Thursday, June 7, 2018

British Cousin of Suspiria

Legacy (1978) - Marquand
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British director Richard Marquand's Legacy resembles Argento's Suspiria in more ways than one. But it's terribly British, meaning, instead of popping colors and macabre violence, it's overstuffed and subdued. But it's still a fun ride. Legacy concerns an American couple Maggie and Pete (Katharine Ross and Sam Elliot) on business in London. They are architects (please pronounce it in Sam Elliot's drawl- ai-chi-te-ackts) from LA.

A near accident while on the country road trip on their Triumph motorcycle send the couple into a country mansion as (un)invited guests by a rapidly dying millionaire, Mountlive (John Standing). The other 5 guests and non emotive servants exchange knowing glances but not too fast on divulging any helpful information.

Weird things are happening in the mansion and some unseen force wouldn't let the couple leave. The guests die off one by one in mysterious circumstances. Then Maggie finds news clippings of deaths that the other guests are involved in, that their deaths in the mansion are some kind of karmic reprisals. It is clear that Maggie is meant to be there and wear that skull ring that all the other guests are wearing. Is this some kind of Satanic cult? Is rapidly disintegrating Mountlive (resembling David Lynch's monstrous grandma and the witch in Suspiria), trying to pass the satanic power on to the unsuspecting American?

The deaths are pretty spectacular - many very similar to ones in Suspiria although not as over the top. I wonder if it was at all influenced by the Italian maestro's, which came out a year before. Marquand went on to direct memorable Donald Sutherland classic thriller Eye of the Needle, then Return of the Jedi. Not bad.

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