Dark Heritage (1989) Poster

(1989)

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10/10
Awful acting, but has redeeming qualities
Vampenguin30 March 2006
Though this is not a good film by any stretch of the imagination, it's been one of my favourites ever since I saw it about a year ago. The script is laughably bad, and the actors only make it worse. The lead actor, Mark LaCour, played one of the stupidest leading males I've ever seen in a horror movie: No matter what anyone said, his response of choice was "So, what does that have to do with us?". After awhile, you can almost predict what's going to come out of his mouth. As bad as the script and actors are however, this film does have some redeeming qualities. The silent, sepia-toned dream sequence about half-way through the film is actually very creepy and well done. In fact, I think the entire film would have been better if it was done like this scene. Though it usually seems that he's not sure how to work a camera, director David McCormick does know how to create atmosphere. The tunnel scene was very well done, claustrophobic and almost creepy. The ending was beyond obvious, but I still think it was pretty good. Last but not least, the Dansen clan themselves. Though many will disagree, I though these creatures were great. Once again I refer to the tunnel scene, the first time we see a Dansen-creature is an incredibly cool shot. Overall I recommend checking this out, providing you don't mind some very bad actors and a fairly low-quality DVD. Why do I say the DVD is low-quality? On the menu screen...the misspelled the title! Oh well...

6.5/10
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Not a bad effort
Captain_Roberts23 November 2004
Another uncredited adaptation of Lovecraft's "Lurking Fear". I admit, that even with the low quality packaging, I had a bit of hope for this one. The fact that I'd never heard of it until is surfaced on DVD, 14 years after being filmed didn't exactly help matters.

The first thing I noticed about this no-frills DVD is that the title of the film is presented as "Drak Heritage" on the menu. This didn't exactly fill me with confidence as people who give a damn about their release would never let such an obvious and glaring error slip past them. The sound quality fluctuates horribly during the film and some of the soundtrack overwhelms the system and obviously went far beyond the redline during mixing. The film quality is iffy, at best, and lighting seems to be a problem in numerous scenes. Of course, we've all scene bad, low-budget Lovecraft films before.

The next problem with the film is the cast. Cardboard like at best, just plain awful at their worst, the cast seems wholly unbelievable. The flat delivery of dialog casts one more horrible shadow on this film.

Still, there are some bright points. First, the locations. The plantation home used for the Dansen manor was wonderful. It evoked an almost "Blair Witch" feel, the cracked plaster, and vacant halls. Of course, someplace that has been abandoned for 150 years shouldn't have light switches by the door, and a fairly well manicured lawn, but I was actually willing to overlook that.

Secondly, bad as this film is (and make no mistake, it is pretty awful), Dark Heritage does manage to create a bit of atmospheric tension during a few of the more eerie moments of the movie. In fact, had this been done as a silent film, it would have most likely enhanced the overall production by not allowing bad acting to spoil the few solid atmospheric shots.

Still, this adaptation is weak, leaving a few unanswered questions, but perhaps they are best left unanswered. Interestingly enough though, the only actor from this movie who has gone on to continue his career to any note, Eddie Moore (Mr. Daniels), went on to play bit parts in two Brendan Fraser movies ("Blast from the Past" and "Dudley Do-Right"). Nice to see that he managed to overcome that little problem of being incapable of acting his way out of a wet paper sack.

Overall the film comes off like someone's college project and, viewed in that light, it isn't too terribly bad. Of the three Lurking Fear adaptations available (Bleeders/Hemoglobin, the Lurking Fear, and Dark Heritage) this is by far the most faithful adaptation. Certainly, the setting has been moved to Louisiana and the name Martense has been changed to Dansen, but much of the film is actually quite faithful to the original story. This alone makes it an interesting find
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7/10
Throw back to the 1970's drive-in style horror film is probably too talky for most, but for the rest its a really good little thriller
dbborroughs26 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
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 because it maybe connected to the killings. Legend says the house has been empty for years and that weird things go on in and around the house. 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 clichéd 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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5/10
low-budget good amateur effort at a feature-length Lovecraft adaptation
FieCrier8 January 2005
I watched this because it was supposedly adapted from Lovecraft's Lurking Fear, and indeed it is.

