Filmed in Wisconsin, INHERITOR is a confused, unrewarding horror yarn with some notable names improbably involved. Director Brian Kendal-Savegar was one of a quartet who shared a 1986 Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration in the prestige production A ROOM WITH A VIEW. Executive producers Alexander W. Kogan, Jr., and Barry Tucker received credits...read more
Filmed in Wisconsin, INHERITOR is a confused, unrewarding horror yarn with some notable names improbably involved. Director Brian Kendal-Savegar was one of a quartet who shared a 1986 Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration in the prestige production A ROOM WITH A VIEW.
Executive producers Alexander W. Kogan, Jr., and Barry Tucker received credits for the "Hellraiser" films and the terrific dark comedy HEATHERS (1989). And the musical score is attributed to Atticus Finch, who was a character in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. But INHERITOR won't enhance any of their
resumes, and it sat on the shelf for a few years before its unheralded release to video. It opens with chaotic flashback scenes in which nasty Puritan settlers bury a woman alive in the crypt of a church. Flash ahead to the present, where young Alison (Lisa McGuire) learns that her twin sister has
been found dead, spread-eagled nude on the floor of a rural house that stands on the spot once occupied by the Puritan church. Alison travels out to the boondocks to identify the body and elects to stay at the house (what the heck, the rent's paid). Soon she is approached by the owner, Simon
(Barnaby Spring), an unsavory writer who eventually reveals that he is a descendant of the Puritan minister seen in the flashback. The minister offended the local Indians in some way and was cursed; his wife mated with a spirit beast, gave birth to an inhuman offspring, and was punished with
premature burial. The curse has brought torment to Simon's family down through the years, and Alison's sister, who had psychic abilities, died in a ritualistic attempt to remove it. Simon now wants to make a second try, using Alison. She traces the vibes down to a network of Indian caves beneath
the house, where she is separated from Simon. In one chamber, Alison meets the buffalo-headed being who (ahem) compromised the minister's wife all those years ago. The boyish-looking creature resembles a satyr, is labeled in the credits as a minotaur, and was probably meant to be a wendigo; in any
case, he's horny in more ways than one and commences lovemaking with a very willing Alison. Just as they finish, Simon appears and shoots the creature to death. "You are the inheritor," he says to Alison. But if Simon thinks he's escaped the curse, he's fatally mistaken. The puzzling final scene
finds Alison, happily pregnant herself, apparently joined by a reincarnation of the minister's wife for a tour of the homestead.
This plot is so full of holes that it's hard to tell if the filmmakers are merely inattentive or deliberately out to confound the viewer. In one scene, a police officer scans Simon's record and finds something that sends him to warn Alison immediately. What has he discovered? It's never revealed,
and the cop gets killed shortly thereafter. Early in the story, a glowing something starts to burst up through the floorboards of the old house, but Alison orders it back below. What is this all about? The actors' overly melodramatic posing seems to indicate that all these characters know more
than they're telling. And Spring--who creeps around in a trench coat even Dick Tracy wouldn't touch--has a particularly ill-conceived role (it seems he must defeat the curse or face...writer's cramp!). The photography is the best element of the film, helping at times to recall, distantly, that
Australian masterpiece of aboriginal terror THE LAST WAVE, but that's about it. The great American minotaur movie remains to be made. (Nudity, profanity, sexual situations.)
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