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The Watcher in the Woods [1980] (1 disc)

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Director:John Hough
Vincent McEveety
Writer:Brian Clemens
Gerry Day
Harry Spalding
Rosemary Anne Sisson
Composer:Stanley Myers
Length:84 minutes
(1 hour 24 minutes)
MPAA Rating:PG
Suggested Event Use:Halloween
Sorting Category:Susp/Hor
IMDB Rating:6.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:46%
Amazon Rating:4.0/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Suspense / Horror
  • Drama
  • Mystery
Available Formats:
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Synopsis: A young woman moves with her family to a house near the woods. But a mysterious force makes its presence known.


Reaction: Creepy and engrossing. A good scary movie for the kids.


Personal Rating: 7/10

Select Cast and Crew
John Hough => Director
Vincent McEveety => Director
Brian Clemens => Writer
Gerry Day => Writer
Harry Spalding => Writer
Rosemary Anne Sisson => Writer
Stanley Myers => Composer
Florence Engel Randall => Novel 'A Watcher in the Woods'
Benedict Taylor => Mike Fleming
Bette Davis => Mrs. Aylwood
Carroll Baker => Helen Curtis
David McCallum => Paul Curtis
Dominic Guard => Young John Keller (uncredited)
Eleanor Summerfield => Mrs. Thayer
Frances Cuka => Mary Fleming
Georgina Hale => Young Mrs. Aylwood
Ian Bannen => John Keller
Katharine Levy => Karen Aylwood
Kyle Richards => Ellie Curtis
Lynn-Holly Johnson => Jan Curtis
Richard Pasco => Tom Colley

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • The house that Mr. Keller lives in also served as Hill House, in the original version of [?] Shirley Jackson's The Haunting.
  • The original version ran 100 minutes. This was with the short ending that didn't include the explanatory "Other World Sequence" (which wasn't finished at the time of the film's initial release). After the original ending didn't work, the filmmakers re-cut it, adding the special effects sequence in which the viewer sees the other world that the victim was trapped in. This ending still didn't fare well with the critics, so Vincent McEveety was brought in (director John Hough was unavailable) to tweak the film and shoot an entirely new ending and opening credits sequence.
  • Diane Lane auditioned for the film.
  • Director John Hough was not involved in the ending re-shoots.
  • 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.
  • This was to be Disney's first PG-rated movie. However, poor test screening convinced the studio to re-shoot the ending and hold the release until April 1980 (and it bombed). Thus, The Black Hole became the first Disney movie with a PG rating.
  • In the Anchor Bay DVD commentary, John Hough states that Bette Davis wanted to play both Mrs. Aylwood in the present and thirty years ago. The crew shot scenes with her wearing makeup to appear younger, but she was clearly older than the character the script called for. After the cast and crew saw the dailies, Hough told Davis in private that the scene just didn't work; no one would believe her as a woman in her forties. To her credit, Davis looked Hough in the eye and said, "You're Goddamned right."
  • 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.