Author Topic: The Second Scariest Film Ever...  (Read 3345 times)

Devious Viper
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The Second Scariest Film Ever...
« on: November 04, 2005, 03:54:01 PM »
The Changeling (1980) (included as a classic as it is a quarter of a century old now!)

This is it. This is the scariest film in colour (see "The Haunting" for scariest EVER.) 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. And George C. Scott proves why he’s one of the world’s finest actors. His performance in this film is what holds the intricate plot together.

After losing his wife and daughter in an auto accident that looks like anything but, John Russell, a New York City composer and music teacher, moves into an immense house in Washington State that would make anyone with blood in their veins s**t their pants. The corridors seem to go on forever. After frequently being awakened to the sound of rhythmic banging noises (inspired by "The Haunting" ? I like to think so) every morning, Russell begins to discover slight clues that eventually lead him to a deliberately concealed room which obviously housed a child at one time. There are artifacts that appear innocuous at first but upon closer examination they reveal the remnants of an awful secret...

What follows are a series of truly scary sequences, including a séance, the apparition of a small boy residing in a well beneath a young girl’s floor, a child’s wheelchair, and perhaps the scariest rubber ball ever filmed (if you've seen the film, you know I ain't kidding!). To divulge any more of the carefully and slowly constructed plot would ruin a truly creepy film experience. Medak uses the set of this house to maximum effect as the camera drifts or zooms from one room to another. The effect of non-diegetic music (the film’s score) overlapping diegetic music (the old music box spewing forth the exact tune that Russell contests he originally wrote) is goosebump-inducing. I still will not watch this film when I'm alone!

By today’s standards, this film may seem slow, pedantic, and boring, but give it a chance. I’m personally not a fan of the quick digital editing that has been hitting audiences over the heads since computers gave Hollywood movieolas and Steenbacks the pink slip. This film takes its time.

I don’t know who Rick Wilkins is, but he wrote the score to the film. To say that this score is brilliant is a terrible understatement. I know nothing about "reviewing" film music, but this score is just gorgeous: sad, creepy, scary, and utterly listenable. The score was released on CD by Percepto Records from the master tapes several years back, but unfortunately it is currently out of print. The CD contains a wonderful booklet highlighting the history of the creation of this phenomenal score.

If you do make it through the film, you’ll be rewarded with a truly chilling motion picture experience which harkens back to the days when filmmaker chilled the audience to the bone with simplicity. Incidentally, 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.

Zak Roy Yoballa

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The Second Scariest Film Ever...
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2005, 05:44:44 AM »
I've never even heard of this one.  I'll have to check it out once the wee ones are in bed!  Thanks for the tip.

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Re: The Second Scariest Film Ever...
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2007, 12:28:07 PM »
i have never seen a movie that truly scared me.  maybe i will try to find this one.......... <^>
the question is not that the glass is either half empty or half full..but more like 'WHO DRANK MY BEER?'