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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Movie Marathon: Changeling

This is another haunted house story. I seem to be fond of haunted house stories. The centerpiece of this movie is a scene that sounds totally laughable when you try to describe it to anyone who hasn't seen it. 
It involves a wet ball bouncing down a flight of steps.
If you've seen the movie, you know the moment I mean.
And you know how scary it was.
George C. Scott starred in The Changeling and when you realized how scared his character was by that wet ball, you lost all shame about being scared yourself.
Because you know, George C. Scott was scared so you'd better believe that it was scary.
The movie co-starred Melvyn Douglas, a two-time Oscar winner who also had an Emmy and a Tony on his mantle. Douglas' last movie was Ghost Story, based on  Peter Straub's novel of the same name. I wasn't a huge fan of Ghost Story, but it was a chance to see Douglas, Fred Astaire, John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in the same movie. The movie also co-starred Trish Van Devere, Scott's fifth wife, who also co-starred with him in Day of the Dolphin.(Scott actually married Colleen Dewhurst twice.)
The movie was directed by a man named Peter Medak who is the hardest working man in show business. Born in 1937 in Hungary, he fled to the UK when he was 21. He's directed 60 movies (and has one coming out next year). His resume includes a lot of television (like Breaking Bad) but an eclectic list of features too, from Zorro the Gay Blade to The Krays.
The movie was the second feature for screenwriter William Gray, who also wrote The Philadelphia Experiment and a terrific genre movie called Black Moon Rising with Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Hamilton. Mostly since then he's worked in TV, writing episodes of everything from Dark Shadows to the Killer Wave miniseries that ran in 2007.
The Changeling is another "classy" horror story of the kind that's been out of vogue for awhile.  Pair it with Nicole Kidman's The Others for a Halloween double feature.

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