This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
Dark Heritage is a straight-to-VHS adaptation of The Lurking Fear by H.P. Lovecraft. In the original story, intrepid investigators discover that descendants of a thunderstorm-obsessed mountain family, having isolated themselves for centuries and partaken of truly staggering amounts of inbreeding, have degenerated into subterranean monsters who lurk in burrows underneath the family’s colonial-era mansion. Dark Heritage, as well as taking place in the modern day (or “modern day” as far as 1989 is concerned), differs from the original by transplanting the action to Louisiana, with the cursed Dansen clan living in an abandoned plantation house.
The shift to Louisiana makes a lot of sense; as well as the swamps down there being connected to other Lovecraft tales (one of the three major vignettes in The Call of Cthulhu takes place there), making the Dansens the debased descendants of slave-owning Southern aristocracy helps shift the story from merely being a riff on aristocratic inbreeding into a cautionary tale about failing to remember and examine the past.