The Legacy (1978)

legacyI’ve seen enough movies to know that if you receive a sizable sum from a bank account with the numbers “666,” Something Is Up. In The Legacy, an interior-design team gets such a deposit to the tune of $50,000 — an advance payment for a project whose particulars go undisclosed, beyond that a trip to England is required. Something Is Up.

After arriving in the UK, Margaret (Katharine Ross, The Graduate) and her partner/lover, Pete (Sam Elliott, Hulk), are involved in a motorcycle accident and taken to a remote countryside estate for a cup of tea and cleanup. The kind gesture threatens to turn into an eternity when Margaret and Pete find their every effort to leave the premises quashed, as if a conspiracy prevents an exit. Plus, a nun lives there. Something Is Up.

legacy1Worse, the other guests — The Who’s Roger Daltrey among them — start to die horrific deaths, and their host is some sort of bedridden demon with claw-like hands in need of a manicure and serious moisturizing. Something Is Up. While that may not be an individual viewer’s pulse, The Legacy nonetheless boasts several creative kill sequences, courtesy of director Richard Marquand (Return of the Jedi) and co-scripter Jimmy Sangster, who specialized in penning the type of Hammer Films product (i.e. Fear in the Night) this modern-day Gothic exercise emulates, more successfully than not.

Produced at the wane of the 1970s’ satanic-panic subgenre in horror (see: The Omen, The Sentinel, Race with the Devil and so on), The Legacy is good enough to deserve not being forgotten. One cannot say the same for the sore-thumb ballad serving as the film’s theme song, warbled with MOR saccharine by Kiki Dee. What Was Up? —Rod Lott

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