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The Changeling

Tuesday May 7, 2013 in 80s cinema | horror

Any casual internet search will return various lists of the best haunted house films. Evergreen favourites such as The Haunting and The Innocents always appear. There is also a lesser known film that features regularly, the 1980 film The Changeling starring George C. Scott.

Theatrical poster for The Changeling In The Changeling Scott plays a composer called John Russell who moves from New York to Seattle following the death of his wife and child. He rents a large, dark, cobwebby mansion and soon realises this is asking for trouble when he encounters a spectral presence. Haunted by the ghost of a child, who manifests itself in the form of knocking and shattered glass, Russell slowly pieces together a murder from the past that impacts on the life of a wealthy senator (Mervyn Douglas).

Ultimately the resolution is unsatisfying, involving a weird scene between Scott and Douglas, but the film is worth catching for its careful, eerie pace and the interesting Seattle location work.

The Changeling is also memorable for one of the best seance scenes I’ve seen in cinema, and the overall feeling of the film seems very familiar in today’s crowded market of dark and dusty spooky house films – most memorably I suppose in the likes of Sinister.

I liked The changeling, but not as much as I expected to, given how much other people enjoy it. I thought the mood of unease was fairly well maintained but yes, the ending in particular was rather a disappointment.

John H    Sunday October 13, 2013   

It always appears in the Top 100 horror film lists and suchlike. You are right – I can’t really see why.

The Book Tower    Sunday December 8, 2013   

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