Star rating: ****
The 1980 incarnation of the spectacular chiller thriller The Changeling was released on Blu-ray on 20 August this year and it’s lost none of it’s appealing jump-a-minute drama – in fact it’s even more horror-tastic than I remember.
It’s a movie that has been described by King of horror, Stephen King as a film that has scared him personally “A child’s ball bouncing down a flight of stairs was enough to scare the daylights out of me” quotes King, and I have to agree with him. The subtlety of suggestion is one of the film’s many strengths.
The story follows central character, John Russell (George C. Scott) as he starts a new life in the wake of the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a car crash. The house in which Russell is seeking solitude is set to turn on him as water gushes from the taps without warning and there’s an apparition of a drowned boy in the bath tub. All goes hand in hand with the noises that strike up loudly every morning. Enlisting the help of local historian, Claire Norman (Trish Van DeVere), he is determined to get to the bottom of the disturbances in the house. As the mystery begins to unfold, U.S. Senator Joseph Carmichael (Melvyn Douglas) becomes mixed up in the unravelling of a sickening tale.
I prefer the earlier version to the 2008 adaptation as the casting seems to gel better and the overall atmospheric pace of the plot feels altogether creepier which, for such a prolific horror film, is necessary in my humble opinion.
I’m not a fan of horror movies as a rule and certain elements of the story are not essentially my bag, however this is certainly watchable and a must-see for fans of the classic.
Not only is The Changeling available on Blu-ray, there are a number of limited edition collector’s sets to purchase too. Take a look and treat yourself in time for Halloween!