As far as good old fashioned 70's haunted house cream filled goodness goes, you can't do much better than The Changeling.
Also, you have George C. Scott, smokin' his way through the mystery. This was before people started saying that movies with cigarettes should be rated R. I'd love to see those people tell old Georgie that.
George is married with kid in this flick, and you know 30 seconds in that they're just way too freaking happy and in love with each other to not be taken down by tragedy before the credits even play. They smile and laugh as they push their broken down car through the snow, and then Mom and daughter have the AUDACITY to laugh some more while they break out into a good old fashioned snow ball fight while Dad George goes to use the pay phone to call for help.
End to your happy life in 3....2....1.....
Yeah. Bye bye, happy life, hello, walking slowly and moodily through the credits while you mourn.
George ends up moving, and gets saddled with what must be the least efficient real estate agent ever. Because when I think 'housing for single widower', immediately I think of:
Yep. PERFECT for one. single. person.
Well, whatever, if Old Georgie didn't move in this castle, we wouldn't have a movie, and then I couldn't blog about it with my own special brand of retardedness. And that would be a TRAVESTY.
So George moves in, he mopes, he smokes, and shit starts to happen. Beginning with the old 'loud strange banging noises' bit. Which, for whatever reason, always gives me the willies. I often freak myself out at night when I go to bed by imagining what I'd do if that kind of crap started in my house. Because some nights I need a break from imagining what I'd do if zombies tried to get in my house.
George has enough weird crap going on that he needs to go down to the historical society and investigate the story behind this massive house with the loud banging.
Here's we get the old 'NOBODY EVAH COULD LIVE IN THAT HOUSE EVAH' bit.
'IT DOESN'T WANT PEOPLE...WHOOOOHAHAHAHAHAHAHA'
Okay, so I added the laugh part....but it was there in my head, anyway.
To which George's response, in true George fashion, is I'll just have a smoke on yer porch and think about that some:
George learns that a little girl died in the house, but getting more information doesn't make the big banging noises stop:
where the hell i'd leave my cigarettes anyway?
Eventually George finds out that the story of this little girl doesn't really explain what's going on in the house, so he starts to investigate the house itself, starting with the attic.
At which point I started to hope that what was causing the banging was GIANT KILLER SPIDERS living in the attic. Because nothing would be Kick-Ass Cooler than watching George C. Scott fight GIANT KILLER SPIDERS.
But - no.
And in true 70's fashion, eventually we have a seance. What happened to seances in horror movies anyway?
you just KNOW this shit is a bad idea.
I'm not going to give away the mystery, but that everything finally comes to a head as George delves deeper and deeper into the secrets.
I will give you a hint as to who is haunting the house, though:
No matter - it's definitely no match for George 'I'll pull glass out of my own neck' Scott.
It's not a perfect movie - at some point you start to wonder why the ghost is torturing George so much - seeing as though he's working so hard to find out what happened. But I think it's a fun, creepy movie and it does have some moments (like the banging) that are genuinely scary. Or maybe I'm just nostalgic for haunted house movies.
Smoke up, Georgie!