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  • George C. Scott loses his wife and daughter in a car accident, moves to Seattle, and rents a gigantic old mansion with a haunted secret past. This film is skillfully directed by Peter Medak who gets more that even he probably bargained from a solid cast of actors, a wonderful script, and one great-looking eerie old house. Medak creates tons of suspense with the barest sight of blood. This film reeks atmosphere. The house reeks atmosphere. Scott's performance and that of veteran Melvyn Douglass reek atmosphere. Doors creak, balls mysteriously bounce, water runs, windows break in the old house trying to tell Scott about the secret of a young child that once lived there. The script is fanciful yet well-written and very creative. Scott gives an atypically subdued performance that suggests passion, heartbreak, and tenacity. The rest of the performers are very good too. I cannot remember the last time Mr. Douglass gave a poor performance. Some of the scenes that really stand out in my mind are flashback sequences showing the terrible secret that has been hidden in the house for over 70 years. Medak doesn't have a huge budget to work with here, but this movie beats out newer haunted house films like the remake of The Haunting by leaps and bounds. This is one classy scare film!
  • jrs-814 June 2005
    "The Changeling" tells the story of a composer (George C. Scott) who, as the film opens, loses his wife and daughter in a tragic accident. Getting away from it all, Scott buys an old home to get his mind right and to get back to doing the work he loves. Soon he discovers that his house is haunted and filled with secrets waiting to be revealed. To say much more then that would be unfair to the first time viewer.

    Suffice to say this is a chilling film with several good scares that aren't achieved by manipulating the audience. By that I mean loud chords of music on the soundtrack or the unexpected cry of a cat or something like that. "The Changeling" works for its scares and succeeds. Another big reason the film is so well done is the performance by Scott. For a change the hero in a ghost story is not a wimp but a strong, self assured man who is going to fight to the bitter end to find the truth and get his life back. Very few actors could have pulled it off better then Scott.

    The supporting cast is headed by Melvyn Douglas (in one of his last roles) and Scott's wife, Trish Van Devere who projects a look of total terror as well as anyone I have seen.

    Two moments that stand out are the séance scene which is eerie and the unexpected arrival of a child's toy ball. This film will give you shivers. If you are a fan check it out and make sure to watch it with a loved one cuddling up against you with all the lights turned out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Horror films have become caricature's over the years. They contain characters, situations, and elements you've seen before. The exceptions have been THE SIXTH SENSE and SCREAM. THE SIXTH SENSE cleverly turned the ghost genre on it's head and SCREAM mocked the slasher genre while still providing some good thrills. However, there is only one film when it comes to the haunted house genre.

    Peter Medak's THE CHANGELING is everything a horror film should be. It's suspenseful, well acted, contains an intelligent plot, and uses no special effects or gore to obtain it's objective. It generates real fear.

    George C. Scott plays John Russell. He's a man trying to endure the tragic loss of his wife and daughter. He rents a mysterious, old house from the Historical Society where he can compose out of. He's an accomplished piano player and takes a job teaching piano at a University. He's got quite the reputation as the size of the class is monstrous.

    Soon, things begin to get strange. Every morning there are loud, banging noises from upstairs in the house. These noises lead to a bedroom where a child's wheelchair is found and an old music box that plays an identical song to the one Russell's been composing. It gets even more terrifying from there as Russell investigates the history of the house with the help of Claire, a beautiful member of the Historical Society, played by Trish Van Devere. Scott and Van Devere have a natural chemistry and it may be due to the fact that they were really married.

    Russell finds out some surprising secrets after a terrifying Seance. The secrets lead him to Senator Joseph Carmichel, played by the great Melvyn Douglas. Carmichel tries to keep everything quiet but the dead have a way of tormenting the living and keeping old secrets alive.

    A great horror film can derive fear from even the simplest things. In this film a child's ball rolling down the stairs will make your hair stand up on end. There's also a piano striking a chord without a player, and a glass flying off a table and shattering during a Seance. This film is filled with those simple things and a whole lot more.

