Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Blood Legacy (1971)

Also known as Legacy of Blood and Will to Die, this lifeless shocker shamelessly recycles the basic premise of the 1922 play The Cat and the Canary, which was legitimately adapted for the screen several times, spanning 1927 to 1979. Alas, the durable narrative is rendered here to desultory effect. As in The Cat and the Canary, the storyline involves several heirs to a fortune being forced to spend time together in a house, where rules of succession motivate them to murder each other in order to seize more cash. There’s also some nonsense about a killer on the loose (as in The Cat in the Canary), although the viewer never doubts that one of the principal characters will be revealed as the true culprit. Presented somewhat in the mode of a soap opera, with lots of talky bits during which relatives complain about and/or scheme against each other, Blood Legacy takes forever to get started. The character played by horror-cinema icon John Carradine, the only name actor in the cast, is dead before the opening credits, and 25 minutes of this very short 82-minute feature elapse before the first kill. Beyond the illogical narrative and the leaden pacing, the movie’s acting and dialogue exist on an Ed Wood level of awfulness. One character laments that, “Instead of loving her, dear old dad turned on the hate machine.” Another says, “You may have married into a screwball family, but this guy’s got all his marbles.” Occasionally, director Carl Monson tries to spruce up the movie with a gory shot of a corpse or a violent attack scene, but the special effects are as anemic as every other aspect of the production. Even Monson’s meager attempts at titillation fail to generate excitement—although attractive starlet Brooke Mills spends most of the movie wearing a low-cut negligee, she mostly just lays in bed and whines. Worse, costars Richard Davalos and Buck Kartalian give comically atrocious performances. FYI, this picture is not to be confused with the 1978 release Legacy of Blood, helmed by trash-cinema icon Andy Milligan.

Blood Legacy: SQUARE

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