It’s about time to watch a scary movie to summon and instill the Spirit of Halloween.
My recommendation is The Changeling. No, not the Clint Eastwood thriller starring Angelina Jolie written by J. Michael Straczynski which comes out this month. The Peter Medak haunting starring George C. Scott from a story by Russell Hunter.
The Changeling scares me more than any other fright flick. Sure, I’ve experienced the willies from other movies. But in terms of a cohesive whole, I believe The Changeling has more bang.
And banging is just one of the unsettling aspects of the house in the movie. I’m not going to bother to relay the plot to you. It’s standard ghost story fare…except expertly crafted. It balances psychological terror and “jump-out-at-you” without relying on either too heavily. An element of mystery abounds, as George C. Scott endeavors to know what event happened in the house. It’s giving me the creeps thinking about it now.
I’d been peripherally aware of the film, but first gave it notice at a Halloween party. Well, a little. Due to the lively party, the television merely provided an eerie glow to the festivities. Attention waned, drawing us in every so often. Then, during Winter Break, I saw it scheduled as “The Million Dollar Movie” after the 11 o’Clock News. Remembering it seemed quite good, I decided I should pay it full attention. I didn’t sleep very well that night. Then, a year later, during Winter Break, what should be scheduled as “The Million Dollar Movie” right after the 11 o’Clock News? Yes, you guessed right. Since I did not have cable, my choices were slim. So I opted to watch it again. My rationale? “It’s a great film. I’ve seen it before, so I won’t be scared this time if I know what’s coming. I can pick up nuances.” Well, I very quickly learned. The movie is more frightening the second time around. You see, once you know what that banging sound IS, you’re hard pressed to not be in knots inside. And since the rest of it is downright creepy, your chills are only blanketed with gloom. Yep, it’s worse (in the good way) upon another viewing.
I also noticed a filming technique which escaped me the first time around. Perhaps I’m slow for not having realized it, but there is something about the way it’s filmed which…yes, you guessed right…makes it even scarier. Do forgive me not stating said technique. Trust me, you really want to figure it out on your own.
To be fair, I have known people to not be affected by this movie. So please don’t hold it against me if you’re not impressed. But if you do decide to give it a whirl, please, do so under the right conditions. Such as in the dark, late at night, maybe even alone. As I did. Twice. And allow yourself into the story…if I’m right it will engage you right off the bat.