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The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

 -  Family | Horror | Mystery  -  1981 (Mexico)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,387 users  
Reviews: 80 user | 26 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 (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:

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Also in the DVD commentary, John Hough states that Brian Clemens wrote the version of the screenplay he was most interested in directing, but Disney decided that this version was much too dark, and hired Rosemary Anne Sisson to lighten it up. 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

Ellie Curtis: She had to. She had to push you down to get you loose from the branch. She saved your life.
See more »

Connections

References The Legend of Hell House (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stylish visuals, but not much else
26 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS

Aspect ratio: 1.75:1

Sound format: Dolby Stereo

An attempt by Disney to lift itself out of the doldrums following a creative and commercial downturn in the 1970's, THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS takes its plot from a Young Adult novel by Florence Engel Randall in which an American family takes residence in a creepy old house in the English countryside. Almost immediately, the eldest daughter (former ice-skater Lynn-Holly Johnson) experiences weird visions linked to the disappearance of a teenage girl under mysterious circumstances many years before. The film has visual style to burn (cinematography and set design are especially eye-catching), and there's a couple of terrific PG-level scares, but all the technical gloss in the world can't make up for a listless pace and repetitious plot line, and Johnson's one-note performance transforms a strong, resourceful heroine into little more than a whining goody two-shoes. Worse still, co-stars Bette Davis, Carroll Baker and David McCallum are given almost nothing to do, and there's much evidence of editorial tampering during some of the opening scenes.

Originally slated to conclude with an ambitious visual effects sequence, the version which premiered in 1980 was basically unfinished and led to scornful reviews which doomed it from the outset. Realizing their mistake, Disney pulled the film and reworked the ending, without the participation of several key personnel (including director John Hough!), most of whom had moved on to other projects. This revised print - running 16 minutes shorter than the 100m original - made it into theaters the following year, sporting a 1981 copyright, and is the version which has prevailed ever since. For a detailed report on "Watcher"s troubled production history, see Paul Talbot's superb article in 'Video Watchdog' 88.


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