Thursday, October 11, 2007

Overlooked Movie Horror Classics: The Changeling

"I think you have to be schizoid three different ways to be an actor. You've got to be three different people. You have to be a human being. Then you have to be the character you're playing. And on top of that you've got to be the guy sitting out there in Row 10, watching yourself and judging yourself. That's why most of us are crazy to start with, or go nuts once we get into it. I mean, don't you think it's a pretty spooky way to earn a living?" ~George C. Scott on acting

John Russell (George C. Scott), a composer and music professor, loses his wife and daughter in a tragic accident. Seeking solace, he moves into an old mansion unoccupied for twelve years. But a child-like presence seems to be sharing the house, and trying to share its secrets, with him. Through research into the house's past and a seance held within, Russell discovers the horrific secret of the house's past, a secret that the presence will no longer allow to be kept.

Click here to watch a scene from the movie:

"How did you die, Joseph...? Did you die in this house...? Why do you remain...?"
Whatever you do...DON'T GO INTO THE ATTIC.

Fun Trivia:
The movie is based on 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.

Before Peter Medak was given the job, two British directors were considered; one of the original choices, Tony Richardson, declined due to creative differences.

The Changeling was the first film to win Best Picture in the Canadian Film Awards after its name was changed to "Genie" Awards.

Fun Quotes:
John Russell: It's my understanding... that there are, uh... twenty-three students registered... for this series of lectures on advanced musical form. Now, we all know it's not raining outside, and unless there's a fire in some other part of the building that we don't know about, there's an awful lot of people here with nothing better to do.

Minnie Huxley: That house is not fit to live in. No one's been able to live in it. It doesn't want people.

"Father?...My medal."

A subtle and great classic of horror, everyone should see this!


Mob said...

Fantastic choice, I love this movie!

I would definitely question the idea of moving into this sprawling mansion alone to grieve, but it makes for a great setting.

I remember watching this on late night television as a kid around age 13 or so and thinking a damned wheelchair would chase me down our hall.

Dale said...

This movie scared the crap out of me when I was younger although sadly (for me), I didn't feel it really held up watching it again a couple of years ago. I wanted it to. Damn me!

Becca said...

Oh my gosh your right mansion + greiving = urine soaked pants...I mean imagine all the unknown echoes and cold breezes.

Excellent movie of the scariest I've seen. That wheelchair was really scary but for me it's the " medal" ghostly voice that freaks me out. Almost as creepy as the heavy breathing in Suspiria.

Oh man sorry it didn't hold up for you! There is nothing worse than revisiting a movie you really enjoyed years later and realizing you don't enjoy it anymore.

Video Zeta One said...

Maybe I'm just getting skiddish and jumpy in my old age, but this movie scared the crap out of me. I thought it got a bit less creepy as the movie progressed, but the first half had me turning the lights on.

There's a bunch of relatively forgotten movies from the 1970's like this that did horror the way it should be done(light on gore, heavy on scares). Alice, Sweet Alice and Don't Look Now instantly come to mind. I enjoyed Hostel and Saw, but there's something to be said for creating true terror without resorting to gore.

Cilicious said...

Agree with gilligan. The movie got kinda hokey towards the end, but started out absolutely brilliantly.
I also agree about Don't Look Now.The Changeling is the only movie that made my husband jump in his seat.