    Today's films are filled with quick cuts, computer generated effects, and loud scores. This film achieves it's objective in a much more subtle fashion. It's characters are real people and not just reactors. It's story is intelligent and well told. Finally, it's effect is chilling and stays with you long after the experience, the mark of a truly great horror film.
  • I first saw 'The Changeling' in the mid-eighties and it has lost none of its edge. A few of the reviews I see below seem to be written by those who have read glowing reviews but just didn't get it: Comparisons with 'The Exorcist', a story of demonic possession, are inappropriate. This movie isn't a visual shock feast nor a gore fest, this is a powerful psychological drama. The penultimate ghost story. If you just sit back in a defensive posture and challenge the movie to scare you, you will lose out completely. If however you choose to get involved, you will find yourself going for one hell of a ride. Few scenes in moviedom rival the poignancy, for instance, of the disbelieving George C. Scott character when he is reviewing the tape of the seance and comes upon the inescapable evidence that there IS a paranormal presence in the house. Here I will make my own inappropriate comparison: In the context of this story, Scotts ultimately human and believable response and the collapse that follows is far scarier than Exorcist's Reagan spewing green puke, by a long shot.

    And the little girl going alone, summoned into the haunted room in her house at night? Forget about it. My hair stands on end.

    If 'The Changeling', watched at night doesn't give you a fright, then there are at least six 'Hallowe'en' movies on the rack that should suit your particular needs. The Changeling is something else: the fear of the spiritually macabre.
  • In this sadly forgotten horror film, George C. Scott plays a music composer who has just moved to Oregon to escape the painful memories of his wife and daughter who were killed in a car crash. He rents an old and secluded mansion from the historical society as a place to live. Soon after he moves into the house, strange occurrences begin.

    This is one of those horror movies that can be scary without being bloody and gory. It simply relies on atmosphere and frightening, but subtle images to deliver its chills, and it works. I will never be able to understand that "R" rating mainly because there is only very mild profanity and there is no blood or gore. Anyway, I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good scary ghost story. 8/10.
  • Gafke7 December 2003
    This is one of my all time favorite ghost stories, right up there with "The Innocents," "The Haunting" and "Ringu."

    George C. Scott plays John, a famous pianist and composer who has lost his wife and young daughter in a freak car accident. Grief stricken and heartbroken, he moves to Washington state and rents a wonderful old Gothic mansion. Surprise surprise! It's haunted.

    This movie has everything. Dark, spooky stairways draped with dusty cobwebs, a boarded up room with a terrible secret, a shadowy seance scene, ghostly voices and frightening noises that echo through the huge house, political intrigue and a very solid looking ghost who scares the absolute hell out of anyone he shows himself to. It boasts a well thought out plot with several great twists and a very angry murder victim, who doesn't want to be at peace - he just wants revenge, and boy does he get it.

    Fans of "Ringu" will enjoy this tale of murder, ghostly revenge and bodies thrown down wells. Just watch it, preferably on a dark and stormy night with all the lights turned off. I dare you.
  • THE CHANGELING is by far the scariest film I have ever seen. It's not because of scary monsters or gory F/X. This film has very few gory moments or F/X. It scares with great story telling, sounds and dark corners. It's actually quite a sad story as well. The acting is excellent and the director is quite accomplished. I am a huge movie fanatic and HORROR is one of my favorite genres; and I realize there are very few actually good horror movies, so take my word this is great film making. WATCH IT ALONE and you will be very unpleased by how scared you are. This is not a film to watch with a group. I tried that once and everyone thought it was boring. You need the quiet to pay attention to build the natural tension and fear. Enjoy. They don't make them better than this. This is up there with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON as the best of the horror genre!!!
  • The first time I saw this film, I was about four years old. I'm not sure if I have slept right since, I am now twenty four and it still haunts me.

    The tale of a lonely musician, who loses his wife and daughter in a terrible accident, and then decides to rent an old mansion in the pacific norhtwest, only to find the house has a history of it's own. The film is paced well, set perfectly, and reveals a darker side of the bourgeouis than most are willing to explore. A masterpiece.
  • Never seen the late George C Scott in a film like this before,but i think he just about got away with it.Before you watch it make sure you can watch it without interuptions,prefarbly when its dark,that way you'll get more involved.

