**½/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras B
starring Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, Roger Daltrey, John Standing
screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, Patrick Tilley and Paul Wheeler from a story by Sangster
directed by Richard Marquand
by Bryant Frazer One in a spate of post-The Exorcist, post-Rosemary's Baby potboilers about ordinary people confronting ancient evil in the modern world, The Legacy has an enduring reputation as a big slice of horror cheese and not much else. Certainly, it's derivative--just another old-dark-house yarn set in the English countryside, spiced up in '70s fashion with a sinister, Satanic backstory that never quite clicks together. It's one of the last horror movies to come out in the handsomely-mounted classic style favoured by Hammer before contemporary slashers and body-horror changed the game completely in the 1980s, but what it lacks in originality and coherence it makes up for in comfy genre atmosphere. Co-scriptor Jimmy Sangster was one of the top dogs at Hammer Film Productions (his writing credits include Horror of Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein) and Welsh director Richard Marquand was a BBC documentarian making his fiction debut (he would go on to direct Return of the Jedi). That's not a world-beating combination, but if you like your occult thrillers played straight, The Legacy's workmanlike style is an asset.