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Dark Heritage is a low-budget 1989 American horror film, and an uncredited adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear."

After a violent thunderstorm, mutilated bodies are found at a Louisiana campground. Investigative reporter Clint Harrison uncovers a dark local legend about the reclusive Dansen clan, who may be connected with the murders. Determined to dig up the truth, Clint and his buddies decide to spend a stormy night at the seemingly abandoned Dansen mansion...

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Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: While obsessed with the mystery of the Dansen mansion, Clint accidentally calls his editor 'Mr. Dansen' instead of Mr. Daniels. (Which turns out to be Foreshadowing).
  • Adaptational Nationality: Changes the the Dutch Martense clan of the original story to the Norwegian Dansens.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Ends with Clint and Mr. Daniels pointing guns at each other. Daniels comments that this has to end and there is a gunshot. Then Daniels topples forward to reveal his wife standing behind him holding a smoking gun.
  • Beneath the Earth: The descendants of the Dansens have dug tunnels that radiate out from the mansion, and which serve as dwelling places and routes of travel for the feral descendants.
  • Da Editor: Mr. Daniels is Clint's editor at the paper. He protests the idea of sending the paper's best investigative reporter to spend the night in an Old, Dark House with two bozos from print room as a publicity stunt. And when things turn deadly, he tries to persuade Clint to drop the story and get out while he still can. It turns out he is actually a member of the Dansen family and wants Clint off the story before he learns the truth.
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  • The Ghost: Mr. Jordan, the owner of the newspaper Clint works for, gets mentioned a lot, and it is his idea to send a team to spend the night in the Old, Dark House, but never appears onscreen.
  • Grave Robbing: Clint and Jack dig up Eric Dansen's grave only to find an empty coffin and a tunnel leading away from it.
  • Haunted House Historian: Jack has done a lot of research into the Dansen clan and the Dansen mansion. However, he seems to only bring out this information when it is too late to do any good, or in circumstances when it cannot help at all.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Clint meets up with Mr. Daniels to tell him what he has learned about the Dansen clan and the murders. It is only after Mr. Daniels asks him if he has shared his findings with anyone else does the truth start to dawn on him: that Mr. Daniels is actually a member of the Dansen clan and plans to silence him before he can make his findings public.
  • I Call It "Vera": When he goes to spend the night in the Old, Dark House, Daryl brings with him a .357 Magnum he calls 'Old Faithful'.
  • Inbred and Evil: More than a century of inbreeding has devolved the Dansen clan into a tribe of animalistic, ghoul-like creatures.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Clint Harrison is the star investigative reporter for the paper. Once he gets his teeth into the mystery surrounding the murders near the Dansen mansion, he refuses to let go of it, despite the best of his editor to move him off it.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: According to Clint this what happened when he brought the police back to the Dansen mansion to show them the bodies of Roger and Daryl. Not only were the bodies gone, so was all the cameras and equipment they had brought with them, leaving no evidence they had ever been there. For some reason, this leads the police to suspect him of murder, and not wasting police time.
  • The Morlocks: The monsters are a particularly animalistic version of this subterranean trope.
  • Old, Dark House: The long-abandoned Dansen mansion lies at the centre of the rash of brutal slayings striking rural Louisiana.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: The Inbred and Evil Dansen clan has devolved into a tribe of ghoul-like beings who eat human flesh, only come out at night during storms, and travel through a series of tunnels that emerge from graves.
  • Red Right Hand: Members of the Dansen clan can be distinguished by having mismatched eyes: one blue and one brown.
  • The Savage South: After a violent thunderstorm, mutilated bodies are found at a remote Louisiana campground. Investigative reporter Clint Harrison uncovers a dark local legend about the reclusive Dansen clan, who may be connected with the murders.
  • Setting Update: Moves the action of The Lurking Fear to the Present Day (i.e. 1989) and changes the locale from Lovecraft Country to the Savage South.
  • Teaser-Only Character: The two campers murdered by the ghouls in the opening scene of the movie.
  • Villainous Incest: The Dansen clan eventually began practicing incest among themselves. See Inbred and Evil above for the results.

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