    The film is about a ageing music composer who,after a car accident in which is family are killed,buys a mansion,all is well to start with but soon there is loud banging at night and soon we see a medium being called in to find the ghost of a young boy called Joseph who was murdered in the house 70 years ago,Mr. Scott then trundles through the film trying to find the reason he was killed and by who.A totally enjoyable super natural movie that as a few twists and turns,a few scenes will make the hair on your arms stand up,having said all this the ending was a little predictable.
  • I love a good old fashioned creaky haunted house story, and HBO's The Changeling is one of the best, and most under appreciated spooky tales out there. Like I say time and time again (no doubt sounding like a broken record at this point), real effective horror lies in atmosphere and the buildup of tension, chilling our spines instead of bombarding us with tasteless dismemberment. The Changeling takes its time in establishing cozy atmosphere and engulfs us in a gigantic New England mansion (actually Shaughnessy for anyone who can tell), inhabited by the lonely, desperate ghost of a young boy who met a tragic fate there many decades earlier. George C. Scott is the musical composer who moves in all by himself, seeking solitude as he nurses the grief of losing both his wife and daughter in a car accident. He's barely there one night when strange things begin to happen; rhythmic banging from some far off room, eerie crying noises, doors opening and closing of their own accord and a mysterious toy bouncing ball that ominously follows him around. Saddled with an already troubled mind, he sets out to learn the origins of the ghost and resolve the situation, putting it to rest. The story is smart and succinct, involving ancestral deception and an elderly US Congressman (Melvyn Douglas, stealing every scene) with ties to the past. It's never too complicated or busy, always keeping it's cool and reigning in the frightening moments in a minimal fashion that pays off greatly. The lush, overgrown Vancouver locale makes a great setting, almost Stephen King like, and the house itself is a towering cluster of dusty hallways and wide open ceilings that shield ancient secrets and watch over anyone who sets foot inside with an unseen eye. I never thought a bouncy ball and a small children's wheelchair could raise such goosebumps, but when used as well as they are here, in scenes which set up the creep factor wonderfully, they'll get to you big time. Scott is weary and wary, but has a strong sense of compassion for the restless spirit that shows in his baleful, ice blue eyes and gives him the charisma a horror protagonist needs. HBO original films are almost always hidden gems of humble craftsmanship and breezy, effortless skill, whatever the genre. Here they've tried their hand at the ghostly fright flick, and wrought one of the best I've ever seen.
  • A man, recovering from the recent deaths of his wife and child in an automobile accident in New York state, moves across the country to Washington. There he tries to move on with his life as a musical composer by moving into a large Victorian style house in the country. Strange things begin to happen, however, water taps turned on, a window smashing on its own, his daughter's rubber ball inexplicably bouncing down a towering staircase and, above all, thunderous bangs periodically echoing throughout the house for no apparent reason.

    The man realizes that something is trying to communicate with him in this house, and he begins an investigation of the building's history. And there's something, something going on in that tiny dusty cob web strewn room at the very top of the house, the one with a music box and a small wheelchair.

    George C. Scott is a solid presence in this film as the man bewildered by this huge old home, with Scott's wife, the elegant Trish Van Devere, cast as a member of the local historical society instrumental in having secured him this house. Melvyn Douglas appears as a U.S. senator who is somehow related to the house.

    Director Peter Medak lets the suspense build slowly in this intelligent Canadian made ghost story. Rather than going for terror, this film goes for subtle chills. There's a seance scene that is genuinely eerie, as Medak's camera returns to that small room and then starts to glide down the stairs towards the seance participants trying to communicate with the spirit.

    Some ghost films are all special effects and over-the-top performances of terror. Like the best of the classy, more mature films that explore the supernatural, The Changeling never goes for cheap thrills. This thriller's eeriness is analogous to a tap on the shoulder by a cold finger, only to turn around and find there is nobody there.

    It may be a cliché to say it, but, in this case, it's true: if you watch this film, be sure to do so with the lights turned low.
  • This is one of my all-time favorite scary movies! I wish they'd make MORE just like this one! It has no blood/guts, gore or cussing yet it's an incredibly frightening movie!:)

    Memorable scenes:

    The wheelchair The bouncing ball The Seances The House! That Music Box! The Well The Medallion

    Memorable and unforgettably chilling sounds in the movie:

    That rhythmic banging! The ghosts voice The musicbox music The sound effects The sound of a ball bouncing Water running

    These are among the most frightening ever filmed! (imho)

    I watch this movie to this day and STILL get goosebumps! My kids also love it. Do not watch it at night in the dark, alone, I warned you!:) You will never forget this movie! Watch it only alone or with others who really like quieter,spooky haunted house type movies.

    I literally wore out my VHS copy and got it on DVD. WORTH IT!

