6.3/10
4,957
88 user 33 critic

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 »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Family | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Tia and her brother Tony have supernatural powers, can communicate and moving things with the power of their minds. While in Los Angeles for a visit. Tony uses his powers to prevent an ... See full summary »

Director: John Hough
Stars: Bette Davis, Christopher Lee, Kim Richards
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

It's the Florida party season for heiresses, with both Oklahoma oil heiress Hortense Burke-Meyers and New York face cream heiress Daisy Appleby in the state. And where the single American ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Eugene Pallette
Francis (1950)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During World War II, a junior American Army officer, Lt. Peter Stirling, gets sent to the psychiatric ward whenever he insists that an Army mule named Francis speaks to him.

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Donald O'Connor, Patricia Medina, Zasu Pitts
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two mysterious orphan children have extraordinary powers and are chased by a scheming millionaire. But where do these kids really call home?

Director: John Hough
Stars: Eddie Albert, Ray Milland, Donald Pleasence
Return of the Big Cat (TV Movie 1974)
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

John & Sophina McClaren's attempts to make a living on the family farm in the 1890's Northern California Woodlands, are complicated by the presence of a ferocious cougar. Two years earlier,... See full summary »

Director: Tom Leetch
Stars: Jeremy Slate, Pat Crowley, David Wayne
Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A bear cub and a raccoon become fast friends when they're swept away down a river, away from their families.

Director: Jack Speirs
Stars: Mayf Nutter
Adventure | Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Daring British WWI fighter pilot James "Biggles" Bigglesworth and 1980s low-level business executive Jim Ferguson discover that they can time travel to each other's eras. They try to stop the Germans from changing the outcome of WWI.

Director: John Hough
Stars: Neil Dickson, Alex Hyde-White, Fiona Hutchison
Drama | Family | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

True tale about two men planing to escape from communist East Germany in a hot air balloon, but only if they can take their families with them.

Director: Delbert Mann
Stars: John Hurt, Jane Alexander, Doug McKeon
Candleshoe (1977)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Small-time crook Harry Bundage discovers that the old manor house where Lady St. Edmund resides, with three orphans and her butler Priory is the resting place for a hoard of treasure. ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Tokar
Stars: Jodie Foster, David Niven, Helen Hayes
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2002, director John Hough said of this film: "You couldn't play a scene with Bette Davis and not really think and not be on your toes, as you just wouldn't have any impact on the scene at all." See more »

Goofs

In the alternate ending, when the alien ascends with Jan in its arms, the wires used to cause ascension are clearly visible. 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 »

Alternate Versions

A scene was re-shot where Jan is screaming hysterically when they return home after the family car goes off the bridge. Helen tries to calm her down, and when all ends fail, slaps her. Disney thought it too violent and intense, thus re-shooting the scene where Jan's mother shakes her. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shhhh (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Disney meets Lovecraft, sort of.
15 June 2012 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

"The Watcher in the Woods" was made at a time when Disney was getting ambitious, making PG rated films and dipping its toes into different genres; other efforts, of course, include "The Black Hole", "Tron", and "Something Wicked This Way Comes". Co-written by Brian Clemens ('The Avengers', "Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter") based on the novel by Florence Engel Randall, it tells a story with a very atmospheric feel. As others have said, it has the appeal of a fairy tale. An American family comes to live in an isolated English country estate owned by a lonely recluse, Mrs. Aylwood (screen legend Bette Davis). In no time at all, the two daughters, teen aged Jan (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and younger Ellie (Kyle Richards) are besieged by other worldly forces, and Jan realizes something must be done to resolve the case of Mrs. Aylwood's daughter Karen, who'd disappeared many years ago when she was Jan's age. Director John Hough and crew make this something worth watching with their moody and stylish presentation. Sometimes some cheesy effects get utilized, and they do tend to stick out a little too much. The reasonably compelling, and never too complicated, story does a good enough job of pulling the viewer in, along with especially strong lighting by Alan Hume and camera-work by Jack Lowin and Malcolm MacIntosh. Right from the start these individuals help to create a very weird feel to the proceedings. Carroll Baker and David McCallum don't get a lot to do as the parents, especially McCallum, but the other adults are all fine, including Richard Pasco as the frightened Tom Colley and Ian Bannen as the cantankerous John Keller. Ms. Davis is wonderful as the distraught old lady who realizes that she could finally find out the truth behind her daughters' disappearance, while Johnson, despite being appealing enough, really overdoes it in terms of her characters' hysteria. What's interesting is how many times the ending was altered during the history of this film. It was originally shown at 100 minutes, with an abrupt ending, then given an elaborate special effects based finale, then reworked again for the films' re-release the following year. The alternate endings are available on the DVD for fans to check out. It's not particularly memorable, but it's pretty enjoyable while it lasts. Seven out of 10.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 88 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse all our free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed