The Legacy
THE WITCH AFFAIR
(COSA DE BRUJAS) 2003
Director: Jose Miguel Juarez

THE LEGACY
aka THE LEGACY OF MAGGIE WALSH. 1978
Director: Richard Marquand

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



The Witch Affair After setting off a car-bomb to kill his partner in The Witch Affair (Cosa de Brujas, 2003), Miguel (Jose Sancho) is "cursed" at his partner's funeral.

He is told by the titular bruja or sorceress that he will now begin to experience good luck, but at a price he will one day discover. Then for the next twenty years life goes well for him, then it comes time to pay the piper.

The plot while not actually complicated is told in such a convuluted style that the characters are at first diminished by becoming lost in the threads of the film's puzzle-edited format.

This clever-to-a-fault editing is not only hard to follow, but it makes it hard to care about these people. Yet very slowly they take on sufficient complexity that by the second-third of the film the people match the convolutions of plot.

As the interweavings & flashbacks continue to mount up, it begins to seem increasingly cartoony as it approaches the climax.

Eventually it all makes a vague sort of sense & is a somewhat satisfying film, except there is never any motivation for the old witch to have set things in motion, no comprehensible reason to wait twenty years after a crime before putting it all in motion. And then the oddball tacked-on happy ending turns out to be more appealing than the film in its entirety could ever be.



The Legacy Margaret (Katherine Ross) is an L.A. interior designer hired by a mysterious employer in England, in the horror film The Legacy; aka, The Legacy of Maggie Walsh (1978).

She & her significant other Pete (Sam Elliott) head out early to make a vacation journey of the business trip, before getting to the work. Under the opening credits, Kiki Dee sings the revolting tune "Another Side of Me" to suit the romantic mood of the young couple touring the English countryside on a motorcycle.

It's hard to get that song's saccharine aftertaste out of one's mouth. But fear not, the tune does not reflect the tale that's about to unfold.

Surviving a road accident without broken bones, their motorcycle is bunged up & they're stuck in the small village. But stunning coincidence! This is where they were supposed to end up anyway.

A Rolls Royce unexpectedly arrives to take them to the Ravenshurst Manor. Creepy members of the English upper crust are arriving for a gathering. Their bedridden host Jason Mountolive (John Standing) is terminally ill & refuses as yet to greet guests.

The dying Jason wishes his legacy passed on to the Six, of which Maggie appears to be one though she never knew about it. So her presence is not for interior decorating after all.

Alack, the Six are being picked off one by one, & Roger Daltrey (of The Who) as Clive the family's music tycoon gets a particularly hammy death scene. The plot in general is borrowed from Agatha Christie's And Then There Was One, but with supernaturalism heaped on.

All these "influential" people have less than prestine backgrounds, & do not come by their wealth & power by natural means. Maggie soon realizes they are a coven, & the Legacy in question is the power of Satan, which explains the hideous rottweilers courtesy of The Omen (1976).

You'd think with this knowledge the sweet American couple would do their best to get out of there. But man oh man does Maggie want the power! Pete's attempts to save his beloved are misguided, but he rises to heroic & destructive heights in his attempt to stop what Maggie is becoming.

The "surprise" ending is no surprise at all, the big reveal of Jason. The film in total is a chaotic stew of cliches. Lots of camera tricks & angles help to keep it from getting dull, & there's an almost-historic bit where Sam Elliott is shown in the buff but Katherine Ross never is, a reversal of the norm of the '70s when semi-seedy films would often have completely clothed men with stripped-down women. Anyone who likes '70s horror films will find this one a great example, but it's definitely a relic of its decade.
copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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