    I wish they would've made a sequel. Why more movies of this exact genre aren't made, I don't know.
  • I found this to be a pretty solid haunted-house thriller...and better than I remembered so I have changed a few things in this review. The cinematography was admirable, mainly in the first half of the film and the special-effects near the end were excellent. That was capped off by a wheelchair chasing Trish Van Devere and a railing catching fire. In all, kind of bizarre and interesting scene.

    George C. Scott stars and Van Devere and an aged Melvyn Douglas provide noted supporting roles. There are very few dry spots and overall, its a decent horror film and not an expensive DVD purchase - so grab it, if you can. The suspense build beautifully. Nice direction by Peter Medak.
  • I first saw the Changeling in 1981 I was 11 years old and this movie has stayed with me ever since. a Better horror story then the Amityville horror . And a greater ghost story then the Haunting.

    John Russell is a world famous composer and conductor who loses his family in a tragic auto accident. four months later Russell decides to make changes in his life. He is given a teaching job at a university in Seattle. Russell decides to look for a house providing the rent is cheap and a friend suggests the historical society that would rent him a older historical home cheap. With the help of the lovely historical society agent Claire Norman John finds the perfect house at Chessman park road. t s a sprawling four story mansion. The kind they don't make anymore. Russell falls in love with the house and signs the lease. Almost as soon as he moves in mysterious things happen. And these things lead to a unthinkable end. John finds a old room a child's room hidden in a attic. a wheelchair fitted for a small boy sits in a corner. the ghost shows John how and reveals why he was murdered and demands vengeance even at the cost of John's life.

    The Changeling is that rare instance of a horror movie so full of suspense and fear. and it stays with you. the originality of it is still fresh even 35 years after I first saw it. a true guilty pleasure. Very few films in my mind can even equal it. Worth seeing again and again.
  • The Changeling is directed by Peter Medak and co-written by Russell Hunter, William Gray and Diana Maddox. It stars George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, John Colicos and Jean Marsh. Plot finds Scott as John Russell, a music composer whose life is shattered when an accident kills both his wife and young daughter. Relocating to Seattle, Russell rents a large Gothic style mansion from which to bury himself in his work. But he soon discovers he is not alone in the house, there is a ghost here and it desperately wants his help with something...

    Not a teenager or a scantily clad bad actress in sight here, for this is a traditional haunted house spooker for the adults, one that has a distressing mystery at its core that's just aching to be solved. Chief writer Russell Hunter has based much of the film on an incidents that happened to him in real life when he moved into a house in Denver. If you believe him or not is not really the point, because it does not take away from just how well executed The Changeling is, both as a scary movie and a well thought out drama. There's limited characters in the narrative, thus keeping the film free from filler and the clumsy character set-ups that mar so many horror films these days. It's also worth noting that it doesn't suffer from dating either, as Nicole Kidman starrer The Others proved 21 years later, a haunted house tale can be effective in any decade if the writing and direction is spot on. The Changeling has both, plus a towering and believable performance from Scott leading the way.

    Medak clearly knows that an imposing house is a key element. Utilising the big spaces to emphasise Russell's loneliness, he sweeps his camera around the sets (this is not a real house, it's a brilliant mock-up creation by the designers) to give the feeling of a spirit observing proceedings. The house is always a main character and acts as the perfect backdrop to some ghostly goings on (excellent work from the sound department too). The chills are genuine, the attic room is creepy personified, a rubber ball, a wheelchair, a bath sequence, an old water well and even the gentle tinkling from a music box, all induce the hairs on the back of the neck to stand to attention. And there's a séance! Oh yes indeed, a séance that's tape recorded, more chills down the spine on the way there as well. All played out to some lush unholy musical arrangements from Ken Wannberg (the music box theme composed by Howard Blake).

    Setting it apart from conventional haunted house movies is that it has a most intriguing story to tell. One of murder, greed, deception and grief. The latter part is often forgotten when talk of The Changeling arises. John Russell is absolutely stricken with grief, this stops him from being one of those characters who you shake your head at because they refuse to leave a clearly troubled house. His grief process, which makes him the ideal host for what this spirit wants, means he has no fear, some unhappy ghost can't hurt him anymore than he is hurting anyway. It's a neat and seamless meditation on grief that's threaded into the story. The last quarter of the film slips into action territory, which is a little jarring given the smooth pacing Medak has favoured up to that point. But although the scares have gone, the intelligent story has come full circle and the film closes down triumphantly without copping out or having resorted to unimaginative formula.

