The Changeling

The Changeling (1980) movie poster

(1980) dir. Peter Medak
viewed: 10/31/03

I had seen this film as a kid on some late night horror show and recognized it as a more classic ghost story. I have read since then that it is one of those films that has been considered to stand the test of time fairly well. A traditional approach to narrative and building tension through atmosphere rather than cheap surprises and gore.

This time around I was terribly sleepy while watching it and didn’t really make it all the way through it with total consciousness. Though, I was certain that I didn’t drift off to sleep for very long intervals…moments really. Still, I didn’t have an absolutely coherent viewing of it, it must be said.

What I did note about the film, though was its echoes of other contemporary horror films, namely The Shining and The Omen. I kept noticing the camera work in the haunted house, unsure if it was indeed steadicam work as in the Kubrick film. I believe the camera tracked through the house at a high angle, tied in with the looming music on the soundtrack. It reminded me of what I consider to be The Shining‘s key factor, which is just that the weird low angle steadicam movement throughout the building, something so distinct in and of itself that it stands out almost as much as the film or the images therein. It is an otherworldly view, unlike a perspective that we are unfamiliar with.

Peter Medak’s The Changeling stands up fairly well. Next time, I will hopefully be more awake for it.

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