Welcome to 31 Days of ’80s Horror boys and ghouls! Each day in October I’ll be posting about a horror film from the 1980s, some of which you may have heard of, others may be a little more obscure. This is the month to celebrate all things spooky so I wanted to present some films from my favorite era of the horror genre. I hope you enjoy the column and discover some new ’80s horror flicks to watch, or rewatch, whatever the case may be. I know I’ll be checking out some of these ghastly tales myself since I’ve come across a few that even I’ve never heard of! So on with the horror! On with the terror! On with the ’80s!
After his wife and daughter are killed in an accident, classical composer John Russell relocates to Seattle to teach at his alma mater. Looking for a quiet place to rest and continue writing music, he is referred to a large, sparsely furnished estate in the outlying countryside. He takes the house, appreciating its remoteness and the solitude it might afford, and diverts himself by settling in and composing music. It isn’t long before he realizes there is something in the house as he keeps hearing a loud, repetitive pounding noise in an upper room. He soon finds himself dealing with a ghost whose mystery wants to be solved and it’s up to John to find the frightening truth about the house’s past and what horrible things happened there.
Peter Medak (various Twilight Zone episodes, Species II) directs this 1980 haunted house mystery film that stars George C. Scott (Dr. Stranglove, Patton) and Trish Van Devere (The Hearse). I remember the first time I watched The Changeling quite well. My friend and I watched it and he was so freaked out by the movie, it made the whole experience that much more fun. When that red ball bounces down the stairs.. oh man, that got quite the reaction. I’ve since rewatched it with someone different and they weren’t very into the movie but I definitely fall on the side of appreciation when it comes to The Changeling. It’s got some good atmosphere and some good cinematography that will have fans of the haunted house genre pleased, as long as they don’t mind something that is a bit on the slow side.
How to watch The Changeling
The Changeling is currently available on DVD. (Buy The Changeling on DVD)
To see the other entries in the 31 Days of ’80s Horror column, click here!
by Ben McBride
Follow Ben on @monsterpopcorn