The Changeling (1980)

R  |   |  Horror  |  28 March 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 21,114 users  
Reviews: 281 user | 98 critic

A man staying at a secluded historical mansion finds himself being haunted by the presence of a spectre.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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10 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Madeleine Sherwood ...
Mrs. Norman (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Helen Burns ...
Frances Hyland ...
Ruth Springford ...
James B. Douglas ...
Security Guard


It was the perfect family vacation for composer John Russell and his family when a freak automobile accident claims the lives of his wife and daughter. Consumed by grief, John, at the request of friends, rents an old turn of the century house. Mammoth in size, the house seems all the room that John needs to write music and reflect. He does not realize that he is not alone in the house. He shares it with the spirit of a murdered child who has homed in on John's despair and uses him to uncover decades of silence and deceit. With the help of Claire Norman, the one who aided John in procuring the house, they race to find the answers and soon learn that a devious and very powerful man guards them. Written by Vampire-Sharpshooter

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Whatever you do...DON'T GO INTO THE ATTIC. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 March 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House on Chessman Park  »

Box Office


CAD 7,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Though predominantly filmed in Canada, the picture was set in Seattle, USA where establishing shots were filmed. These included the Rainier Tower, the SeaTac Airport, the University of Washington's Red Square, and the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge. Some location filming was shot in New York. Most of the movie was filmed in Vancouver and its environs in British Columbia with Victoria in the same Canadian province also used. Interiors set at the university were shot in Toronto in Canada's province of Ontario. See more »


(at around 1 min) In the opening scene, when mom and daughter are playing in the snow, there is ample sun and shadowing; when they are pushing the car, and when dad is in the phone booth, it is quite cloudy and overcast. See more »


De Witt: I understand you lost your wife and daughter a little while ago. Maybe it shook you up. Maybe too much... *Maybe*, you need help.
John Russell: I'd like you to leave now...
De Witt: [making his threat a bit more clear] We can see that you get it... do you understand what I'm saying?
John Russell: [points to the door] Out! Now!
De Witt: [pressing] Listen to me, Russell! You've got something of the Senator's... he wants it back. It's a little gold medal, a family heirloom, he lost it. He thinks *you've* got it.
See more »


Featured in Nightmare in Canada: Canadian Horror on Film (2004) See more »


Symphony #1 in C minor, Opus 68
Composed by Johannes Brahms (as Brahms)
Performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Kazuyoshi Akiyama
See more »

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User Reviews

First-Rate Haunted Horror
10 November 2001 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

George C. Scott loses his wife and daughter in a car accident, moves to Seattle, and rents a gigantic old mansion with a haunted secret past. This film is skillfully directed by Peter Medak who gets more that even he probably bargained from a solid cast of actors, a wonderful script, and one great-looking eerie old house. Medak creates tons of suspense with the barest sight of blood. 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 in the old house trying to tell Scott about the secret of a young child that once lived there. The script is fanciful yet well-written and very creative. Scott gives an atypically subdued performance that suggests passion, heartbreak, and tenacity. The rest of the performers are very good too. I cannot remember the last time Mr. Douglass gave a poor performance. Some of the scenes that really stand out in my mind are flashback sequences showing the terrible secret that has been hidden in the house for over 70 years. Medak doesn't have a huge budget to work with here, but this movie beats out newer haunted house films like the remake of The Haunting by leaps and bounds. This is one classy scare film!

76 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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