The Changeling (1980) **** Bluray release

July 28th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Peter Medak | Cast: George C Scott, Trish Van Devere, Joh Colicos, Melvyn Douglas | Horror | 107′

Born into a Jewish family of textile merchants in 1937 director Peter Medak fled his native Hungary during the late 1950s uprising to embark on a film career in the UK which would see him directing for both TV and the big screen. In 1963 he signed with Paramount Pictures where his feature debut was Negatives (1968). This was followed by such successes as The Ruling Class (1972); The Krays (1990) and Let Him Have It 1991). Medak’s TV work includes episodes for The Wire; Hannibal; Homicide: Life on the Streets and Breaking Bad. Slated to world premiere at Venice this September, his latest film is a documentary entitled The Ghost of Peter Sellers based on the unreleased film Ghost in the Midday Sun, filmed in Cyprus in 1973.

The Changeling is a gripping supernatural thriller anchored by a terrific turn from George C Scott as a talented composer who seeks solace in a remote West Coast mansion after the tragic death of his wife and daughter. In this stylish horror outing, Medak quails away from cheap thrills and sensationalism in favour of a more elegant and intriguing approach gradually inveigling us into the life of John Russell (Scott) and the mysterious history of his haunted home and its connections to a powerful local senator (Spencer Carmichael). All the usual tropes are deftly employed to disturbing effect: murderous wheelchairs, mysterious banging doors and séances, as the sceptical Scott and his friend Claire Norman (real wife Trish Van Devere) gradually identify both victim and usurper in a shocking and satisfying denouement.  MT 


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