The Changeling, 1980 haunted house classic with George C. Scott

The Changeling is one of a handful of supernatural horror movies I will not watch alone at night; it’s too creepy! :O

Country: Canada/U.S.
Directed by: Peter Medak, IMDb
Horror themes: Ghost, revenge, haunted house, death of spouse, death of child, exhumation, wheelchair, objects moving by themselves, murder, politics, hidden room, fatal accident, solving murder
Verdict: 85/100… One of the best classic ghost stories on film – plus it contains the top-notch acting chops of George C. Scott; a very creepy movie – you may forever be creeped out at the mere sight of a wheelchair

Movie trailer: The Changeling, 1980 (YouTube)

Much more coming soon…

Plot summary: The Changeling, 1980

cover from horror movie The Changeling, 1980
It was the perfect family vacation for John Russell and his family, or so it seemed until a freak automobile accident claimed the lives of his wife and daughter. After the death of his beloved girls – hit by a truck in a snowing road upstate New York – the composer and music professor John Russell moves to Seattle to teach music in the local university. Consumed by grief, John – at the request of friends – leases a huge mansion in Chessman Park that belongs to the Historical Society and has been empty for twelve years. 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. John hears some weird noises always at 6:00 AM and later he experiences the contact of the ghost of a child that lived many decades ago in the house, which he now shares with the spirit of the murdered child who has homed in on John’s despair. The spirit uses John to uncover decades of silence and deceit. With the help of Claire Norman, the one who aided John in procuring the house, John researches the mansion’s history, revealing a despicable secret. They race to find answers and soon learn that a devious and very powerful man guards them with his very life.

Resources: The Changeling, 1980

Dorothy Mills, 2008 U.K. supernatural horror film

movie posters, covers - Dorothy Mills, 2008 U.K. supernatural horror movieCountry: Ireland
Written and directed by: Agnès Merlet [Agnès Merlet films – Amazon]
Verdict: 7/10… Wow, what a pleasant surprise! Dorothy Mills was a very worthwhile horror movie – one which I’ll probably watch again.

Plot summary of of Dorothy Mills ( clash between science and religion is waged over the fate of Dorothy Mills, a mentally ill teen, in this thriller from writer and director Agnès Merlet. When a gloomy, God-fearing island community is rocked by the murder of a young child, a psychologist is called in to examine Dorothy Mills, the teenager accused of the crime. Despite the villagers’ resistance, the therapist soon suspects that Dorothy suffers from multiple personality disorder. But when the girl speaks in the voice of the woman’s own deceased son, what first seemed like madness may – as the locals believe – be Dorothy channeling the dead. A spine-chilling blend of psychological thriller and gothic terror, Dorothy Mills is eerie, suspenseful, and truly frightening.

movie stills - Dorothy Mills, 2008 U.K. supernatural horror movie

There are two things that stand out the most to me about Dorothy Mills: the nonconformity of the film and the enticing psychiatrist. One of the best characteristics of Dorothy Mills is its originality, a trait that often seems quite rare in the horror genre these days. It did not seem like a rehash or even standard plot device, apart from the broad theme of revenge; the movie felt clever and innovative to this supernatural horror fan.

Second, the actor portraying the shrink – the woman who comes to the remote island to evaluate the mental state of Dorothy Mills – is a real looker. Carice van Houten was unknown to me prior to this film, and it was a pure pleasure to watch this alluring woman onscreen. Having a sexy class act like Carice van Houten in a horror movie almost always adds to the overall experience. Fortunately, Dorothy Mills delivered much more than just uniqueness and eye candy, though.

movie stills - Dorothy Mills, 2008 U.K. supernatural horror movieWhat kinds of scares does Dorothy deliver? Well, you can probably watch it at night without creeping yourself out too much. I was not twisted into a knot on the couch during this movie as I was for Quarantine. In other words, while for me Quarantine was gripping, terrifying, serving up large doses of scream-inducing, edge-of-your seat horror, Dorothy Mills was unsettling, mysterious, and even creepy. Chances are you have not yet seen Quarantine, though, but it’s on the forefront of my mind right now; I finished watching it less than an hour ago.

movie stills - Dorothy Mills, 2008 U.K. supernatural horror moviePostscript: I’ve since watched [REC] and [REC]2: They’re fantastic, and [REC] – the Spanish original – is definitely superior to Quarantine (as originals usually are). But that’s not to disparage Quarantine; I enjoyed that horror film, and more recently, Quarantine 2: Terminal. I thought it was interesting that the [REC] movies had a strong religious/evil theme which was not employed as a plot element in the American remake Quarantine.

DVD cover

Evil Takes on Many Forms in Dorothy Mills“A contemporary take on The Exorcist” (Variety), a teenage girl is accused of trying to strangle her neighbor’s baby with no recollection of the incident in Agnès Merlet’s (Artemisia) thriller Dorothy Mills

Carice van Houten (Body of Lies, Valkyrie) stars as Jane Morton, a psychiatrist mourning the tragic death of her husband and son, who is assigned to work on the mysterious case of Dorothy Mills. When she travels from Dublin to meet with the troubled teenager, she discovers a village plagued by strange events and a horrid past. It isn’t until Dorothy speaks to her in the voice of her own dead son that Jane considers the possibility that the girl possesses powers that exist beyond the realm of psychiatry.

Resources: Dorothy Mills, 2008 U.K. horror movie

Originally written on Saturday, April 04, 2009