The Changeling

March 28th, 1980


The Changeling

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A man staying at a secluded historical mansion, finds his life being haunted by the presence of a spectre.

Release Year: 1980

Rating: 7.3/10 (11,136 voted)

Director: Peter Medak

Stars: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas

It was the perfect family vacation for composer John Russell and his family when a freak automobile accident claims the lives of his wife and daughter. Consumed by grief, John, at the request of friends, rents an old turn of the century house. Mammoth in size, the house seems all the room that John needs to write music and reflect. He does not realize that he is not alone in the house. He shares it with the spirit of a murdered child who has homed in on John's despair and uses him to uncover decades of silence and deceit. With the help of Claire Norman, the one who aided John in procuring the house, they race to find the answers and soon learn that a devious and very powerful man guards them.

Writers: Russell Hunter, William Gray

George C. Scott - John Russell
Trish Van Devere - Claire Norman
Melvyn Douglas - Senator Joe Carmichael
Jean Marsh - Joanna Russell
John Colicos - Captain DeWitt
Barry Morse - Dr. Pemberton
Madeleine Sherwood - Mrs. Norman (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Helen Burns - Leah Harmon
Frances Hyland - Mrs.Elizabeth Grey
Ruth Springford - Minnie Huxley
Eric Christmas - Albert Harmon
Roberta Maxwell - Eva Lingstrom
Bernard Behrens - Prof. Robert Lingstrom
James B. Douglas - Eugene Carmichael
J. Kenneth Campbell - Security Guard

Taglines: Two people live in this house. One of them has been dead for 70 years.

Release Date: 28 March 1980

Filming Locations: Boeing Field - 7149 Perimeter Road, Seattle, Washington, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $CAD7,600,000 (estimated)

Gross: €448,938 (Spain) (1980)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The movie is based on events which supposedly took place at a house in Denver, Colorado, in the 1960s. The Chessman Park neighborhood in the movie is a reference to Cheesman Park in Denver, where the original haunting transpired.

Crew or equipment visible: After John Russell discovers the secret stairs he gets to a room with an open door. When he looks into the room, the camera moves back and reveals a shadow of a human head disappearing on the left side of the screen. Either this is fully intentional by the filmmaker or it's a shadow of a crew member. This occurs approximately 34:32 (min.) into the film.

John Russell: [to Senator Carmichael] You're the beneficiary of the worst kind of murder... murder for profit!

User Review

First-Rate Haunted Horror


George C. Scott loses his wife and daughter in a car accident, moves to Seattle, and rents a gigantic old mansion with a haunted secret past. This film is skillfully directed by Peter Medak who gets more that even he probably bargained from a solid cast of actors, a wonderful script, and one great-looking eerie old house. Medak creates tons of suspense with the barest sight of blood. This film reeks atmosphere. The house reeks atmosphere. Scott's performance and that of veteran Melvyn Douglass reek atmosphere. Doors creak, balls mysteriously bounce, water runs, windows break in the old house trying to tell Scott about the secret of a young child that once lived there. The script is fanciful yet well-written and very creative. Scott gives an atypically subdued performance that suggests passion, heartbreak, and tenacity. The rest of the performers are very good too. I cannot remember the last time Mr. Douglass gave a poor performance. Some of the scenes that really stand out in my mind are flashback sequences showing the terrible secret that has been hidden in the house for over 70 years. Medak doesn't have a huge budget to work with here, but this movie beats out newer haunted house films like the remake of The Haunting by leaps and bounds. This is one classy scare film!


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