    An essential viewing for those who like haunted house movies; especially if you like slow build and genuine mystery as well. 9/10
  • Billy_Crash26 January 2009
    This ghost story has some of the creepiest moments I've ever seen in a horror - and it does so without blood, guts or torture.

    There's a full-blown mystery for George C. Scott and his real-life wife Trish to solve, after his character moves into a new home in the outskirts of Seattle. Who knew a rental would come with so much baggage.

    Most importantly, the story is solid, the acting is first-rate and those little moments or terror and fear have a lot of impact.

    If you love horror, especially ghost stories, do not pass this one up. I'm very selective about the movies I choose to own and this was one of the first DVDs I ever purchased. The film does not disappointment. Shut off the lights, curl up on the couch, and get ready for creep city.
  • Effective horror movie about a strange house located in Seattle that causes creepy goings-on in a new tenant . The film contains restless terror , thrills , chills and usual poltergeists phenomenon . This is the classic version about the infamous house with lots of screams and rare deeds in which a composer falls into supernatural terror . After the death of his beloved wife (Jean Marsh) and daughter, a man named John Russell (George C Scott) hires an impressive house to a landlady named Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere , in real life married George C. Scott) . John rents the old turn of the century house and staying at the secluded historical mansion . Russell finds his life being haunted by the presence of a spectre and suffers experience beyond total fear . John and a Police Inspector (John Colicos) investigate mysterious circumstances surrounding a strange death . .

    Suspense , mystery , shocks and grisly horror is this splendid terror film about a haunted mansion . This is an interesting , suspenseful and horrifying story , based on a story by Russell Hunter and screenplay by William Gray and Maddox . The movie is partially based on actual events which supposedly took place at a house in Denver, Colorado, in the 1960s . The Chessman Park neighborhood in the movie is a reference to Cheesman Park in Denver, where the original haunting transpired . The film contains restless terror , usual poltergeists phenomenon caused by a ghost and the usual ghastly shenanigans result to be strange sounds , doors suddenly slam , running wheelchairs manifest as attackers , among others . The movie begins slowly and grows more and more until the twisted , creepy and eerie finale . Good picture , thanks to magnificent acting , right pacing , well mounted edition and skillful special effects . Excellent support cast formed by notorious secondaries such as Melvyn Douglas as Senator Joe Carmichael , Jean Marsh as Joanna Russell , John Colicos as Captain DeWitt , Roberta Maxwell as Eva , Barry Morse as Dr. Pemberton and Eric Christmas as Albert Hammond . It is produced with acceptable budget by Mario Kassar and Andrew J Vajna , Carolco , and well recreated with high grade special effects that are frightening and horrifying to spectator . It's actually a decent terror movie that achieved enough success at the box office and it will appeal to ghostly and eerie events fonds. The picture packs a colorful as well as dark cinematography by John Coquillon and eerie musical score by Rick Wilkins . The original ¨Exorcist¨ film (by William Friedkin) spawned a wave of demonic possession movies that continues unabated today as this ¨Changeling¨ (by Peter Medak), ¨Amytiville ¨(by Stuart Rosemberg) are two further examples of this sub-genre and following a great number of clumsy, stupid sequels .

    The motion picture won best picture in the Canadian Film Awards and was well directed by Peter Medak , but before he was given the job, two British directors were considered; Tony Richardson declined due to creative differences . The picture has had a great influence of wide range , for example , Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar has claimed in several interviews that this is one of his all-time favorite Horror movies, up to the point of inspiring several scenes of ¨Tesis¨ and ¨The others¨ .
  • reggie-307 July 2005
    i don't usually get scared in the movies, but "the changeling" is the only film to give me nightmares since i first saw it when i was seven years old.

    i love how there's no special effects, leaving a lot to the viewer's imagination, unlike recent horror movies that have failed miserably, like "the grudge." i love how the camera angle gives the ghost a perspective. i love the creepy musical score, and the wheelchair, the wheel, the attic, and the red ball. good lord, i'm getting scared just thinking about it. and hearing that it was a true incident terrifies me to no end!

