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Tuesday, 04 January 2011 00:26 | Published in Pre Certification | Read 16573 times | More in this category: « The Pit The Deadly Spawn »
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The Legacy

  • Release Date: 01-06-81
  • Vipco Catalogue Number: VIP013
  • Director: Richard Marquand
  • Writers: Jimmy Sangster
  • Actors: Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott and Roger Daltrey
  • Storyline:
    Six beautiful people arrive for a weekend in the country. Six guests of the unseen host who lies wasting away upstairs...Five heirs to a mysterious Legacy watch the body of the sixth float to the side of the pool...Four claim the unspeakable power of the Legacy, while a red stain spreads across the ceiling...Three realize that the Legacy has come to claim THEM, while outside dogs dine on what was once a man...And then there are two

  • Country: USA
  • Language: English
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It is a birthright of living death...

You could be forgiven for expecting something special from the pen of Hammer icon Jimmy Sangster with The Legacy; after all, Sangster was responsible for DraculaThe Curse of FrankensteinThe Mummy and numerous other Hammer classics. Sure, The Legacy was far from being a disappointment, yet managed to fall short of the mark when compared to his earlier works. Filmed at Loseley House in Guildford, Surrey (The same place as Midsummer Murders) and directed by Richard Marquand, who went on to direct The Return of the Jedi and the Oscar nominated Jagged Edge. Conveying the essence of the ‘classic British ghost story’,The Legacy seems to have it all: The stately mansion, the creepy maid (albeit a Nurse in this case), a clowder of cats and a mysteriously deformed killer stalking each darkened corner!

The story follows The Stepford Wives’ star Katharine Ross as Margaret and her boyfriend Pete (played by ‘Road House’ stalwart Sam Elliott), whom are hired by an unknown client in the UK. Whilst there, the pair meet with Jason Mountolive (played by stage actor John Standing), an eccentric millionaire who invites them to his mansion following an unfortunate ‘accident’. Upon their arrival, our bewildered Hollywood stars meet five more guests; each of whom find themselves hand-picked as ‘potential’ inheritors of Mountolive’s bizarre “legacy”. Descending into a predictable melting pot of money-grubbing greed, our frenzied guests face an evening of murderous theatrics, as each falls victim to a mysterious presence, while Pete and Margaret become increasingly aware that their presence was far from coincidental…As if to provide Marquand’s film with some sort of historical significance, actor Sam Elliott is quoted as saying: “I wouldn’t rush out to see it. It’s about fifteen years behind its time.” Sadly The Legacy, perhaps a victim of being written by someone more suited to working within the constraints of the Hammer cycle, is somewhat derivative of so many other whodunit/haunted house films, yet still manages to squeeze a few unique elements that help set the film apart from the others.

Anyone familiar with Enzo G. Castellari’s Spaghetti Western ‘Keoma’, whose soundtrack distracted the viewer a little too much, will no doubt have similar difficulty here. Similarly, The Legacy whips up a terrible din, undoubtedly rendering it’s soundtrack (from the Yorkshire-born Kiki Dee) a pretty scarce item nowadays; at regular intervals Ms. Dee’s (who’s career peaked when she famously sang a duet with Elton John with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”) vocals can be heard, which grate on the soundtrack and have the effect of zapping every ounce of tension and suspense, making the overall viewing experience a decidedly poor one!

The year 2011 has already been pretty horrific for celebrity deaths; and as recently as 19 August, Jimmy Sangster had also passed away. Horror aficionados across the globe will forever remember the vast talent Sangster showed whilst working with Hammer. Perhaps it’s a fitting tribute that The Legacy, one of his later screenplays, is somewhat best remembered as a nostalgic effort, moreover being branded as a video nasty like other films from the Vipco stable.

Representing yet another stunning sleeve design from VIPCO, The Legacy benefited enormously from its stunning, eye-catching packaging. The artwork, used on both its sleeve and cinema poster, must have appealed to feline fans across the country! Unfortunately, this remarkable artwork was the best thing on offer here. Released in June 1981, just prior to VIPCO’s release of their controversial The Bogey Man – which was pinned to the UK’s growing list of “video nasties”, The Legacy represented yet another entry in VIPCO’s arsenal or horror, a genre that would soon define the company.

Written by Administrator Last modified on Saturday, 23 February 2013 17:14

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