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Raw Performance Amplifies Classic Haunted House Story

The Changeling (4K)


Genre: Horror, Mystery
Year Released: 1980, 2023 Second Sight 4K/Blu-ray
Runtime: 1h 47m
Director(s): Peter Medak
Writer(s): Russell Hunter, William Gray, Diana Maddox
Cast: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas
Where To Watch: Available June 5, 2023; pre-order now here

RAVING REVIEW: Enter THE CHANGELING, a mesmerizing supernatural drama from the '80s that promises more than a few scares via old-school haunted house methods. Director Peter Medak has captured a genuinely unforgettable narrative by melding an emotionally resonant exploration of personal grief and loss with a chill-inducing phantom tale.

In the eye of the storm stands George C. Scott, who steps into the shoes of John Russell, a New York composer grappling with personal catastrophe. Hoping to seek solace, Russell heads to Seattle, unaware of the terror that will befall him once he arrives.

Secrets and mysteries abound, ranging from hidden treasures to a senator shrouded in shadows that could rival any film noir's ambiguity. Scott brings to life a powerfully raw performance that sets the mood for the entire film. This isn’t your classic boogeyman movie; this film relies heavily on the unknown and your mind to experience the frights that happen.

The eerie mansion doesn't just lurk in the background; it demands the spotlight with its secret doors and creepy rooms. Factor in Medak's gorgeous suspense-generating cinematography, and you've got a film that's a feast for the eyes while simultaneously sending shivers down your spine.

THE CHANGELING also delves deep into the core of human emotions, highlighting how personal tragedies can leave indelible marks. An unexpected twist unearths a secret potent enough to change lives, thus adding another layer of interest to an already captivating narrative.

Penned by William Gray and Diana Maddox, the screenplay emphasizes Russell's journey toward healing. The supernatural elements are intermixed with the narrative's essence. Composers Rick Wilkins and Howard Blake deliver an exceptional score that sets the mood, and each note adds tension to the creepy ambiance.

THE CHANGELING maintains its feet firmly on the ground despite it being a ghost story at its core. The characters' reactions to the will strike a familiar chord – skepticism, disbelief, and rational reasoning – mirroring our responses to the unknown. The characters are flawed, human, and relatable, making the narrative more captivating.

Although arguably a solid experience from start to finish, the film is a slow burn, and some modern audiences may need more patience to appreciate it fully. This is a film that I would love to see remade, but one that would have to keep to the roots of the original, keeping the CGI to a minimum and instead focusing on the thriller aspect of it like this did.

THE CHANGELING is a shining example of a supernatural film that treads the line between horror and drama. It's not merely a spine-chilling ghost story; it's a film that emotionally engages its audience. It embodies the power of character-driven horror that haunts viewers long after the credits. It proves that fear can evolve into a sublime piece of cinematic art.

Special Features:
New 4K scan and restoration presented in HDR
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 in 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 Rowan-Legg, and Heather Wixson plus an archive interview with Peter Medak
Original Soundtrack CD
Five collectors' art cards 

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[photo courtesy of SECOND SIGHT FILMS]