I remember seeing The Changeling many years ago in the mid-80s and it scared the heck out of me then, so now that the creepy 80s horror is coming to Blu-ray I’ve braved the movie again for the purposes of bringing you a review.
Having not seen The Changeling for a few years, it was nice to be able to watch the movie with only distant memories of how much it scared me, but I do have to say that it still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and scare the heck out of me, which only goes to show how well the movie has stood the test of time and just how brilliant this horror is.
Peter Medak’s The Changeling is a film that is much loved by horror fans and you can see why the film is known for influencing film-makers Martin Scorsese and Alejandro Amenabar, right from the very start you are given a false sense of what is about to come, the opening scene of George C. Scott and his family on a snowy road, with them laughing and joking as they move the car off the road, as Scott’s character phones the breakdown, then it happens, the moment that will set his journey to the terrifying time at The House on Cheesman Park!
After losing his wife and daughter, composer John Russell (George C. Scott) decides to leave the family home and take up residence in the old mansion, everything goes well, at first, but we’re given those moments that something just isn’t right, there is a wonderful scene where Russell is playing the piano, the camera pans around from one side of the house and heads to the music room, as he leaves the room, the camera moves to the keys, then one key is pressed by an invisible finger. Very unnerving and lovely touch that gives you chills while watching The Changeling.
Adding to the fear factor is the DD 5.1 mix that you can pick in the settings, this opens up the audio of The Changeling from the stereo mix, with many scenes using the rear speakers to full effect, the banging in the early hours of the morning that wake Russell to the sounds of rolling thunder and other atmospheric sounds.
The Changeling is a masterpiece of how horrors used to be made, the film plays off the psychological shocks that even now almost 40 years later still work extremely well, the image of a face in the bathtub, Russell’s daughter’s bouncing ball down the staircase which he gets rid of and it returns, even now that scene sends shivers down my spine.
George C. Scott is perfectly cast as John Russell and his performance in The Changeling is one that has stuck with me over the years since I first saw the film, it’s probably the film that really got me into this genre of horror. The film is an emotional rollercoaster ride, you feel for the character that has lost his wife and child, with what he is going through the spirit in the house certainly connects to him and you feel for his loss and fears.
The restored version on Blu-ray has some amazingly vibrant colours and it looks great, even watching it from behind a pillow, as I mentioned earlier the DD 5,1 mix is very nicely done and the Stereo mix sounds nice and clear as well, packed with loads of special features, this newly restored version of The Changeling is one that every classic horror fan should have in their collection.
George C. Scott (The Hustler) is joined by a strong cast including his wife Trish Van Devere (Where’s Poppa) and Oscar-winning actor Melvyn Douglas (Being There).
The Changeling Special Features
- New 4K scan and restoration presented in HDR10
- Audio Commentary with Director Peter Medak and Producer Joel B. Michaels
- Interview with Peter Medak by filmmaker Adrián García Bogliano at Mórbido Fest 2018
- Exile on Curzon St. – Peter Medak on his early years in swinging London
- The House on Cheesman Park – The Haunting True Story of The Changeling
- Audio commentary with Actors Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger and Paul A. Partain, and Art Director Robert A. Burns
- The Music of The Changeling – an interview with Music Arranger Kenneth Wannberg
- Building the House Of Horror – an interview with Art Director Reuben Freed
- The Psychotronic Tourist
- Master of horror Mick Garris on The Changeling
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Christopher Shy
- 108-page book with new essays by Martyn Conterio, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Rich Johnson, Mikel J Koven, Meagan Navarro, Rachel Reeves, Shelagh Rown-Legg, and Heather Wixson plus an archive interview with Peter Medak
- Original Soundtrack CD
- 5 collectors’ art cards
The Changeling heads to Blu-ray and 4K UHD Limited Edition on the 5th of June 2023 and is available to pre-order now.