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The Changeling (1980)

R | | Horror | 28 March 1980 (USA)
A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.

Director:

Peter Medak

Writers:

Russell Hunter (story), William Gray (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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11 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George C. Scott ... John Russell
Trish Van Devere ... Claire Norman
Melvyn Douglas ... Senator Carmichael
Jean Marsh ... Joanna Russell
John Colicos ... Captain DeWitt
Barry Morse ... Parapsychologist
Madeleine Sherwood ... Mrs. Norman (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Helen Burns ... Leah Harmon
Frances Hyland ... Mrs. Grey
Ruth Springford ... Minnie Huxley
Eric Christmas ... Albert Harmon
Roberta Maxwell ... Eva Lingstrom
Bernard Behrens ... Robert Lingstrom
James B. Douglas James B. Douglas ... Eugene Carmichael
J. Kenneth Campbell ... Security Guard
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Storyline

It was the perfect family vacation for composer John Russell and his family when a freak automobile accident claims the lives of his wife and daughter. Consumed by grief, John, at the request of friends, rents an old turn of the century house. Mammoth in size, the house seems all the room that John needs to write music and reflect. He does not realize that he is not alone in the house. He shares it with the spirit of a child who has homed in on John's despair and uses him to uncover decades of silence and deceit. With the help of Claire Norman, the one who aided John in procuring the house, they race to find the answers and soon learn that a devious and very powerful man guards them. Written by Vampire-Sharpshooter

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"How did you die, Joseph...? Did you die in this house...? Why do you remain...?" See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

House on Chessman Park See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD7,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is based on events which supposedly took place at Henry Treat Rogers Mansion in Denver, Colorado, whilst writer Russell Hunter was living there during the 1960s. The Chessman Park neighborhood in the movie is a reference to Cheesman Park in Denver, where the original haunting transpired. See more »

Goofs

(at around 34 mins) After John Russell discovers the secret stairs he gets to a room with an open door. When he looks into the room, the camera moves back and reveals a shadow of a human head disappearing on the left side of the screen. Either this is fully intentional by the filmmaker or it's a shadow of a crew member. See more »

Quotes

John Russell: You goddamn son of a bitch. What is it you want?
[shouting]
John Russell: What do you want from me? I've done everything I can do!
[pause]
John Russell: There's nothing more to do.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in We Are Still Here (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony #1 in C minor, Opus 68
Composed by Johannes Brahms (as Brahms)
Performed by The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Kazuyoshi Akiyama
See more »

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User Reviews

Extremely Effective Ghost Story
12 August 2018 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

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.


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