The Changeling (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots



Studio: Severin Films

Release Date: March 28th, 1980 (theatrical) / August 7th, 2018 (blu-ray)

Run Time: 107 mins

Region Code: REGION FREE

Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio)

Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 / English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Starring: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, and Melvyn Douglas

Written by William Gray

Directed by Peter Medak

Rating: R (Horror Violence)


THE FILM ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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.

The Changeling is an incredibly scary film that doesn’t rely on jump scares to get at you. From the moment George C. Scott (who is great in the film, as usual) enters the house that he has rented, we are on edge. The atmosphere that director Peter Medak creates is thick and dark. We don’t know what is around the corner or when the haunting will strike again. Medak lets the suspense build slowly while also giving us characters that we can relate to and care about. Once the ball bounces down the stairs for the second time, we know that we are in for something truly special. Medak also doesn’t resort to an overload of effects and loud noises to sell his film, especially the climax. The film does get loud, but it is even balanced unlike horror films today, with an orgy of loud sounds that try to bust your eardrums.

The Changeling is a mature horror film, made for those who want to have their skin crawl and want to sleep with the light on. There are jump scares in the film, but they are earned. The film doesn’t start with a jump scare nor does it end with one. This is an expertly made horror film and one of the scariest films of all time.


THE PICTURE ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Featuring a brand new 4K transfer in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, The Changeling looks phenomenal. Colors look great and skin tones are accurate. There is a nice layer of film grain (which gets heavier in the nighttime and darker scenes) and this gives way to a great amount of detail. We see the wrinkles on faces and the patterns in the different jackets that Scott wears throughout the film. Blacks are also very deep. This is especially great due to the number of scenes with shadows and/or darkness. The film also has a wonderful film-like feel and I did not see any type of DNR or other digital manipulation. This is one of the best transfers of the year.


THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐⭐

There are two tracks offered here. The default track is the film’s original 2.0 mix, presented here in the form of a DTS-HD Master Audio track. The film is filled with the noises that we typically associate with haunted house films and this track does them very well. There is nice balance between the effects and the dialogue meaning they never overtake the other. The score also comes through nicely and serves the film incredibly well. Dialogue is crisp and clean as well.

There is also a 5.1 mix here. I did not listen to the 5.1 track as it is not the film’s original mix. I have learned that this track is missing some dialogue and other effects. Severin is aware of this and they are looking into it.

THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Changeling comes to us courtesy of Severin Films



This Limited Edition comes with an exclusive slip cover that features the film’s original theatrical poster with a blue tint to it instead of red and brown. There is some embossing on the wheelchair and the film’s title. The slip is also very glossy which attracts a lot of fingerprints.


The back of the slip is very minimalistic: no screenshots or pictures. We just get the synopsis of the film, a special features listing, and tech specs. No mention of the CD that contains the film’s score, which is weird because that is the other exclusive to this set.


Underneath we find a black blu-ray case that houses the blu-ray and CD. The front cover is the film’s original theatrical poster with the normal coloring on it.


The back cover gives us everything that the slip gave us, but with pictures.


The two discs feature artwork that is similar to the slip and case artwork. The blu-ray gets the normal color poster artwork and the CD gets the slip cover blue artwork.

The blu-ray is REGION FREE and the CD can be played in any country.


THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Audio Commentary with director Peter Medak and producer Joel B. Michaels, moderated by David Gregory of Severin Films

The House on Chessman Park (17m 32s, HD)

The Music of The Changeling (8m 58s, HD)

Building the House of Horror (10m 54s, HD)

Master of Horror: Mick Garris on The Changeling (5m 30s, HD)

The Psychotronic Tourist: The Changeling (16m 2s, HD)

Still Gallery (8m 52s, HD)

Trailer (2m 17s, HD)

TV Spot (27s, HD)

This is a nice selection of special features. The commentary track is a fun listen with Medak and Michaels telling some great stories and just having a great time overall. The House on Chessman Park focuses on the true story that film is based on is really informative and kind of creepy. The Music of and Building the House are both informative and interesting. The interview with Mick Garris is great as usual. Garris has a way of telling stories that is rivaled by very few in the industry. The audio tour of the locations used in the film was ok, but I would have preferred a Horror’s Hallowed Grounds instead.


OVERALL ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Changeling is one of the scariest films of all time, period. It creates an atmosphere of dread and sticks with it until the end. The scares are all earned and the performances are excellent. There is nothing bad to say about the film. It is as close to a perfect horror that you can get. While it is a pity that the film didn’t do well on its initial theatrical run, it has found an audience and gets better after each viewing.

The blu-ray, from Severin Films, is nothing short of amazing. The picture and sound quality are reference quality and the special features offer something for everyone. Severin should be extremely proud of the work they put into this release and it will be showing up on my best of list at the end of the year. This is a must buy for horror fans of all walks and for those who want to see what a real scary film looks and feels like.

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