The Legacy (1978): It Played Better When I Was Twelve

I own this movie on DVD, mainly out of childhood nostalgia. Having first watched it on HBO at my mom’s house on a weekend sometime in 1981, I was impressed at how creepy and, at times, scary it was. Fond memories.

Flash-forward to the early 2000s, when The Legacy was released on DVD. Not having seen the film for close to 20 years, I rented it from Netflix and…was severely underwhelmed.

The music by Michael J. Lewis was oddly not very creepy at all, not as I’d remembered the movie being, anyway.

There was a seemingly endless sequence in the film involving Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott attempting to escape the Satanic estate only to be repeatedly directed, by supernatural forces of some kind, right back to the Satanic estate. It was during my adult irritation with this part of the film when I realized that, as a kid, I’d given the movie a hell of a lot more credit than it was due.

There are some interesting death scenes (clearly inspired by The Omen)…

…along with some impressive stuntwork during the film’s finale, but, overall, it just wasn’t that spooky or intense. The film boasts a solid cast, a compelling premise, along with a visually arresting setting, but in support of a decidedly lackluster script (too many cooks in the screenwriting kitchen, from what I’ve read about the film’s production).

Two years after the picture’s release, co-star Sam Elliott told Jerry Buck of the Associated Press:

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