The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

PG  |   |  Family, Horror, Mystery  |  1981 (Mexico)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,744 users  
Reviews: 82 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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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 ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What can't be explained, must be explored. See more »


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Release Date:

1981 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Az erdei kápolna titka  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The book that Jan is reading after moving into the new house is The Green Light by Bess Norton. See more »


When Jan and Mr. Keller are in the chapel waiting for the rest of the people to come she looks through a stained glass window. It is a big missing piece she looks through, but when they show the rest of the people coming it shows the lead in the glass minus the stained glass rather than one big missing piece. See more »


Mrs. Aylwood: Did you hurt yourself?
Jan Curtis: Oh, it's just a little cut. I thought... I thought I saw something out there in the woods.
Mrs. Aylwood: What sort of person are you?
Jan Curtis: That's hard to say. Just average, I guess.
Mrs. Aylwood: Are you adventurous? And kind? Are you kind?
Jan Curtis: I... try to be.
Mrs. Aylwood: And sensitive? Do you sense things?
See more »


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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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