Monday, December 21, 2009

'The Changeling' is among greatest ghost movies ever

The Changeling (1980)
Starring: George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere
Director: Peter Medak
Rating: Ten of Ten Stars

John Russell (Scott) moves from New York to the Pacific Northwest to get a fresh start after his wife and daughter are killed in a car accident. The still-grieving widower rents a ramshackle old mansion where an escalating series of odd occurrences lead him into communication with an angry, and increasingly violent, ghost. Will John uncover the secrets that have been locked inside the Chessman House for over seven decades, or will he become the victim of anger, hurt, and betrayal so deep that even death couldn't still it?

"The Changeling" is one of the top five horror movies ever made, and definitely one of the very best haunted house movies ever made. The cast is excellent, the pacing of the film is perfect--with tension building and building with each manifestation of the ghost. Who knew that a little rubber ball could be an object of terror? Well, after watching "The Changeling" you will!

The movie is particularly remarkable in this day and age, because not a single one of the scares is of the "gotcha" or false variety. When the movie presents something scary and ominous, it truly is. The film also presents its scares without any gore, virtually no violence, and very few special effects--and there isn't a cartoon--sorry, CGI--monster to be seen anywhere. "The Changeling" delivers tension and terror through masterful camera usage, lighting, set design, and great acting. They, sadly, don't make them like this anymore.

The only unfortunate part about "The Changeling" is that is sort of stalls at the very end. After a tremendous build-up and what is the start of a powerful climax, the film sort of hiccups and seems to run out of gas. But this is only the last few minutes. Everything up to that point is a ghost movie that is made perfectly.

This film is a must-see for everyone who loves ghost stories and horror movies.


  1. Not to be confused with the Angelina Jolie film of the same name.

  2. Very true. I'm relieved it turned out to be a completely different film, because I don't think anyone could do a remake that could touch the original. (I haven't seen the Jolie picture. Maybe someday....)

  3. I haven't either, but hear the period set design and costumes are all well done.