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The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,275 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 27 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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Title: The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

The Watcher in the Woods (1980) on IMDb 6.5/10

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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 (uncredited in the shortened 1981 release)
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:

As You've Never Seen It Before See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1981 (UK)  »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Anchor Bay DVD release was originally going to be a two-disc set, with both the famous original 100 minute cut that test audiences saw (Anchor Bay found the footage that was thought destroyed, and was going to re-edit it as close as possible to the preview version) and the theatrical 84 minute cut. Unfortunately Disney did not allow Anchor Bay to have the original cut, and only let them use the two "alternate endings" which now appear on the DVD. This explains why director John Hough referring to the movie as being finally edited the way he intended (the commentary was recorded before Anchor Bay had to drop the two-disc idea), when it actually isn't. The alternate endings, however, do provide the majority of the missing footage from the 1981 preview, save some small scenes/changes. Hough explains that "his" ending is a combination of the two alternate endings and the film's current ending. 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: 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 »

Connections

Spoofed in Winnie the Pooh (2011) 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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