The Legacy (1978) | This British horror puts an Omen-esque spin on The Old Dark House classic

The Legacy_DVD

This 1978 British horror from Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand fuses that mystery staple, the old dark house – seen in many a classic, including James Whale’s 1932 whodunit and the long-running Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap – with the in-vogue satanic frighteners of the day like The Omen and Race With the Devil.

The Legacy (1978)

Stepford Wives heroine Katharine Ross and Mission: Impossible‘s Sam Elliott play an American couple who become reluctant guests at the English country mansion of a dying Satanist, who believes Ross to be the reincarnation of his mother and next in line to head his powerful cult. But standing in her way is a group of odd houseguests, who soon meet with spectacular deaths including drowning, burning, impaling and a botched tracheotomy.

The Legacy (1978)  The Legacy (1978)

The Legacy (1978)

The cast boasts some famous faces, including The Who’s Roger Daltrey, playing a music impresario – of course; Charles Gray (still my favourite Blofeld) as a weapons dealer; and West End actress Margaret Tyzack (who’d go on to play Bianca and Ricky’s gran in EastEnders) as a nurse who can turn herself into a cat.

With its themes of reincarnation, possession and telekinesis, The Legacy follows in the wake of other occult-themed films like The Omen and Suspiria. But while it’s no masterpiece, and didn’t catch the box-office alight – unlike Gray’s character, it’s still a stylish exercise in suspense with some decent special effects and another great score from Theatre of Blood composer Michael J Lewis.

legacy_5

Today you can visit the film’s location, Loseley Park in Surrey, as the house and gardens are open to the public all year round. But if you do, watch out for any suspicious-looking nurses lurking about.

The Legacy is available on DVD through Screenbound Pictures in the UK and gets its network premiere on The Horror Channel today (Saturday 16 April) at 10.50pm.

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About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on April 16, 2016, in British Film, Horror, Must See, Must-See and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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