    highly recommended!
  • They don't make 'em like this anymore. Devoid of screaming teenagers, gratuitous T&A, and gore, "The Changeling" is a winner because of great acting, writing, and direction. Sadly, it was one of the last great horror films (there was perhaps just one more, "The Shining", that came after it). If you've never seen "The Changeling", all you need to know is that it is a superb haunted-house thriller. George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, and Melvyn Douglas turn in excellent performances, and director Peter Medak maintains an austere tone throughout the film's nearly two-hour running time. No, it's not a horror comedy and it's not "Friday the 13th" (thank god!). This is not for everyone, but if you enjoy being scared, "The Changeling" gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It has the same vibe as some of Peter Straub's early novels, like "Julia" and "Ghost Story".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    May contain spoilers:

    I haven't seen many haunted house movies in my time. I love horror films but either there aren't that many about houses with personality or I have just been to Jasonized. Either way, that is going to change for me. Because after experiencing how this movie made me feel, I am going to go out and rent as many of the classics about haunted houses as I can find. The Changeling is everything that The Haunting (99) should have been. This film creeps you out sometimes more than you can handle. Where as the Haunting used 80 million dollars worth of special effects, The Changeling used lighting, sound, subtlety and an intriguing and scary story to achieve the ultimate in horror, scares, chills, shivers and your hair standing straight on the back of your neck.

    George C. Scott plays a man who has just recently lost his wife and young daughter to a freak accident on the highway in the dead of winter. He leases a rather large house supposedly for some solitude so he can work on his musical piece. But then strange things begin to happen. At first he passes them off as just an old house having a personality of its own. But then when the noise persist at the exact time of day and for the same amount of time, he gets suspicious. After doing a little research, he realizes that not only is the house haunted, but it may be trying to tell him something. And this is where the story becomes creepy. I haven't really felt a sense of unease in many movies. The Blair Witch was one of them, and The Changeling made me feel similar to that experience. What this film does to perfection is uses what it has to its advantage. There are lots of darkly lit rooms, strange noises that apparently come from the upstairs bedroom, and bouncing balls. The Changeling is a scary movie and it would have been without the ball, but when you put the ball into the scenario, you are frozen with fear. And for the first time in the film when the ball comes into frame, Scott looks petrified. Before this incident, he seemed bewildered, almost curious. He couldn't understand why all this was happening. But after the ball, he is frightened. Even if whatever it is that is haunting this house seems to be somewhat friendly towards him, he is still scared.

    I found myself yelling at the screen, " Get OUT! " I wanted them to leave the house. That is how frightened I was for the characters in the film. And when a movie can do that to you, you have to admire it. I loved The Changeling. I love how it made me feel and I love how it altered my physical appearance ( hair standing straight on end ). If you want to see a scary film that will restore your faith in horror movie, see this one. This is a perfect example of how horror films were so amazing in the 70's and 80's. They are scary and pay attention to details. I am not sure why films today can't do that, there are exceptions of course ( Blair Witch, Sixth Sense ) but mostly we get crap like Urban Legend and Idle Hands and whatever. This film however knows the true roots of horror and it knows how to scare. My recommendation is to watch this with all the lights off on a stormy night. You will be afraid. You will be.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    By today's Standards, "The Changeling" would seem tame and unscary, but truth is, this film is scarier than anything that's been out there for years! It's a ghost story, about a crippled child who is murdered by his greedy father to replace him with a healthy boy. The ghost of this child roams in the attic of the old house where he was murdered. George C.Scott's character, a music teacher who has suffered the tragic loss of his family in a freak accident, rents the house and becomes aware that there's "something" wrong there. Again, you've probably heard this story line a dozen times before, but "The Changeling" is brilliantly executed and the performance of George C.Scott is, in my opinion, very down to earth and real. Someone in this section said that his performance was "wooden" (and gave Keanu Reeves as an example), but I beg to differ. He is an old man who, like many of us would, refuses the idea of having a ghost in his house. His acting was very realistic. Although the movie moves at a rather "slow" pace, it never ceases to be interesting. It's one of those movies that needs to be seen late at night, surrounded by darkness and put full attention to. I remember I was scared out of my pants when I saw it 20 years ago and I've recently purchased it and have seen it many times again, now with my wife, who also happens to love it. One thing I will never understand is the "R" rating this film got. There are no nude scenes, no graphic violence, virtually no blood...there's not one curse in the dialog! Anyway, it still is a very creepy movie and if you'd like to see a well done suspense story, don't hesitate in watching this one!
  • I've watched this a few times over the years, and there's something superb about it - a mix of sadness, dread, building tempo, great score, even believe-ability. Anyone with attention deficit may suffer, as there are an absence of clowns in masks, gallons of blood, or nude girls getting changed by a window (why do they never use the blinds?!). Anyway, this is a thinky, absorbing movie with great acting throughout.
  • The Changeling (1980)

