Friday, January 21, 2011


(March 1980, U.S.)

For the sake of clarity, let me say that this is NOT the Clint Eastwood directed film with Angelina Jolie that came out in 2008. This is the 1980 horror film with George C. Scott. I would also start out by noting that the timing for this film was just about perfect because if you look it up, you'll see that 1980 was a quintessential year for horror movies, including titles like FRIDAY THE 13TH, THE FOG and Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece THE SHINING.

This is a hanunted house story that is supposedly based on true events (it seems like they ALL are!) and one that also operates on the purist, most basic elements of house hanting; loud banging, strong winds, doors opening and closing by themselves, chandeliers rattling and, of course, the inevitable seance to attempt communication with spirits that are not at rest. But I have to also add that George C. Scott adds an element of fear and terror in his facial language that can, at times, be even more frightening than the spooky stuff you're hearing and seeing in the film. The spirit at the heart of this haunting is just a small boy, but a small boy who died horribly by the hands of his own father at the house in question at the turn of the century. The interesting twist is how his body was buried in secret and a substitute boy (a CHANGELING) was put in his place to inherit a huge family fortune. Because when you're investigating the causes of a haunted house, you're bound to dig up some dirty family secrets of the past along the way, right? Getting back to the basic elements of house haunting for a moment, I've almost come to expect the haunted house in question to catch fire and burn to the ground at the end, and in the rubble there would remain a small sign that the haunting spirit is STILL not a rest. THE CHANGELING doesn't disappoint on the score, either.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Seance Medium: "How did you die, Joseph? Did you die in this house? Why do you remain?"

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