''The Changeling'' is a 1980 Canadian horror film directed by Peter Medak, starring Creator/GeorgeCScott, Trish Van Devere and Creator/MelvynDouglas. It has been described as one of the scariest films of all times by Creator/MartinScorsese, and was a direct inspiration for ''Film/TheOthers''.

After losing his wife and daughter in a freak car accident, well-known composer John Russell (Scott) moves into the Chessman House in Seattle to rebuild his life. There, he experiences several supernatural events, prompting him to research the history of the place. With the help of his friend, Claire Norman (Van Devere), he uncovers a horrific crime that was committed in the house years ago. The beneficiary of that crime is still alive and prosperous. However, the long-dead victim won't let them rest until justice is meted out.

Despite the relatively stereotypical plot, the film is memorable due to its off-beat tone, the performance of its leads, and some genuinely disturbing moments.

!!This movie contains examples of:

* AdultFear: After witnessing the death of your only child, you have to re-live the murder of another child, whose spirit won't let you rest until you help him.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Captain [=DeWitt=] acts more as an enforcer for Senator Carmichael and has the gall to blackmail John that he will get him falsely locked up in an asylum if he doesn't give him what he wants and even ''uses his wife's and daughter's deaths'' to justify his supposed eroding sanity. Needless to say it is NOT hard to watch (only scarily surprising) getting what's coming to him.]]
* BadassNormal: John remains calm and collected in situations that make the audience hide behind the couch in fear.
* BrokenPedestal: The Senator can't think of his [[spoiler: foster father]] the same way again, ever.
* CobwebJungle: The hidden room in the attic.
* ConditionedToAcceptHorror: It's {{implied}} that the deaths of his wife and daughter have numbed John to the point he can be [[TheStoic stoical]] in the face of [[NightmareFuel nightmare fuel]].
* CrustyCaretaker: Averted. Mr Tuttle's actually quite obliging.
* DamselInDistress: For a short while, Claire when she's being chased by [[spoiler: the wheelchair]].
* DeadlyBath: [[spoiler:Poor Joseph]].
* DullSurprise: John's reaction to [[spoiler: the medal revealing itself]]. {{Justified}}, as by then, he has [[SeenItAll seen it all]].
* [[{{Fainting}} Emotional Fainting]]: John after witnessing [[spoiler: Joseph's murder]].
* FascinatingEyebrow: During the seance scene, John tries not to look cynical but fails to dissimulate his skeptical expression.
* FirstNameBasis: Off-screen, some time during the horse-ride, John and Claire drop the prefixes and surnames.
* GentlemanAndAScholar: John Russell's a NiceGuy ''and'' a distinguished composer.
* GirlNextDoor: Claire Norman.
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: [[spoiler: Sen. Carmichael when he is "brought" to the house via paranormal phenomenon and made to witness the murder of the real Joseph Carmichael, immediately followed by a HollywoodHeartAttack ]]
* GoodIsNotSoft: Russell.
* HauntedHouse: [[spoiler: And not just one]].
* HurtingHero: John Russell's coping with the deaths of his wife and daughter, ''and'' a HauntedHouse. Arguably, though, the HauntedHouse diverts his mind from his grief.
* InfantImmortality: Averted: Kathy, [[spoiler: Cora]] and [[spoiler: Joseph]] had their lives tragically cut short.
* JustFriends: {{Implied}} with John and Claire.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: Joseph's dad.]]
* MaybeEverAfter: [[spoiler: The ending implies that Claire will stand by John and help him recover from what has been his second ordeal in less than six months]].
* MirrorScare: [[spoiler: Captain [=DeWitt=] doesn't get very far after threatening to institutionalise John.]]
* MoodWhiplash: At least twice.
** The opening scene begins with John, Joanna and Kathy laughing about being stuck in the snow, and quickly turns into the worst embodiment of AdultFear when Joanna and Kathy are run over by a car, as John is forced to watch helplessly from a telephone booth.
** Another scene opens as a tearjerker, with John grieving over Kathy's death, but unexpectedly turns into nightmare fuel as loud, banging noises fill the whole house and interrupt John in his grief.
** After [[spoiler: the aforementioned MirrorScare with Captain [=DeWitt=]]]... the phone immediately rings.
* {{Motif}}: The red-and-white striped ball represents Russell's inability to get over Kathy's death until it becomes an independent source of horror.
* NervesOfSteel: Russell/[[Creator/GeorgeCScott G.C. Scott's]] portrayal of him. What kind of man decides to dig up evidence deep down a haunted well all by himself, in the middle of the night? That too, ''after'' the remains of a [[spoiler: dead child]] were found in the same spot just a few hours ago.
* NotSoStoic:
** A poignant example when Russell cries in bed, thinking of his daughter.
** Another memorable moment: "Joseph! You G**d*** son of a bitch!"
* NothingIsScarier: One of the best examples of this.
* OffingTheOffspring: [[spoiler: Joseph's father murdered him and replaced him with a healthier "changeling" to prevent his inheritance from going to charity in case Joseph died early.]]
* OminousMusicBoxTune: The musicbox found in the hidden room.
* RedHerring: [[spoiler: Cora]].
* SpookySeance: It leads to the protagonists uncovering who's actually haunting the Chessman House, and why.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Both John and the audience find it hard not to feel sorry for [[spoiler: the Senator]] once we know his role in the story.
* UnfinishedBusiness: [[spoiler: Joseph won't rest until the beneficiary of his murder is punished.]]
* UngratefulBastard: [[spoiler: Joseph]] at the end, perhaps.
* TheUsurper: {{Deconstructed}} with [[spoiler: Senator Joseph Carmichael]] - he had little choice in matter at the time.