The Changeling (1980).

This is a really overlooked Ghost Story. I’ve just watched it, alone, in the dark. Well i watched the first three quarters in the dark, then I gave in and turned a light on – it’s that good / scary.

I can’t even remember this film, as in seeing the video box in shops in the 80’s, etc. I searched it out after randomly reading other blogs. It’s a film i’d highly recommend.

Starting out a bit like a TV movie – quickly the minimal use of sound and dread inspiring direction gets your hairs flexing. George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere give astonishingly strong dead pan performances. It’s a world away from overblown effects laden Hollywood of today.

The lead character is a grieving music lecturer. His wife and child are killed in a road accident in the movies opening scene. I won’t give away any plot spoliers but the build, tension and pace of the movie is superb.

Many times during the film you’ll be watching in near dread mumbling to yourself “don’t go in that room”, etc.

With a backdrop of corruption and unsolved murder you urge the lead character to go on but also feel his grief and persistance. The performance by the leading actress is one of under stated sheer terror at times.

There is a five-minute sequence that really feels like about half an hour – it’s that tense.

It all plays out very well. The ending has some very strong visual imagery that may leave a disturbing imprint. However the film has a strong moral tone and the supernatural force is one you can sympathise with. Rare.

I figured I was totally desensitised to horror due to watching (and making) so many films in my youth. The Changeling has something special.

Do seek it out.

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