The Changeling (1980)

Directed by Peter Medak


Suggested by Gino Macias

In late 2009 I shared one of my favorite scenes from Black Christmas (1974) on YouTube. The concept of “Best Horror Scenes” didn’t yet exist — I was just sharing a scene from a movie I loved. To my surprise it started getting some views and comments, so I shared scenes from The Tenant (1976), Insidious (2011), The Eclipse (2009), and Exorcist III (1990).

The Exorcist III clip started getting a lot of views and comments right away, with most of the comments being standard juvenile YouTube fare, so I disabled notifications and stopped posting for a while. When I eventually came back I was shocked to see that this clip had more than 1.5 million views and hundreds of comments, and the channel now had nearly 4,000 subscribers.

This ignited a fire in me to start sharing again. Over the next few years I posted several clips from different films, introducing a bit of Best Horror Scenes branding in the videos and adding the Did You Know? feature. In January of 2020 I created Where early on I would post just a handful of scenes per year, these days it averages more like one per week.

Over the years many people have reached out to make suggestions for scenes to feature, but no film has gotten nearly the number of suggestions as The Changeling. The Changeling is considered by many people to be one of the greatest Horror films of all time. People like Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese, who apparently both own their own 35mm prints of the film and used it as inspiration for their own films. These are big words. There are very, very few films that are given that kind of universal praise. But I believe The Changeling deserves it.

It’s a deceptively simple film. It’s almost as much about what happens off-screen as what happens on. In fact, there is very little that actually happens on screen, and what little we do see is very uncomplicated and equally effective (a ball thrown down the stairs from an unknown source; an empty wheelchair chasing a character throughout the house; doors opening and closing on their own; the distressed voice of a child from an empty room). But it all just works and makes for a landmark film in a genre that is woefully void of quality entries that don’t have to rely on jump scares, gore, or revealing outfits.

— B

My rating: 9/10

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