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Film Review: The Legacy (1978)

the-Legacy-bluray-movie SYNOPSIS:

A millionaire and a million-dollar prostitute, a star-maker and a nation-killer, a woman whose lusts are as cold as graveyard snow…Five of the most powerful people in the world, gathered in an ancient mansion to inherit a Legacy of bloodsome horror. And Maggie makes six.


Initially, I was intrigued by this 1978 film directed by Richard Marquand and starring Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott, two exceptional actors in their own right. The opening soundtrack came on with an unexpected pop-ish flavor, not something usaully expected from a horror movie.

Margaret Walsh (Katharine Ross) is offered a fifty thousand dollar interior design job in England and pleads with her boyfriend Pete Danner (Sam Elliott) to accompany her. Little does she know that she will be joined by five of the most powerful witchy people in the world?

After arriving, the two go for a motorcycle joyride to explore the English countryside. While rounding a turn they are accidently (or maybe it wasn’t) run off the road by a Rolls Royce and end up taking a spill in the wooded area off the road’s edge. The car stops and Jason Mountolive (John Standing) comes to their aid. Neither is harmed, but the bike is badly bruised and he insists that the two come to his home for tea while he has their bike repaired by a mechanic he knows in town. The two accept the offer and are in awe as they pull up to a massive home, probably better suited for royalty.

They are given a room by Nurse Adams, an odd, unable to place her actual motivation type of character, and both Margaret and Pete find it weird since they were only planning to have a cup of tea.

Soon after, the five show up as a helicopter drops them off on the front lawn. All seem rather normal, but also eccentric and quirky. Along with a couple of them are their dates, abet, uninvited ones much like Pete.

Before long, people begin eerily dying off. One, a competitive swimmer, drowns in an Olympic sized swimming pool when a sheet of glass below the waterline keeps the swimmer from surfacing. Yet another chokes to death on a chicken bone, but didn’t have the chicken for dinner.

Margaret is asked to accompany Nurse Adams alone to a meeting with the five in which Jason Mountolive intends to select one to pass on the secret legacy. Of course, Margaret is selected and he slides an oversized silver ring onto her finger indicating so.

That evening she tries desperately to remove the ring to no avail. Meanwhile, Pete has noticed the strangeness of the place too and they decided to leave. Attempts to physically stop them prove futile and the two jump in the unattended Rolls Royce to make their getaway. Road after county road they take, only to end up back where they began, in front of the home. Eventually, Margaret succumbs and gives in realizing that the two are never going to get away.

While it may not measure up to today’s standard of horror it offers an authentic creepiness that can only be defined by its 1970’s origins. It’s pace can get sluggish at times drawn down by a soundtrack that is often more cheerish than ominous, however maybe I’m just a fool for older era horror that simply seems to relish in its own creation. The Legacy was one of a hand full during that time that seemed to rise above more standard horror by latching onto a supernatural theme. The Legacy is also more appropriate to be labeled as a mystery-drama thriller than stick horror though its various death scenes seem to be enough to keep it in close company. Seeing an early Sam Elliott is worth the price of admission who is more known for his later film appearances. I did like the idea of the premise, but most would agree that it could be ramped up quite a bit to make things more compelling. If this film found its way to remake, It’s n to too hard to imagine the modern embellishments that would crank it up a notch. In the meantime don’t forget to pull out these old gems and appreciate them for what they are worth. It’s story telling, mood and location. “The Legacy” did in fact leave one with me.

The Legacy (1978) can be found on bluray per Shout Factory

Bonus Features

    • NEW HD Transfer From The Interpositive
    • NEW Interview With Academy Award Winning Film Editor Anne V. Coates (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA)
    • NEW Interview With Special Effects Artist Robin Grantham
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • TV Spot
    • Radio Spot
    • Photo Gallery

About Wee Willie Wicked

Wee WillieWith the seeds firmly planted in his mind by Pittsburgh's Chiller Theatre, Thomas Scopel found the weekly scares he desired. After obtaining a degree and working in the engineering field and constantly feeling the writing itch, he pursued it, becoming a correspondent at the Daytona Beach News Journal. This scratched the itch, but left only raised, bloody, horror aspirating welts on his flesh and he converted to horror fiction.

Since entering the macabre he has been published in various horror based publications and his alter ego, an evil clown named Wee Willie Wicked, was born. His tales include: The Pumpkin Patch, Lickety Split, While You Sleep, All the Creatures Were Stirring…Even the Mouse, The Eight Legs of Night, The Argument, A Cup of Sugar, The Horrors of Easter, Don't Forget the Fingers: A Guide to the Perfect Zombie Family Picnic, Welcome, The Christmas Help, and more.

He has written two novellas, Twitch and The Daily Death – How I Killed My Co-Workers In 30 Days, a collection of macabre fictional death tales.

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