(Peter Medak, 1980)
For the bulk of this movie, the good atmosphere and production values disguise the silliness and thinness of the story. There's one standout scene — a seance — and plenty of moments of intrigue, but most of the work is done by the cinematography and the soundtrack; too little by the script. Get a little drunk and you could tear this movie apartment with MST3K treatment. Or just change the soundtrack and see how laughable the dramatic weight given to something like a falling cobweb becomes.
The scene after the seance summed up my ultimate frustration with The Changeling
: George C. Scott rewinds the recording he made of the event and he hears, very clearly, a ghostly voice say, Yes
. He rewinds the recording again to make sure. And then a third time. Playing the tape a little further, the voice says something else (clearly audible), and Scott rewinds to make sure — again, not once but twice. Get on with it!
It was a huge surprise to me, by the way, that the title doesn't refer to anything supernatural. Two-thirds through the film, I was still waiting for someone to change into a werewolf or something.Grade:
(John Carpenter, 1978)
It's almost funny to see Michael Myers drive a car and, at one point, let alone don a costume. I guess at some point over the years, I bought into the weird notion that the villain of this kind slasher film should be a mindless killing machine, oblivious to technology and devoid of the personality required to possess any kind of guile.
A modern perspective has also warped my ability to accept Jamie Lee Curtis as a high school girl here. She's aged far too well.
The tension of the film is mostly wonderful, made possible by great use of a Steadicam and Carpenter's classic score. A few script moments just could have used a bit more effort, like when Loomis finally notices the car he's been searching for for like half an hour even though he's practically standing right next to it. There are plenty of nice moments sprinkled throughout, but the film occasionally devolves into a repetitive game of peekaboo, with Michael appearing for a moment and then disappearing. The movie ends on maybe its best note, however.Grade:
Better late than never?