It’s All Connected: The Legacy (1978)

I fully intended to have this final It’s All Connected post for 2020 ready to roll last week, but then 2020 kept on 2020ing, so I got a little (completely) distracted. Anyway, here we are, after two months of watching, I made it through 33 feature films! I might still go through and do a By The Numbers post mortem kind of thing on the movies I made my way through getting from Swamp Thing to The Legacy, but that’ll be a post for another day.

At this point you might be wondering something very plain and simple: you spent all this time connecting one movie to the other and ended with a 1978 Richard Marquand flick starring Sam Elliott, Katharine Ross and The Who’s Roger Daltrey that you’ve already written about? But why? And the answer is simple: it just worked out that way. As I mentioned, I had the idea to watch Frogs pretty early on. My original plans would have taken me from that Sam Elliott horror flick to the only other one I know about: The Legacy. I had fond enough memories of that one and even after I added Food Of The Gods, I wanted that dose of supernatural Elliott in my life. And that’s why I watched seven other movies. By the time I got to The Legacy, I’d honestly gotten tired of the grind and also wasn’t seeing much in the filmographies of those people that excited me further, so it seemed like a great place to close the book…for now.

Okay, so what the heck is The Legacy (you’re asking a LOT of questions today, you scamp). An interior designer, Maggie (Ross), gets a call about a job in England that she wants to take, but her boyfriend and business partner Pete (Elliott) isn’t so sure. They head over anyway and, while sightseeing, run into (almost literally) a fancy British chap by the name of Jason Mountolive (John Standing) who invites them to come clean up at his enormous manor house. The quick lunch turns into an overnight and that’s when the others start showing up.

It seems that Mr. Mountolive — who everyone else seems to think is deathly ill — invited some pals to hang including Roger Daltrey who plays a big deal record producer. In fact, it turns out that all of these visitors are pretty big wheels at their respective cracker factories, including the one played by Charles Gray of Rocky Horror fame. But it’s not just the guests, creepy nurse nun and the staff who are odd, but some of the goings-on. Pete gets stuck in a shower with scalding water and one of the women drowns in the pool, even though she’s an Olympic level swimmer. Something is clearly amiss and, eventually, Maggie and Pete decide to get outta dodge…if they can.

I think if you’re looking for a cool, creepy movie with an in-depth story and solid performances, you should watch The Legacy. It’s hard to describe without spoiling much, so let’s consider this SPOILER territory. We learn that Jason is the head of a kind of cult where the head wears a necklace and the six below them have a ring. If you stay in good standing, you receive untold wealth and power. When you’re about to die, though, you need to pass the necklace on to someone else. Jason chose Maggie because she’s the spitting image of Jason’s mom who got him involved in those whole Satanic pyramid scheme (I think).

(Still SPOILERY) Ross does such a great job of layering her performance throughout the film, but especially once things start getting really weird. There’s a great sequence towards the end where she and Sam (who got married after this movie and are still together!) run around like crazy in this small British town and finally get to a car, only to find themselves driving on an endless loop back to the house. This was the only part of the film that I really remembered from my first viewing and it held up. From there, she’s resigned to find out what the heck’s going on, but there’s a lot of information that comes fast and furious, so it’s a bit hard to keep up. To me, that makes The Legacy a great movie to re-watch, something I can now do because I bought a DVD set with it, The Sentinel and Sssssss (which I now own in two different sets!).

Okay, back to spoiler free town! Above I mentioned how great Ross is, but my dude Sam also came to play. I fully believed the shower bit and he continues to do his excellent regular-guy-reacting-to-craziness thing so well. Actually, that reminds me of another major note I had on this film and it being my final It’s All Connected entry: it’s got a lot of thematic connections to the other films. Like Frogs, it’s got Elliott’s working class hero coming into contact with wild shenanigans, which started because of a vehicle-related accident. It also captures some of the weirdness of Necromancy and the big mansion spookiness of House Of The Long Shadows and even The House That Dripped Blood. There’s even some Satanic Rites Of Dracula stuff in there! I’m sure there’s plenty more — oh, one of the spooky things that happens (mentioned in the spoiler graphs) also shows up in Escapes! — but it’s hard keeping 33 movies in your head! As it happened, the plot to this movie is also very similar to the only movie I watched on Halloween: The Haunted Mansion!

Well, there you have it. I might not have planned to finish out this wacky project with The Legacy, but it feels appropriate to have ended with a film that can both feel super unique and fun on its own while also making remembering so many other great horror movies! For the rest of the year, I’m planning on focusing on some of my favorite shows, movies, records and books. I’d love to write about some of the key pieces of art in my life that I haven’t gone in-depth on here, but I’m also planning on dipping into some new (or new-to-me) experiences from some of my favorite artists. Should be fun!

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