After the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, a music professor staying at an old mansion is dragged into a decades-old mystery by an inexplicable presence in the mansion's attic.


Peter Medak


Russell Hunter (story by), William Gray (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
3,303 ( 352)
11 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
George C. Scott ... John Russell
Trish Van Devere ... Claire Norman
Melvyn Douglas ... Senator Carmichael
Jean Marsh ... Joanna Russell
John Colicos ... Captain DeWitt
Barry Morse ... Parapsychologist
Madeleine Sherwood ... Mrs. Norman (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Helen Burns ... Leah Harmon
Frances Hyland ... Mrs. Grey
Ruth Springford ... Minnie Huxley
Eric Christmas ... Albert Harmon
Roberta Maxwell ... Eva Lingstrom
Bernard Behrens ... Robert Lingstrom
James B. Douglas James B. Douglas ... Eugene Carmichael
J. Kenneth Campbell ... 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 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


Two people live in this house. One of them has been dead for 70 years. See more »


Horror | Mystery


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


A reboot of the film is in development as of July 2020. See more »


(at around 11 mins) When John is playing the piano towards the beginning, the above the door next to the fireplace has light behind it. But, when John is called away from the piano, the transom above the door is dark. See more »


John Russell: None of this belongs to you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Japanese theatrical version contains the alternative ending theme, titled "Pike", sung by Makigami Koichi, a pseudo-kabuki vocalist who led the rock band called "HIKASHU", replacing the original "Music Box" theme song conducted by Howard Blake. The local Japanese TV (dubbed) version also contains the similar "Pike" theme from "HIKASHU", but while the original theatrical version was in Japanese as supposed to be, the song in the TV version was remarkably sung in English. See more »


Referenced in Feardotcom (2002) 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 »

User Reviews

If only they still made horror movies like this
16 March 2003 | by chvylvr80See all my reviews

I recently bought The Changeling on DVD because I first saw it when I was much younger at around 3 in the morning. I was flipping channels when I found this movie just starting. The first 5 minutes sucked me in and I watched the whole thing. I found the movie to be pretty good and quite freaky as well. Based on that memory I decided to take the plunge again and I was not disappointed. The Changeling displays a quality of movie making that is sadly becoming rare. George C. Scott delivers a fiery performance as usual as Jack Russell, our tormented protagonist. The sets are moody and perfectly fit the tone and atmosphere of the story. This film manages to be spooky without descending into camp, and suspenseful without overdoing it. The supporting cast brings up the rear with fine performances all around, and the music contributes to rather than distracts from the film. Bottom Line: If you're looking for a obscure old movie to curl up and watch with your significant other with the lights out, then you can't do much better than this.

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Release Date:

28 March 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

House on Chessman Park See more »


Box Office


CAD7,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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