Every once in a while, a movie like Manos or The Incredibly Strange Creatures comes along, and it’s just so repulsive and completely unappealing that it leaves a thick, black layer of sin and shame on your soul that can take days, maybe even years, to shake off. Yet, even amidst all that sheer celluloid evil, you’ll still often find a Torgo or a Madison to brighten your spirits and remind you that every dark raincloud filled with urine has a silver lining.
Still, what happens when there isn’t a silver lining? When no matter how deeply and desperately you claw and scrape at the filth and grime, you just can’t find any redemptive quality, any soul worth saving? What happens when there is no sweet, smiling Torgo in that dark, dark sky? Well, you get Legacy of Blood. Click ahead to read my long-delayed (sorry!) review of Cinematic Titanic’s fourth DVD release.
Good grief. There are some films that make you question whether the invention of cinema was worth it all. Legacy of Blood is an abysmal, dismal slasher flick about an incestuous family forced to stay in their abusive late father’s mansion, in order to collect their inheritance. Needless to say, there are gruesome murders, scenes of gross brother-sister innuendo, and the whole experience is nausea incarnate.
There is nothing redemptive about this movie. It was not well-written, it was not well-acted, and it was not well-directed. There are no likable characters. It is not interesting. It is not funny, intentionally or otherwise. There is nothing fascinating about it. It is pure, unfiltered sleaze and ineptitude. It’s an exercise in being gross, gratuitous, and thoroughly soulless. I would watch Manos, unriffed, five times in a row, rather than watch the unriffed version of Legacy once.
The only thing of any real interest is the ending, in which the maid, who is the last person left alive, turns to the camera, quips, winks, and is freeze-framed as circus music begins playing. The ending is the most ridiculous, creepy, nonsensical thing I think I’ve ever seen. After sitting through 90 minutes of dark, disturbing misery, the director chucks it all out the window, gives the audience the proverbial finger, and effectively says, “This isn’t a real movie! It’s all one big joke!” This is akin to Bob Saget suddenly narrating the final minutes of The Blair Witch Project in wacky voices, followed by a call for audience voting and a cut to a commercial break.
Essentially, Legacy of Blood is a movie that throws feces at your face for 90 minutes, then laughs at you for letting it throw feces at your face for 90 minutes. It is not just nausea incarnate, it is “fuck you” incarnate.
Phew. Okay. Now that I’ve gotten all the hate out of the way, it’s time to move on to greener pastures. Considering how wretched the movie is, the Cinematic Titanic crew’s comedic efforts are surprisingly effective. While the movie provides zero potential for enjoyment, their riffs manage to remain fairly solid throughout. If there’s anything lacking in this performance, the blame will generally have to fall at the feet of the movie itself. The fact that the Brains weren’t entirely swallowed up in Legacy‘s black hole of despair is a triumph in itself.
The shortcomings are reasonably minimal. The skits are thankfully limited to just two, with the first one being relatively short and not too out of place. There aren’t too many clunker riffs either, and the sheer ineptitude of the film makes for plenty of decent opportunities to strike, most of which are taken advantage of quite successfully. In fact, they really bring home a few zingers, some of which would feel right at home in the heyday of MST3K. (“It’s killer time.”)
One thing that has just got to stop though, is when the gang chants a riff in unison. This time around, I’m pretty sure it was the word “dickie.” (I can’t remember, and I’m sure as hell not subjecting myself to Legacy a fourth time.) It usually just comes off as too contrived, and the longer you keep a riff going, the odds are greater that it’s going to wear out its welcome, if it even has one in the first place. Beyond that, and the occasional cumbersome political statement, my complaints are few.
I’d just like to note that none of the screencaps I’ve used have been toned down at all. This movie really has next-to-no color in it. It really adds to the unpleasantness, of which there is plenty to go around. Also, all the men look like either slabs of ham or jerky. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
Igor straddles the borderline into Torgovania erratically, but he ultimately fails to be anything other than upsetting. One reason why is his back story. With Torgo, we don’t know where this awkward, half-man, half-goat creature came from, or why his knees are so deformed, and we don’t really need (or want) to know. Seeing Igor’s past as John Carradine’s mentally unstable whipping post/monkey-boy is just creepy and gross. Sure, his freak-outs are comical, but once they’re over, you remember who you’re dealing with, and so the wretching continues.
I have to say, none of the Brains are particularly “off” in this episode. Josh and Mary Jo seem to hold fairly steadily at “average” (which is not a bad thing for them) but Joel and especially Trace and Frank frequently hit the mark dead-center, this time around. Joel even manages to crack up Josh, near the end. (“Or is it?”)
Lastly, I have to commend the CT crew for managing to find humor even in dirty, filthy, murderous incest. Trace’s “I’m haunted by my dead father, I had conjugal relations with my sister, there’s a head in the fridge — Yeah, I’m fine! You?” and Frank’s “I think we need to see other siblings,” are just two great examples of taking an unpleasant subject and unpleasant people, and making it all bearable.
This is definitely a must-buy for any die-hard Cinematic Titanic or MST3K fan. It’s an excellent comeback, after the thoroughly lackluster Wasp Woman. The movie tends to drag the entire atmosphere down, but the riffs are solid and there’s just not a lot to complain about on the Cinematic Titanic side of things.