Monday, August 10, 2015

Poltergeist the Legacy – the Crystal Scarab – review

Director: Brad Turner

First aired: 1996

Contains spoilers

I really enjoyed Poltergeist the Legacy when it first aired and recently picked up (cheap) the first season DVD set. Unfortunately the further seasons (in which there is a traditional vampire story, as well as a succubus) are rather pricey.

The technical downside to the DVD set is that it seems to be an analogue print that has been lifted and dropped, giving the entire thing a “fuzzy” ambience. I had also forgotten just how angst-ridden and whingey the primary characters could be. Be that as it may, I’m still having fun with the season and this episode had an unusual form of vampirism.

Helen Shaver as Rachel
The overarching story had little to nothing to do with the Poltergeist films and follows the adventures of a secret society – the Legacy – as it protected mankind from the things that lurked in the shadows. The Legacy was split into Houses and we follow the San Francisco House run by Derek Rayne (Derek de Lint) and assisted by Alexandra Moreau (Robbi Chong), priest Father Philip Callaghan (Patrick Fitzgerald), psychiatrist Rachel Corrigan (Helen Shaver) and ex-Navy Seal Nick Boyle (Martin Cummins).

the ring on a corpse
This episode begins with Clayton Wallace (Roy Thinnes, Dark Shadows: the revival & the Norliss Tapes) visiting a shop run by a Turkish shopkeeper (Brian George, Hotel Transylvania). The shop has smuggled in artefacts for him – one is a scarab pendant worn by Ali (Sasha Popovic), Wallace has to remove it as the one who put it on the wearer must take it off. The other part is a scarab ring that is on the hand of a desiccated corpse, the finger must be chopped away.

wearing the pendant
We do note that they say the ring wearer is the spring and the pendant wearer drinks from the spring – and this is clearly a form of energy vampirism. Clayton’s daughter Samantha (Nicole de Boer, Forever Knight & suck) is dying. He puts the pendant on her just before Derek – an old friend of the family – arrives. Later he puts the ring on himself, giving his life to her. It doesn’t kill him but does revive her and makes him hideously scarred.

mugger drained
She becomes ill again and he is told that he is not dead because the ring wants to be passed on, and that his life is not enough to return hers fully. He has to cut his finger off to retrieve the ring and, once off, his other scarring vanishes. He starts having others put the ring on – the first wearer being a mugger who steals the ring – and they are drained to husks. This gives Samantha a short respite but the effects are never permanent. She is fully aware (through the pendant?) of what is happening and starts demanding victims. At one point Derek suggests to Clayton that she isn’t his daughter, his daughter is dead.

the ring bites
An insect at the heart of machinery that causes vampirism had been done before in Cronos, however this is slightly different (not having a mechanism as such), but the scarabs do seem to be alive. The ring bites into the wearer’s finger and also seems able to scuttle off of its own accord. The pendent buries itself into the wearer’s chest.

This was unusual, which was good, but not the strongest Legacy episode. That said it was worth watching and deserves 6 out of 10 as a standalone episode.

The imdb page is here.

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