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The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

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

Directors:

John Hough, Vincent McEveety (uncredited)

Writers:

Brian Clemens (screenplay), Florence Engel Randall (novel) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Bette Davis ... Mrs. Aylwood
Lynn-Holly Johnson ... Jan Curtis
Kyle Richards ... Ellie Curtis
Carroll Baker ... Helen Curtis
David McCallum ... Paul Curtis
Benedict Taylor ... Mike Fleming
Frances Cuka ... Mary Fleming
Richard Pasco Richard Pasco ... Tom Colley
Ian Bannen ... John Keller
Katharine Levy Katharine Levy ... Karen Aylwood
Eleanor Summerfield Eleanor Summerfield ... Mrs. Thayer
Georgina Hale ... Young Mrs. Aylwood
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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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As You've Never Seen It Before See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Watcher in the Woods See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 20th October 1981 edition of 'The New York Times' and the 25th October 1981 edition of 'The Los Angeles Times' both reported Harrison Ellenshaw being hired as a special effects fxpert to shoot additional special effects for the movie at a reported cost to the Disney Studios of an estimate approximate US $1 million. 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

Jan Curtis: Mom said she'd only be a minute.
Paul Curtis: Yeah, well that means ten.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Two endings were shot for the film: the original ending depicted the three adults in the circle. Instead of Ellie coming in, possessed by the spirit, a black demonic creature comes up the aisle and envelopes Jan. They ascend and disappear into thin air. Jan's mother then comes in and wonders where Jan is. When she can't get a word out of them, she starts to worry to the extent. Then, out of nowhere, Jan re-appears with Karen, still the same age as she was when the incident in the film first took place, and she takes Karen to see her now aged mother. They run in the lawn and embrace each other, with Jan in the background, crying with Joy, then Ellie asks where the Watcher went to. Jan replies "Home, where ever that is." Thus the credits come. See more »

Connections

References The Exorcist (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Well crafted thriller from Disney
24 February 1999 | by SJBearSee all my reviews

"The Watcher In The Woods" is a well crafted thriller from Walt Disney Productions. Originally released in 1980, the film had a rather abrupt ending after which extensive credits for an "Other World" sequence followed. The only problem was that there wasn't any "Other World" sequence in the film and Disney finally admitted that the sequence wasn't finished when the film was released and hoped that no one would notice the credits! When the film was reissued several months with the sequence (really a special effects nightmare) it only made matters worse. Almost a year later the film was re-issued yet again with the ending that is now seen. Through all these problems the film is still one of those rare Disney gems that, to this day, remains overlooked. Bette Davis is well cast as Mrs. Alywood, whose daughter disappeared under mysterious circumstances 30 years earlier. She owns a stately English manor which is rented by an American family over the summer. The eldest daughter Jan (Lynn Holly Johnson) begins to notice strange things happening in the home and in the woods surrounding the manor. She also has an uncanny resembelence to Mrs. Alywood's daughter Karen. Slowly the pieces of Karen's disappearance fall into place and Jan along with the three townspeople that were present when Karen disappeared, try a desparate attempt to bring her back from beyond. The film is not well suited for young children (hence its PG rating) but older kids as well as adults should enjoy it. It's a good horror/mystery film without blood and gore.


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