The main house in it, I thought to myself, resembled the house Fletch inherited in Fletch Lives (1989). In fact, it is!: the Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation, Geismer, Louisiana, USA. I think it's unlikely they were both shooting there the same year. Dark Heritage seems like it could be several years older than its copyright date.

A reporter is sent to do a story on some campers that have been killed (we only see that two are attacked, but evidently more were). The newspaper's owner has the manager offer the reporter to stay in a nearby house about which he is also curious. The manager thinks it's a really bad idea, but the reporter agrees and has two other guys willing to join him.

Something happens during the night, and the two other guys are killed; the reporter flees. No evidence is found afterward, but a videotape they'd made shows up in the reporter's car mysteriously. He researches the house and the area in a library, where he meets two parapsychologists who are also interested in the house.

The new team of three goes back, and they discover strange holes in the ground around the house...

I don't think there will be any big surprises for anyone who has read Lovecraft's story, or the two other movie adaptations of it (Lurking Fear, and Bleeders AKA Hemoglobin). However, it is a good amateur effort.
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6/10
Lovecraftian darkness.
HumanoidOfFlesh24 September 2012
A group of campers is slaughtered whilst camping in a wooded area.Press reporter Clint Harrison decides to try to find out exactly what happened to those campers who died.He enlists two other men for help and goes to the woods where they reach an abandoned creepy looking mansion.Clint's team begins to die killed by some sort of bizarre creatures.What's going on in this derelict mansion?"Dark Heritage" by independent film-maker David McCormick is a watchable albeit quite slow-moving horror film inspired by short story written by H.P Lovecraft titled "Lurking Fear".The acting is amateurish and the dialogue is often terrible,but the monsters look creepy and the story is cool.6 Lovecrafts out of 10.
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5/10
A dark horror flick with EXTRAORDINARY sound
tom_brewer7612 March 2002
Independent film maker David McCormick was at his best when he ably directed his no-name cast and managed his motley crew to produce a film that keeps you wondering throughout the entire flick. Some might view the actors as stiff and slow, but this is the real secret of Dark Heritage; that is, a cast of characters who know next to nothing about acting are used by McCormick in ways that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up. Shot on location in Louisiana, this film takes advantage of the swamps, plantations, and antebellum homes. In fact it's in one antebellum home that the bloodiest scenes of the movie take place. The director's camera techniques in the horrific dream sequence are done to make the viewer squirm in his seat. The sound track is moving and is timed to move the viewer along to discover the secrets of a mysterious family of man-eating creatures. And perhaps an even more important note than the music is the way the recording of the sound and sound effects throughout the entire movie enhanced and, in some cases, even made up for the few shortcomings of the actors. McCormick took some unknowns and created a thriller that incorporates the best of detective "who dunnits" with the probing ferocity of heroic journalists. Combined with blood and guts, drama and intensity, and sheer terror, this is a "must see" film on a Friday night with a group of your best buds (and maybe some 12 ounce ones too).
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New Low In Horror Is Great
jackraven6912 August 2004
First, seeing that this movie was a Lovecraft adaptation (somehow?) I picked up this priceless gem of horror-genre crap for about $2.50 at a flea market (though I think you can find people on Ebay who will pay you to take it). Upon sitting to watch this beauty, I noticed that there were three typographical errors on the back of the case. Planning to watch the worst piece of effluence to be made in a long time (Polish Vampire In Burbank not withstanding), I knew my wishes would be granted when the DVD title screen popped up: "Drak Heritage" I knew I had found a real winner. This movie went from bad to worse, and I actually believe they only gave the actors parts of the script at a time, so they never really knew how or where to develop their characters (as if the "story adapter" would have allowed characters to seem deeper than a blonde's brainwaves). The acting actually degenerated as the film progressed, or perhaps they shot it all in one day and the "actors" were getting tired. The actors they should have hired are the smooth-talkers who got this rancid pile of whale mucus produced and distributed, as they might have made more convincing characters, even if they were to simply spout gibberish (which might have made more sense plot-wise than the "carefully calculated dialogue" this film sports). But hey, they did great for a budget of $5.00, and seeing as I bought my copy for half that, they must've at least broken even somewhere, though the producers (a group of 12 year old rich boys with nothing better to do with daddy's money, who were undoubtedly promised a bit part in the credits) are probably kicking themselves very hard as far back as their knees will bend. All in all, dig around for $.50 in your couch, order it from some re-seller, and kick back to enjoy rotting your brain with something less entertaining than watching the grass grow. Great for insomniacs, because you will be snoozing in less than five minutes (which, oddly enough, is how long they took to edit this flick). On a scale of 1 - 10, I rate this a definite negative 9, as it reigns almost supreme among the refuse of the world (right below Neverending Story 3).
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1/10
Avoid this film at all costs.
docp26 November 2003
This is probably the worst film I have ever seen; it makes Plan 9 from Outer Space look wonderful. The acting is wooden, the plot silly and the SFX non-existent. The only good thing about it is the fact that it is not a long film. The scenery is sometimes quite pretty, assuming you like trees, if that helps any!
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1/10
ed wood would be proud
dutchchocolatecake26 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie stinks. The script is wordy, which doesn't work to the movie's advantage because the actors cannot act. The plot moves slower than snot, at least it feels that way because nothing really happens until the last twenty minutes. Every five minutes I was laughing because the dialogue was so dopey. I thought Chester Cheetah was going to raid my kitchen with the amount of cheese reeking from this waste of film.

