Director – Peter Medak (The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt)
Starring – George C. Scott (The Exorcist III, The Murders in the Rue Morgue), Trish Van Devere (The Hearse, Highway to Heaven), and Melvyn Douglas (The Death Squad, Circle of Fear)
Release Date – 1980
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Horror and haunted houses were made for each other. Horror literature centered around haunted homes, castles, or locations have been circulated for thousands of years. Some of the greatest horror stories ever written are centered around a haunted structure. Horror movies are no exception. Haunted house flicks have been crowd pleasers for well over a hundred years with no signs of slowing down after the success of the Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring series.
When you talk paranormal horror movies most people automatically think of the Amityville Horror series but there is so many other better movies. Sometime ago Severin Films released the 1980 film The Changeling. This is one of those movies I never hear people mention so I assumed it was a waste of time. Fuck, was I wrong!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows senior composer John Russell (Scott) who lost his young bride and child in an automobile accident. He relocated to Seattle and rents an old mansion from the historic society. The home has sit vacant for some time so he moves in with the help of Claire (Douglas). The first few nights he awakens to a strange sound that sounds like a bell but the grounds keeper is unable to determine where it is coming from. He starts investigating the home and discovers a hidden room which looks like it once belonged to a young boy. He holds a séance with a medium when more strange occurrences happen and discovers that there is a spirit of a young boy named Joseph there who is saying his father killed him. Joseph is also the name of a wealth senator who once occupied the home. The further John gets into his investigation the deeper into a conspiracy he gets involving the elderly senator and the spirit who are both claiming to be the same person. **Spoiler Alert**
I went into this one expecting something that I would forget once my review was written but I was wrong. This is one of the best supernatural films I have ever seen. I absolutely fucking loved it and I’m bitter I waited this long to watch it.
The acting in this one is fucking legendary. George C. Scott gives a powerhouse performance. This is the first film of his that I had scene where he was the sole star and he absolutely killed it. I loved his character and the dedication to it he had. The supporting cast is just as amazing. Medak has to be one hell of a director because this cast was directed very well. They all work very well together and absolutely killed it.
The story for this one is very exciting and fast paced but is still able to build suspense and tension. The Changeling is very story rich and does a fantastic job with character development as well. There was a few slower scenes but they still deliver on the story and help with the tension. Finally, this ghost story is not a bloody one. We do get a few deaths but they are more stylish than gruesome.
Overall, The Changeling is fucking fantastic. I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to wash it again. This is the type of film you can revisit it and still enjoy yourself. Be sure to grab the Severin release to add to your collection.
Audio Commentary with Director Peter Medak and Producer Joel B. Michaels, moderated by Severin Films’ David Gregory.
The House On Cheesman Park: The Haunting True Story of THE CHANGELING.
The Music of THE CHANGELING: Interview with Music Arranger Kenneth Wannberg.
Building The House Of Horror: Interview with Art Director Reuben Freed.
The Psychotronic Tourist: THE CHANGELING.
Master of Horror Mick Garris on THE CHANGELING.
Poster & Still Gallery.