Day 18: The Changeling (1980)


I love a good shoutout to British folklore, and I am quite fond of George C. Scott (who stars in one of my all-time favorite movies). I also find the whole “based on a true story” premise tantalizing, because (if nothing else about this project comes across) I like to have my mind blown, just a bit, and there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, etc.

Writer/composer Russell Hunter claimed to live much of this story when he took advantage of an old house with unbelievably low rent in Denver. (The film is relocated to Seattle — good call, atmosphere-wise. To my knowledge, Denver doesn’t have any subterranean tunnels, and port cities are just…dreadful, in the best possible way.) There’s a great detail about how he just happened to bump into some guy at a party who told him how to access a secret staircase leading up to the blocked-off third floor…apparently, no other party guests could verify the man’s existence, and Hunter didn’t get the fellow’s name.

YouTube was, as always, accommodating. (I am equally grateful to the friend who fielded a lot of my mildly on-edge texts and helpfully pointed out that George C. Scott is a somewhat forgotten actor, for reasons neither of us can understand.)

Casting grief as a specter is  one of the reasons I loved The Babadook, which has a fair amount of Changeling DNA. But I do have to wonder why a grieving widower would rent out a house the size of the Hermitage.

originally published Oct 19 2015

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