IF this were a college film project, IF this were filmed over a very short time by a group of friends just having fun, IF this were solely a video release on social media with no intent to part Lovecraft fans with their money, and IF these were truly amateurs struggling to pay homage to one of the prolific writers of American history; then I would probably be more forgiving.

But that's just not the case.

This movie is attached to not one, but two professional production agencies. They created and distributed this movie with the intention of marketing and selling a product. The product is bad, it's beyond bad, and I don't understand why most of the reviewers of this title are sheepishly tiptoeing around that fact.

Anyone can steal a story from Lovecraft and "try" to make an movie out of it. It does not mean the movie makers understand, respect, or even like Lovecraft's writing. It does not mean that they are putting one iota of effort into translating his stories onto the big screen for our enjoyment. Sometimes, it just means that they want to make some $$$ from desperate people that are itching to see their favorite author acknowledged.

So yes, the movie does actually follow "The Lurking Fear." But what's the point, if the end result is so ridiculous, you had to use the DVD cover as toilet paper to offset the costs of buying such an incredibly stupid movie?

I would love to put this in my personal list of recommendations, on the basis that it wasn't crude, insulting, or over-the-top in gore. But I can't because it's so farcical and boring to sit through, and I refuse to encourage another human being to punish themselves by watching it.
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5/10
There's something about this film...
Mark Wood14 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I bought Dark Heritage: The Last Descendant off e-bay a few years ago - and it was one of those purchases where the DVD cost less than the P+P. Not a great sign. But I had heard that it was an uncredited adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" so I was curious. It turned out to be a great purchase as for that tiny outlay I have watched this film time and time again over the years and there is just something about it that appeals to me. It is difficult to say what exactly.

The film has some truly woeful acting, at times it is so badly lit that you cannot quite see what is going on, the script has some appallingly bad lines in it, at times the music is so jarringly loud that it becomes intrusive and the creatures are not exactly terrifying. But still there is something that elevates it above some of the other schlocky Lovecraft adaptations that I have seen - in particular the two other adaptations of "The Lurking Fear" I have seen.

Dark Heritage is easily the most faithful of the three film versions I have seen (Haemoglobin & The Lurking Fear being the other two). Yes, the action is transferred to the modern day. Yes, the location is moved from the Catskills to Louisiana. Yes, the degenerate family are the Dansen clan instead of the Martense family. Yes, there have been some alterations made due to filming constraints such as the hero ducking into a caravan to escape the coming storm rather than a wooden shack and Yes, the makers of the film have tacked a rather poor 'twist-in-the-tale' ending on the end - but other than that it is a pretty good adaptation.

