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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.


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.

The Fury (1978) | Brian De Palma’s underrated telekinetic thriller deserves a revisit

The Fury

Former intelligence operative Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) goes in search of his telepathic son Robin (Andrew Stevens) after he is kidnapped by former colleague Ben Childress (John Cassavetes), who wants to use the boy’s powers as a weapon. To aid in his search, Peter locates another teenager, Gillian (Amy Irving), who has a telepathic link to the boy. But freeing her from the research clinic where she is being held turns into a deadly game of survival…

Kirk Douglas in The Fury

Although 1978’s The Fury didn’t take the box-office by storm like director Brian De Palma‘s other telekinetic terror, Carrie, did two years earlier, this conspiracy thriller is still a first-rate exercise is suspense, action and clever camera and editing technique. You’ve also got Hollywood heavyweight Kirk Douglas as the gung-ho shirtless hero (he looks amazingly fit at 61) and John Cassavetes (of Rosemary’s Baby fame) as the one-armed villain playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with each other; two attractive teens in the guise of Amy Irving (aka Carrie‘s Sue Snell) and future Dallas star Andrew Stevens, and the excellent Fiona Lewis, (who also appeared in Robert Fuest’s The Final Programme and Dr Phibes Rises Again) giving a very bloody turn as a seductive scientist. Featuring a stirring score from composer John Williams (listen to it here) and De Palma’s clever cinematic flourishes (including a stand-out slow motion scene and Childress’s explosive comeuppance), The Fury sounds and looks brilliant in this newly-restored print and is so deserving of critical reappraisal and so worth a revisit.

Andrew Stevens in The Fury

Fiona Lewis in The Fury

John Cassevetes in The Fury

Arrow Video‘s 35th-anniversary edition comes with a selection of new special features and bonus material (listed below), as well as an in-depth collector’s booklet. The Blu-ray transfer, meanwhile, looks superb – although some of the night-time scenes, like the car chase through the Chicago street, have some quite noticeable grain.

Blood on the Lens – A engaging interview with cinematographer Richard H Kline.
Spinning Tales – A rare interview with actress Fiona Lewis (who has almost lost her British accent).
The Fury, A Location Journal – A hugely enjoyable interview with former intern Sam Irvin who is best known today for directing such camp fare as Dante’s Cove and Elvira’s Haunted Hills.
• Archive interviews from the 1978 promotional tour, featuring Brian De Palma, producer Frank Yablans and stars Carrie Snodgress and Amy Irving.
Double Negative – Short film tribute to Brian De Palma by Sam Irvin, starring The Phantom of the Paradise‘s William Finley.
• Gallery of behind-the-scenes production images.

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