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The Legacy (Blu-ray Review)

LegacyHow far would you go to inherit everlasting life? It is a birthright of the living death…Scream Factory proudly presents the Blu-ray debut of The Legacy on September 15, 2015. This release comes complete with a new HD transfer and bonus features, including new interviews with film editor Anne V. Coates and special effects artist Robin Grantham.  This release marks the second Scream Factory title to feature Sam Eliott in this calendar year.  The other one being Frogs which was double featured with Food of the Gods earlier in the summer.  This title was once slated to be released in the month of August, but was delayed just slightly to be put on the September release roster.

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Film 

When Margaret and her boyfriend Pete have a car accident in the English countryside, the other driver offers to take them to his lavish country estate to make amends. But once there, they are surprised to learn that all of the other houseguests are already expecting them! It’s not long before the couple’s fear turns into terror when the guests begin dying in unspeakable ways. Now it’s clear, the true master of the house is a supernatural force that will stop at nothing to find the rightful heirs for an unimaginably horrible legacy.

I actually found this to be a pleasant 70s supernatural horror mystery.  This is around the time of the Amityville and Omen type thrillers and it feels right in league with them.  The set up of this one is based around some form of witchcraft.  Storytelling goes by a very Agatha Christie method, in which we have an And Then There Were None/Ten Little Indians style of off’ings.  Line ’em up and knock them down.

Pacing is really one of the true major qualms with the movie.  I think it works throughout quite well, but there is a spot or two where the film really does drag and brings in some disinterest.  Its a film that often times feels like its not giving you enough information and having you wonder if you may have missed something (You didn’t).  But, not in a confident intentional fashion.  Luckily, the final 20 minutes or so of this movie are quite a doozy and are very rewarding for sticking with what is overall a pretty solid movie leading up to that point.

Assembled here is an interesting cast, director and editor.  Richard Marquand helms the film, and just a few years later he would helm the closing chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi.  Anne V Coates is a legendary veteran editor (Recently lending her talents to Fifty Shades of Gray).  Our leads in the film are Sam Elliott and The Graduate’s Katharine Ross.  I’m not sure if they met on this film or not, but the couple would be married a few years later and are still wed to this day.  Both give fine performances and you can’t not help but love Sam Elliott with that signature mustache and a full head of flowing 70s hair.  Bond fans may delight in seeing one time Blofeld Charles Gray in a supporting turn.

All in all, this is a pretty solid horror film.  It features some slow burn, jumps and some cool gore and make up effects.  I almost forgot to mention that Roger Daltrey shows up here and he’s a decent hoot.  If you’re into 70s horror films, this is definitely one to check out or revisit.  While it did drag in some spots, I still found myself enjoying it overall.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  For the most part this is a very nice image, taking a more natural approach to things and spewing out more than enough detail.  However, some tracking shots in the forest and the like seemed a little problematic with some blocking and compression issues early on.  Its not horrible, but it is noticeable.  Interiors of the mansion look tremendous and the gore and makeup effects come through plenty marvelously to make up for it.

Depth:  Depth is decent to average.  Some of the outdoor scenes can hang a little on the flat side at times.  Movement looks nice and cinematic.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid.  Some detail is hidden at times when regarding darker clothing or hair color.  But, then again, sometimes that impressive mustache of Sam Elliott’s reveals plenty of follicles.

Color Reproduction: Colors are a bit natural and have that sort of 70s faded look to them.  Blood does stick out pretty good.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and keep a consistent tone throughout.  Detail is actually very impressive on facial features in close ups.  Freckles, wrinkles, scars and make up are all discernible.

Noise/Artifacts:  Grain, specs/dirt along with some minor blocking issues.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Its a film that doesn’t demand much and bases on conversation and music.  To that degree, this track does quite well.  Sound effects do sound well captured and as intended.  The mix has a nice degree of clarity with a spot of analog flavor to give a genuine feel and experience to the film.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clean.  At some points a little analog-sourced sounding, but its to be expected.

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Extras 

The Legacy comes with a reversible cover featuring an alternate poster design.

Interview With Editor Anne V. Coates (HD, 13:47) – This is a fantastic interview in which she talks about her childhood dreams of being “horsey” and wanting to do something with racing.  But she also talks her career as if she’s some average joe (She edited Lawrence of Arabia for starters).  She then discusses her relationship with the film’s stars and then talks about her son and his career after being prompted by the interviewer.

Interview With Special Make-Up Effects Artist Robin Grantham (HD, 10:46) – He goes over what he did for each death and other events in the film.

TV Spot (HD, :32)

Radio Spot (HD, :29) 

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:43) 

Photo Gallery (HD, 2:32) – A montage of promotional stills, headshots, lobby cards and posters.

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Summary 

It’s no Collector’s Edition, but The Legacy could hold its own with some of them.  The film holds up decently for those horror films who like some slow-burn supernatural flare to their spooks.  It looks and sounds quite good.  I almost think the interview with editor Anne V. Coates is reason enough to purchase this Blu-ray, but I’m weird like that sometimes.  Definitely pick this one up if you’re curious.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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