhat of a chore to get through, it’s obvious there are fans of the film. Scream Factory once again does everything in their power to meet the needs of those enthusiasts. The Blu-ray includes a new high-definition transfer for starters. Bonus material includes new interviews with Special Effects Artist Robin Grantham and Academy Award Winning Film Editor Anne V. Coates. A theatrical trailer, TV spot, radio spot, and photo gallery round out the extras.
“The Legacy” is rated R for violence and gore, profanity, nudity, alcohol, smoking, and frightening and intense scenes. The only nudity is a shot of Sam Elliot’s rear-end as he gets into the shower. Many of the death scenes are rather brutal with a good amount of blood and gruesomeness. I love a good 1970's Satanic Panic film just as much as the next horror fan. Unfortunately, "The Legacy" isn't one. It's plodding stride fails to keep a viewer's attention long enough for them to become immersed in the film. That's not to say there aren't some entertainingly gory and disturbing moments in the movie. They're just few and far between and mixed in with a lot of other rather bland sequences you must suffer through to get to them.
"The Legacy" is available now on Blu-ray.