Looking Back On ‘The Changeling’ (1980) Retro Movie Review

George C. Scott’s hidden ghost story, The Changeling, is a timeless classic that has inspired many filmmakers since its release on March 28, 1980, including the present horror master Guillermo del Toro. Martin Scorsese called The Changeling “one of my favorite horror films of all time.” Director Peter Medak, who has credits directing episodes of Hannibal, Breaking Bad and even HBO’s The Wire, has stated that Steven Spielberg showed The Changeling during production on his little known film Poltergeist (1982) to set the tone of the feature. It also had significant influence on the beautifully shot Nicole Kidman vehicle, The Others (2001).

Director Peter Medak (The Ruling Class 1972) gave us a masterpiece of such admirable direction that the end result could – and should – be used in film classes across the world to show aspiring filmmakers how to create the perfect sense of dread and tension. The story itself is emotionally draining, giving the viewer full-blown anxiety attacks. The performances he gets out of someone like George C. Scott are just phenomenal, especially knowing that he pulled this whole thing together just because his career went on the blink.

If you have Shudder, you can watch Joe Bob Briggs doing an excellent episode on The Last Drive-In where he goes into full detail on how George C. Scott was in the twilight of his career doing awful film after awful film, including The Day of The Dolphin (1973). If you like films like Hereditary (2018 – read our review here) and The Lodge (2020 – read our review here), then you should search this one out.

We’re all basically quarantined right now, so it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on movies that you’ve never seen before. Severin Films recently gave us a collector’s edition Blu-ray which features the spooky score on a CD, so be sure to check that one out.

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