100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

May 23, 1980 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigon Daily-Fridoy, Moy 23 1980-Poge 9
.. .. .. t.:... .. .rt. f .. t.. . ..," ..u. t:.. :.... .: ., ... . .... ... .... .L".v.': ':,": -.".-,LV::::: ...:.....:............,::::: v:.v:v:: .. -:
r{' .. .v...x .. .: ~. }.. .., .. Y... Y.....,.,.~ ..t .. ....... ..::: ::::: :::.v:: :v:: ".. ..:1...... .:-::. L4-v r; ... .:. . v -::.:u": -....:...... ....................... ............. ,........ ....
Y. ..~ .. ... .. Y:. i .. .r'{".. .'{'".. fi . ' % .... d.:.. .: F.. ~.t: .. ... ............ n.:,...{ .....n....n ........ .r...,... v. \... } ,i},}}:: L..
.. i'{. .vr^. r.: ..: .'}. .. ... :.t.rt. ..t ... .. ...: t.a... .. .LV.},,v., "..
;L r , ..... , r .. fi.. ... .: ..... .. ..,.... :.. ....... ,.... ., ..LV. .....\. ........ L h..\ ,"vv, ": -\"x:::... ......?'L'LV .... ..ti.. 1.'K:'. ,. ,..\ "' }:,}}i\"}'a:{: i..
} ~x.. ,.:,...,. ... }.,.~,.......x. r:.:: : :,+'} Li: }.,L+:.,":. .. a1 ' ...ti .. 'i.1, .. :w.4.. :}.: \, L L,. }n$K "{r::::::$ : .x. L..
.... Y .. :. r v .. fi .: f ... .L.. . r.:. .. .. ., :... .. ...v:::: ,,. ~. , x ": L ...,, : }: n+: v:: . -,,.: "}:.......t,:::;.,nv::.. ,+ .. ~a\~.,v:::.. . ,.v: \,.
.~ : ..:" v~rs + v.. :"..., a .,~.. t r"}. .....:. .....,.... .Y . .. ................ ..~.........} ....:~........ ............, .:,+... ,....\\t... ..5... .. .. .. .:. .. ... ,. ...E . v\. ..... x: .. .' ..t.. . .. 7:: . ..............:............. L.:..... .,.... i\\.}...,.,.... \.\....... i.... ~".... fi. kfi.. ....',...........,....:', .}+".,
"" .$: .. .t...1 ...:KLi. $. t....:......... : t, ......... :"". ". ":: 4:\ ..L.K ...,. ,.. ,:..::.,". ":: ,":.E..........:.. L...... \:,: ,":?.:... ,.L .k . i. i. :1:' -..t. a . i , \\, "L .,.
... ~.....:...Y~....n ......:..... ..:.. ,n{n$ ::: -v: -...v} - .4A v}. :..: .:".... ". '{", 'tom .fit \ ...''", ": t'i ..:.. " :".
.. ~., f.?"St :. ..:. ,.. .vS: Y..~ c :.. ..... { .... .r. ......... r .. ...............t............... ..:a ... Y.. a1 t3.':,..:....L..... :',. , ,. \ . ".'}...... \ \.... 4
.. .}. .: +.~. ...,. .... $c.t., :. :. t... ... .}.. .. ....a ..... ...,. ...t:.., .t. ..........}., ...L ......... ...:,. ,.. . .,..t..,".,\ i1. .. ......L. .. ..\. .\ L.: "\" ",,., i. ., ..' "}."}:,;a: ..a::
....: ... ,Y .......,.. ,, ,........ t .... .... ...,...t..,::.. ".,: ,L..l.:.. L...L...\}. .L....,"::::: .: ,c. ,t ..:. a::}:: ". f"... ti \:< ..:":,"" ...\: s}. {.,;
.. ii .... .... ,::.{...L } :.:.... . ... t,. ..S C....... .~s",......... n ........ ...........:,.......t. .£..,......,..~............... .,.... .. \ . ..:\....L .. i. }.... t ..' '+, +'".av" i".. +"4 "" ,..'\. : ".L:: S:'."'.+ .. .. : .. .
.f".. ,t .'}' .. t{ {t. .. ,$', .. hii,...x;. ": \.vn".:L+.. .::.vx: v..:....... v::L..n... ..: i.. .. ...\:: hv:.. 1.,... '..4: .\..
.. .. .. :. .. ... ......rf."... .. .. .t..v....t.........,....x:.........?L.........,...t .........a.....3.. .......... ....... .. .. .}. x. i"::+" \ ~.i.nY:.,
,.\. .S}...t. Y. .. .... .. ... ., .. . +}. ..t ..t.., .. d?. t .........a .~.,, ....L ............,:.., ............. . \.. ..a t... .. }.,... ..{. ..:,\. '",, . }.\;; ?:'4e
.... .. ..... ntn.+} : .:.x. ' .. L...r.... ..{"... ,. .......... r. .. }...... ..L....v....:.{. n.........: ......... ........... :.....{,...:t. ....:1.. ....... ...., }.. :.n ... ..r.:.. .: .?,.... ,.:, ..... t.r ..... }, .................:............: :.. , .. x ......., . .. :. .. ...3...... "., ., .,. ..i.,.
fi ....: ~... L : ":.t .... t...t:....., r ...............,......:..: ,.. }. ..+a.. ,..........~............5. ....\ ;^, "...+:: ti..,.. .. t,..
rts
Slick le. Terror or tras

