Jessica's January Pick
“Composer John Russell (George C. Scott) is vacationing with his family when a car accident kills his wife and daughter. Distraught with grief, Russell leaves his home in New York City for a giant, secluded house near Seattle. Soon Russell starts to feel the presence of a ghost, a boy who drowned in the bathtub there. Russell seeks the assistance of Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere), who led him to the house initially, in uncovering the secrets of the boy's death.”
The Changeling is a Canadian psychological horror film that was released March 24, 1980, and was directed by Peter Medak. The film is based upon paranormal events that writer Russel Hunter claimed he experienced while living in the Henry Treat Rogers mansion in the 1960s. The story is that after a series of unexplained events that occurred in the house, Russel discovered a century-old journal that described the life of a disabled boy hidden away in secret by his parents. Russel then decided to have a seance, where it was believed that the spirit of the young boy led him to another home where he found human remains and a gold medallion that held the boy’s name on it.
I first saw The Changeling about four years ago, as it was part of my selecting one horror movie to watch when visiting Kelly. This was before I finally admitted to myself I was a fan of horror films and began to engage in them more actively. I have always been a fan of paranormal stories. I had focused more on the literary aspects of the horror genre reading ghost stories and about most famous haunted houses. I would watch those paranormal investigative stories on tv and always scare myself and I would always seem to do it when I was by myself. When I selected the movie, I know wanted to watch something with a haunted house feeling and have an aspect of a ghost story involved. The Changeling was exactly what I wanted and it has become one of my favourite psychological horror films in the paranormal subgenre of horror.
There are scenes in this film that have lingered with me for years from the ball going down the stairwell, the wheelchair chasing Claire out of the house, the apparition of the boy drowning in the bathtub and of course the eerie calling for “My Medal” from a ghost-like child voice. This line in the film always sends shivers down my spine. The seance scene is beautifully orchestrated and you sit with anticipation the entire time. This film beautifully combines scenery, music, and dialogue that creates an atmosphere that makes the viewer feel uncomfortable. You watch the film wanting to be curled up in a blanket because you know something bad is going to happen.
The Changeling is an underrated film that deserves to get more attention then I find it does. While it may not be as intense as The Amityville Horror or The Conjuring, I feel it is a film that has greatly influenced these classics.