    **** (out of 4)

    Composer John Russell (George C. Scott) has his world turned upside down when his wife and daughter are killed in a traffic accident. A few months later he moves to Seattle to get some work done and moves into a mansion that hasn't been lived in for years. Before long he starts to hear strange noises and he quickly believes that a ghost is there. With the help of a local woman (Trish Van Devere) he quickly uncovers a dark secret.

    From what I've read THE CHANGELING wasn't a hit at the box office and in fact it was in and out of theaters very quick without too much press one way or another. The film pretty much went away but over the years it slowly built up a cult following and today it's considered one of the greatest ghost films ever made. While there are a couple flaws here and there and while it doesn't reach the same greatness as THE SHINING, there's no question that the film deserves its new found fame because it really is a great one.

    I think what I enjoyed most about the film is the fact that it really does take its time to get the atmosphere right, slowly build up the scares and in the end it really delivers. A lot of credit has to go to the screenplay because it actually delivers a very good story for us to follow. Every ghost story going back to the 1930's usually had some silly story just to get the ghosts on the screen. I will avoid spoilers but the story here is a very detailed one and one that is highly entertaining and works perfectly as a mystery.

    Director Peter Medak does a marvelous job at building up the atmosphere and slowly building up the suspense and terror. There aren't any cheap scares here but instead we get a slow-burn effect of the haunting completely taking over the lead character as well as the viewer too. I really loved the art design in the picture and there's no doubt that the music is flawless and one of the most effective scores you'll ever hear. The look of the house was terrific and in many ways it became its own character.

    Of course, it also helps that you've got an actor like George C. Scott in the lead. Scott was one of the greatest actors in history and he really does deliver a rare emotional performance here. He was great at playing anger and he was always a very strong actor but I really thought he showed off emotions here that we typically didn't get to see from him. The actor perfectly nails the part as well as the various emotions going on with the character. Van Devere is also extremely good in her supporting role as is Melvyn Douglas in his few scenes.

    THE CHANGELING really is one of the best ghost movies ever made with several extremely creepy moments.
  • I'm normally not a big fan of horror films but The Changeling is certainly a unique experience in viewing that genre. No unearthly ghouls, no scenes of blood and gore, The Changeling is a film of horrifying and crushing sadness as the ghost of a child tries to communicate with George C. Scott who recently lost his wife Jean Marsh and their small daughter in a car accident.

    Had that not happened, I'm sure that Scott who is a music teacher and composer would have thought renting this huge rambling mansion would have been great for a wife and child. As it is he's rattling around this big house though the only sounds he hears are from the house itself and they're not from this plane of existence.

    The mansion was formerly the property of the Carmichael family and it's the kind of place the Vanderbilts and Astors would have found adequate for their needs. The heir to the Carmichael family is none other than United States Senator Melvyn Douglas a most powerful player in our nation's capital.

    It's through a seance attended by Scott who learns of the identity of the child and what he wants. In life he was the victim of the foulest kind of murder done for greed and profit.

    Great performances all around from the entire cast. It certainly is one of George C. Scott's best roles and one of the best horror films. The final scene as the child ghost wreaks a terrible vengeance on this house and those who occupied it will stay with you forever.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First of all, I highly recommend this. You can read all the other reviews to hear just how good and scary this thing is. I agree. I just want to get something off my chest.

    It's not much of a spoiler, but there is the ghost of a young boy in this movie who is never seen, only heard, and the voice is absolutely terrible! It sounded like a grown man poorly trying to imitate what he thought a weak and sickly boy sounded like. It's the worst, most annoying, and least terrifying voice you could imagine. If this were some kind of comedy farce, it might be perfect, but that's far from the case in this movie.

    When the rest of the movie is so good, including casting, how in the world could they get this so wrong?? Unbelievable.

    There. Rant over. I really do recommend this movie but that one thing just really bugs me.
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