Monday, October 29, 2012

Dark Heritage(1989)


Variation on HP Lovecraft is a neat little film. It plays very much like a Lovecraft story with a great deal of talk and only a little bit of the monsters.

After thirty odd people are found mutilated in a campground an investigative reporter goes to the deserted mansion of the Dansen clan with two other people.Legend says the house has been empty for years and that weird things go on in and around the house, which might be connected to the killings. When in the middle of the night strange noises are heard and the two others go missing the reporter has some tough explaining to do. Put on leave he continues to investigate and begins to uncover the real story behind the killings.

Never having heard of this film I picked it up at the local dollar store for a buck. I had no hopes for the film since most of the stuff I get is beyond awful. When the film actually started I was struck by how the film seemed to be from the late 1970's or early 1980's, it had the unmistakable feel of a low budget drive in movie, even though it was made ten years after the final glory days of the drive-ins.

The tale is clich├ęd Lovecraft with some one investigating a "horror" of some sort only to find something even more terrifying. While not uniformly scary, there are moments that are rather tense and creepy. I liked that the filmmakers didn't feel the need to show us the monsters until the end, and didn't over play their hands with shots of their faces. And while its not perfect I like that the film tries, and mostly succeeds to set a mood.

Is it perfect? Oh please no. The monsters aren't really scary once we get a good look at them, the twist ending isn't surprising, the film makes the classic Lovecraft adaption mistake of being about 20 minutes too long, and there are a couple of "what the...?" moments, however for the most part it overcomes its limitations and is a very good little thriller.

Recommended for those who miss the low budget drive in films of the 1970's

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