By J.T. SCANLAN
It is staggering to think how many
horror films have been made in the last
fiveyears. Every week we become
saturated with wild advertisements
which whet (or so Hollywood seems to
think) our appetites for extreme terror.
"What in the living hell is on board!"

last year's Alien.
But the old-time movie-goer hints at
an important point. Because there are
so many horror films made now, and
because they are so ridiculously
similar, certain aspects of the horror
film have become purely conventional.
The plot must embrace the unknown. A

hodgepodge of humorous, touching, and
scary moments. The director, Peter
Medak, tries to do too much all at once
in this movie and consequently turns
out a disjointed product.
The plot of the movie is quite
traditional. It is essentially a new ren-.
dition of the "haunted-house" story.
George C. Scott plays an eminent
pianist and composer, John Russell,
who buys an enormous old mansion that
hasn't been lived in for years. Even-
tually Russell learns that the many wild
occurrences which beleaguer him are
caused by the spirit of a little boy who
was viciously killed at the turn of the
century. To quote a cliche used in the
movie, "The house doesn't want
people."
But the mere presence of George C.
Scott in the limited role of John Russell
damages the intended effect of the
movie. Scott is simply too fine an actor
for the part. In a scene where John
Russell addresses a group of university
students on contemporary music, Scott
turns in a marvelous performance as a
visiting professor. The gestures and
facial expressions which accompany
Russell's well-worn jokes on the first
day of class are truly reminiscent of
those we see everyday in lecture
classes at this university. Scott
animates his character here so well
that at times his performance draws at-
tention away from the horrific events
depicted on the screen.
THE BEST moments in The
Changeling come when the director im-
plements the new conventions of the
horror film. For a fairly-sized chunk of
the movie, the house itself performs
admirably as the protagonist. It offers
banging, clanging, hidden passages,
and ancient cobwebs to baffle the in-
vestigative composer. A little attic, at
the top of a dilapidated stairway
(where else?), is the inner sanctuary of
mystery. There Russell finds a plethora
of dusty human artifacts which, the
forbo'ding music tells us, have great
supernatural significance. Adherence
to a strong tradition, as The Changeling
proves with these scenes, usually
promotes effective results.
But even when the director does
adhere to conventions, he often
unimaginatively imitates the devices of
other movies. Wild happenings occur
every morning at precisely six A.M. in
The Changeling just as they occur at
precisely 3:15 every morning in The
Amityville Horror. And in each movie,
there, are dramatic close-ups of a
digital clock which electronically
signals impending havoc to the audien-

ce. The movies are tremendously
similar in theme, and one would have
expected director Peter Medak to be on
guard for such apparent thefts.
Melvyn Douglass offers a convincing
portrayal of an orphan who has become
a distinguished U.S. senator and
inheritor of an enormous empire. In a
confrontation with Russell over the
character of the man who adopted him,
the senator renders a touching defense
of the man he calls "father."
But this scene quickly becomes mired
in an over-indulgence in technical
wizardry. The picture of the senator's
father, which is proudly displayed on a
beautiful desk, suddenly starts boun-
cing around. The music then reaches a
crescendo, and the senator has a wild
vision of a gruesome murder. The scene
is not effective because it is an un-
balanced mixture of the touching and
the horrific. The first part of the scene
undermines the second part, and vice
versa.
The most curious aspect of The
Changeling is the title. "Changeling" is
an archaic word for a child who is
secretly exchanged for another child.
Theword, to be sure, precisely defines
the solution of the mystery of the
movie. But "changeling" is certainly
not a common word (as the writer of the
screenplay realized, allowing it to be
uttered only once in the entire movie).
Whoever wrote the title of the movie
probably wanted to conjure up thoughts
of some sort of scary, archaic beast in
the minds of prospective viewers in or-
der to boost ticket sales. The am-
bivalence of the title underscores the
ultimate ambivalence of the film itself.
Join The
Daily
Arts Staff!

