The Changeling (Horror) [Movie/Review]


Year: 1980
Genre: Horror

Director: Peter Medak
Source: Blu-Ray (Second Sight Films)

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.

It starts as a haunted house affair, but becomes more of a prove who is the murderer kind of deal. I really like this one, it has great acting, a spooky house, antique wheelchair, a creepy scene with a medium and automatic writing. The cast is older on the scale, I wonder if a movie today would have the same? I doubt it,

George C. Scott is amazing in the lead, so natural, so charismatic. It made me want to look up his acting catalogue immediately. But one thing that makes me wonder is why did people back in the day look so much older than people the same age do today? And I don’t mean their clothing, He is here 54, but look older than people I know around me that is 75 today.


Parts of the movie where filmed in New York and Seattle, USA. But mainly it was filmed on different locations in British Columbia, Canada.

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.

The house seen in the movie never actually did exist. The film-makers could not find a suitable mansion to use for the film so at a cost of around $200,000, the production had a Victorian gothic mansion facade attached to the front of a much more modern dwelling in a Vancouver street. This construction was used for the filming of all the exteriors of the movie’s Carmichael Mansion. The interiors of the haunted house were an elaborate group of interconnecting sets built inside a film studio in Vancouver.

I love the look of old wheelchairs and this movie got a perfect one.
I would love to have one, but where do I look?

The blu-ray version I watched comes from british Second Sight film and looks and sounds really good. Apperently it’s a new 4k scan. The short documentary that comes as a special feature about this house was also very interesting.

Bonus Features 

  • Brand new 4K scan and restoration
  • Audio commentary with director Peter Medak and producer Joel B. Michaels
  • The House on Cheesman Park – The Haunting True Story of The Changeling
  • The Music of The Changeling – Interview with Music Arranger Kenneth Wannberg
  • Building The House of Horror – Interview with Art Director Reuben Freed
  • The Psychotronic Tourist – The Changeling
  • Master of Horror Mick Garris on The Changeling
  • Trailer, TV Spot
  • New English subtitles for the hearing impaired
  • Reversible sleeve with new artwork by Christopher Shy and original poster artwork


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