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The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

PG  |   |  Family, Horror, Mystery  |  1981 (Mexico)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,593 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 25 critic

When a family moves to a country home, the young girls experience strange happenings that have a link to an occult event years past.

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, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Jan Curtis
...
Ellie Curtis
...
Helen Curtis
...
Paul Curtis
...
Mike Fleming
Frances Cuka ...
Mary Fleming
Richard Pasco ...
Tom Colley
...
John Keller
Katharine Levy ...
Karen Aylwood
Eleanor Summerfield ...
Mrs. Thayer
Georgina Hale ...
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Storyline

When a normal American family moves into a beautiful old English house in a wooded area, strange, paranormal appearances befall them in this interesting twist to the well-known haunted-house tale. Their daughter Jan sees, and daughter Ellie hears, the voice of a young teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared during a total solar eclipse decades before... Written by Michael Ducharme <ducharme@escape.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Scared of going into the woods? You should be ... See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1981 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Az erdei kápolna titka  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the Anchor Bay DVD commentary, John Hough states that Bette Davis wanted to play both Mrs. Aylwood in the present and thirty years ago. The crew shot scenes with her wearing makeup to appear younger, but she was clearly older than the character the script called for. After the cast and crew saw the dailies, Hough told Davis in private that the scene just didn't work; no one would believe her as a woman in her forties. To her credit, Davis looked Hough in the eye and said, "You're Goddamned right." See more »

Goofs

After Mrs. Alywood saves Jan from drowning in the pond they are in Mrs. Alywood's cottage talking. Jan's bangs change from being spread out across her forehead to being all together. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Aylwood: [to unseen presence in the woods] She's going to stay here. Is that what you wanted?
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Winnie the Pooh (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Incredible film that holds up well to age
21 September 2004 | by (Knoxville, TN) – See all my reviews

When I was younger I saw this film for the first time and it made an impact, although with age of course the memories faded. However, when I spotted the recent release DVD of this title I had to get it. I felt compelled, and so I snatched it up. When I sat down to watch it, I was instantly drawn into a world of eerie mystery that's surprisingly well-done, especially for a film that bears the name of Disney, notorious for their sanitized, 'family-friendly' fare. This certainly wasn't anything like most of their films, and it was a welcome change. I found myself putting together the mystery a bit faster than the characters, although I was indeed thrown a curve by the ending, which was still quite impacting. The thing about it is, even the alternate endings included on the DVD are still just as impacting, each in its own way. Each one makes quite an impression, and each one resolves the story without tying up each loose end in an impossibly pat way. The 'default' ending is abrupt but poignant, whereas the others are more drawn-out and overtly horrific. But the buildup makes it so, and the buildup is absolutely faultless, especially with the inclusion of the understated and brilliant Bette Davis.

I was absolutely floored by it. Watcher in the Woods is every bit as brilliant a horror film as any other much-discussed title, if not better. It's reminiscent of Lovecraft in many ways and yet gives a distinct impression of a dark, dark fairy tale. The acting is very good, the cast excellent, and the settings simple and isolated yet stunning and evocative. Every fan of film, horror fans in particular, must see The Watcher in the Woods. The DVD release is something that collectors too will enjoy, with the trailers and alternate endings cleaned and clarified for their magnificent DVD presentation. This is a film that should, and will, live in history as one of the hidden gems of film.


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