Having been chased from the attic, through the halls and down the stairs by
a child's rusty, dust-covered wheel chair, a hysterical Trish Van Devere
clings fearfully to George C. Scott in the suspense thriller 'The Changeling.'

proclaims one fantastic advertisement
which features a grisly anthropomor-
phic being pictured in a state
somewhere between death and decom-
position. The blurb for Friday the 13th,
"a 24 hour nightmare of terror," is cast
from the same marketing mold: "They
were warned . . . They are doomed
... And on Friday the 13th, nothing will
save them." Such flowers of wit, alas,
seem to have sprung from the same un-
der-nourished plant.
Hype of this sort disturbs many
movie goers,- especially the older ones
who were reared on, say, Frankenstein.
And many horror fans of the old school
are anxious to declare boldly that
modern horror movies are trash,
railing at hastily written screenplays, a
dependence on special effects, and
overt silliness. The statement about the
inflated price of the ticket, which
is usually saved for the end of the
diatribe, is a grand rhetorical flourish.
MOST OF SUCH talk, of course, is
bombast. There have been many good
modern horror films, from Psycho to

fanciful legend about either devils,
spirits, the mysterious deep, or
psychological problems is the stuff of
the modern horror film plot.
Similarly, a good horror film, at least
today, must display a confident use of
special effects. Alien was justly praised
in part because it graphically represen-
ted the wild unknown with dazzling
special effects..
TO SAY ALL this is to suggest that
the modern horror movie has become a
bit hackneyed. The movie is designed to
frighten the audience solely by the use
of - stock conventions. How well the
director arranges eerie camera angles,
forboding bass notes, and wild special
effects, all within the context of a
mysterious legend, determines whether
we laugh or shriek in the theater.
The Changeling fails to make the
audience shriek or laugh because it
fails to embrace fully the modern con-
ventions of the horror movie. The
Changeling incorporates too many
scenes which are not at all designed to
frighten, making the movie a

TONIGHT PAUL SCHRADER'S
HARDCORE
With GEORGE C. SCOTT and PETER BOYLE. A Michigan businessman is upset by
his daughter's disappearance. When he learns that she has been appearing in
porno films, he is forced to enter the California underground to get her back.
Schrader was never one to avoid disturbing questions. A truly poignant and
fascinating film.
Shows of 7:308 9:30-$ 1.50
CINEMA GUILD AT OLD A&D AUD.
(wonderful)

The Ann Arbor Fim Ceopemtwe Presents at MLB: $1.50
Friday, May 23
THE WRONG BOX
(Bryan Forbes, 1966) 7 & 10:20--MLB 3
Hilarious British satire based loosely-very loosely-on a Robert Louis Steven-
son story about an insurance gambit. Fabulous comic performances by
MICHAEL CAINE, PETER COOK and DUDLEY MOORE (of Bedazzled and Beyond
the Fringe), RALPH RICHARDSON, JOHN MILLS, PETER SELLERS, and NANETTE
NEWMAN (as the archetypically repressed Victorian heroine, so sensitive that
she finds the mention of "eggs" disgusting). See the Bournemouth Strangler
and the venal Dr."Prat"! The climatic chase involves hearses, a resurrected
corpse, the police (naturally), two embezzlers, the Salvation Army, three
misplaced coffins, an Englishman who speaks pure Swahili, and a British
military band.
TWO-WAY STRETCH
(Robert Day, 1961) 8:40-MLB 3
PETER SELLERS gives a remarkable performance as a prisoner who plans to
break out of jail, pull a robbery, and break back into prison again. Along with
Sellers, LIONEL JEFFRIES displays his talent as a brutal guard. A highly
amusing film.
Tomorrow: Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin in WAIT UNTIL DARK and
Nicole Williamson, Robert Duvall, and Alan Arkin in THE 7% SOLUTION at MLB.

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan