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The Watcher in the Woods (1981)

Cast: Bette Davis, Bette Davis, Carroll Baker, more...
Director: John Hough, John Hough, Vincent McEveety, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Walt Disney Video
Genre: Foreign, Ghosts, Fantasy, UK
Running Time: 83 min.
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

This Disney Studios attempt at entering the horror genre is a British production based on the chilling novel by Florence Engel Randall. An American family, headed by composer Paul Curtis (David McCallum) and his wife Helen (Carroll Baker), is renting an old mansion in England. The mansion's owner is Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis), who lives in a small guest house on the property. The mansion is surrounded by dense, forbidding woods. The Curtis children, Jan (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and Ellie (Kyle Richards), explore the forest. Mrs. Aylwood is continually searching the woods for her daughter -- whom she lost there 30 years ago. Over time, the children come to be haunted by the spirit of the daughter, Karen (Katherine Levy). The film was originally released in 1980 with an ending that included a huge alien from another planet. The studio pulled back the film after test audiences laughed at the special effects, and re-released the movie in 1982 with a new ending that circumvented the alien. ~ Michael Betzold, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

what a great scary movie (but then I might be biased) by lividsnails March 1, 2005 - 9:34 PM PST
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
A reviewer on the IMDb said it best, "this movie's only scary for kids and for adults who saw it as kids". I remember being so scared by this movie when I was little my mom turned it off. Now here I am 25 years later finally seeing the rest of the film! lol... it was great! It was *very* scary to me at age 5 or so and it was still scary to me now, recalling as it does the faint impressions of barely remembered movie-trauma of childhood. Watch the alternate endings with the plastic alien --they're hilarious! But I would've liked to have heard the director's commentary which wasn't available on this Disney released version (I heard it's not available because there was much Disney-bashing on it). The Anchor Bay version has that commentary. Also, I read somewhere that something happened with the ending, that Disney went back and re-did it because of poor reviews but they had to do it without the original director which explains a lot, if you know what I mean.

Spooky fun! by ABrooks July 29, 2004 - 4:02 PM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Oh my gosh! I can't believe this movie has made it to DVD! I am so thrilled! This was one of my favorite movies from when I was a kid. It stars the cute blonde darling of the 80's; Holly-Lynn Johnson as Karen, the eldest daughter of a family who moves into a creepy house, inhabited by a creepy woman (Bette Davis no less!) which is nestled near the creepy woods.Strange things start happening to Karen in this house. Mirrors break, unfamiliar voices are calling out to her,she has visions, her little sister gets a puppy with an interesting name and...she feels like she is ...being watched. I havn't seen this movie in years, but I know it like I just saw it yesterday. It's a lot of fun and only slightly dated. Rent this with "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" and have yourself a little "Creepy Bette Davis" film fest.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.64)
44 Votes
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