The central character takes two companions with him to investigate (in this case a massacre at a campsite), they camp overnight inside the abandoned mansion house and fall asleep as a storm approaches. When the hero wakes his companions have vanished. He finds someone else who is investigating the family / house (in this case two parapsychologists). They research the history of the family but when they revisit the area are forced to take shelter from another approaching storm. Someone looks out the door during the storm and gets their face ripped off (easily the best S/FX in the film). They dig open the grave of a prominent member of the family only to find a network of tunnels. Encounter a strange creature in the tunnel but are saved by a stroke of good luck. Later, the central character finds the entrance to the creatures burrows in the basement of the mansion house, they hide and then see scores of the things emerge from the burrows into the house and the hero finally makes the connection between these creatures and the old, decadent family.

All of that is straight out of Lovecraft. Director David McCormick (who appears in the film as one of the creatures) uses his limited resources to good effect at times - the dream sequence and the first encounter with the creature in the tunnel being good examples. Composer Jesse Carnes (who also appears in the movie - as the TV news reporter at the campsite)has come up with a wonderfully atmospheric piece of Gothic organ music. The central character, journalist Clint Harrison, is played by Mark LaCour with a strange haunted air to him and the dim lighting is at least useful when the creatures appear. However, perhaps the star of the film is the impressive, 1841 built, Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation Mansion that provides a superb backdrop to the film. This historic house has been used in a number of other films such as "Fletch Lives" and it is clear to see why. It has just the right blend of decadence and decay to make you think it really could have been the home of the Dansen clan.

So, overall a very low-budget and slightly amateurish film that is perhaps more interesting and at times much better than you might think it is going to be. Not a great film by any means but not an absolute pile of you know what either.
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6/10
Not too bad, despite almost overwhelming odds
Bezenby20 February 2012
Let's get the bad out of the way: This is a regional horror film, with non-actors and no budget. However, what surprised me about this film was that it actually managed to generate some sort of atmosphere, and even more surprising is that I didn't fall asleep.

A journalist with bad hair gets sent to research a story with a guy about as wooden as the back yard of B&Q. There's a house in Louisiana where there's a doings a transpirin' and it's up to the journalist and his two buddies to find out what's going' down. His buddies disappear, so the journalist does what people never do in horror films: he actually runs away! That was refreshing for starters.

Although he does go back with two other guys. Despite the legion of handicaps this film has, it still manages to keep going at a good pace, and by the time the creatures appear I was forgiving the film for it's faults. Don't go in expecting a classic, or even a normal film, and you should have a good time.
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3/10
True to the story but still really bad
udar554 April 2006
I just finished up this unofficial adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" that was shot in Louisiana. Outside of a few changes (names, setting), this follows the short story point by point for the first 70 minutes but then tries to inject its own "twist" ending that you could see coming from a mile away. Either way, it is a much better adaptation than Full Moon's THE LURKING FEAR. Too bad it is a terrible film. Director David McCormick shoots the thing with all the flair of an industrial short. I swear I counted maybe two camera movements. The creature design is cheap (we're talking store bought masks here) but shot in a dark manner (intentional or not) where they are somewhat creepy. The most impressive thing in the picture is the abandoned mansion but McCormick fails to exploit that as well. File this one under good adaptation, poor execution.
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3/10
Don't go there
KDWms7 June 2003
The girls might be prettier if you're their accompanist or a $#!+-faced onlooker. What I'm sayin' is that it'll take special circumstances for a non-whince reaction to this effort. The delivery of many lines appears to be distractingly unnatural for some actors. Lighting seems to be a problem, too, although failing eyesight may have accounted for my frequent squinting. And if you view this film, be open-minded enough to accept elements that no zoo or circus would reject: They are the above and below-ground creatures who feasted on dozens of campers near an empty Louisiana mansion. That's the discovery of a trio who is dispatched from their printed media to investigate the deaths. Then, two of THEM disappear, and the survivor is part of another threesome who take up the hunt. Eureka! I just realized what one of those aforementioned "special circumstances" would be - unconsciousness.
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1/10
amazing
random squires27 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Before I really slag this film off, I just want to say I absolutely loved it.

Firstly, how many times in the film did the characters use the phrase "You're Right."? I'm sure i was counting in the hundreds before I gave up and started watching the film again.

Secondly, what the hell is with those blue monkey things? OK, so the Dansen family led very private lives and had one brown eye one blue eye, but since when does that transform people into subterranean carnivorous blue zombie-creatures?

and finally, 'Old faithful here will protect me' hahaha :)
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