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The Watcher in the Woods


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Product Details

  • Actors: Bette Davis, Carroll Baker, David McCallum, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards
  • Directors: John Hough
  • Writers: Harry Spalding, And R Screenplay By Brian Clemens, Based On The Novel By Florence Engel Randall
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 2004
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001I55UQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,571 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Watcher in the Woods" on IMDb

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Alternate Endings

Editorial Reviews

Legendary actress and two-time Oscar(R)-winner Bette Davis (DANGEROUS, 1935; JEZEBEL, 1938) stars in this frightening and atmospheric thriller. When an American teenager joins her family in an English country house, she experiences strange and supernatural occurrences. Mrs. Alywood (Davis), the kindly caretaker, knows the dark secret behind the happenings ... and prepares for the return of a young girl who died mysteriously some 30 years earlier! THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS weaves a haunting, riveting tale that stays with you long after the explosive ending!

Customer Reviews

This movie has suspense and is so good !
pc
The only things this movie suffers from, in my opinion, are Lynn-Holly Johnson's whiny voice and the ending, which was just a little bit too quick and easy for me.
Ivy Bewley
This movie is STILL the scariest film I've ever seen.
shannooo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 97 people found the following review helpful By mike coe on January 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I was lucky or unlucky depending on your taste in movies to see The watcher in the woods on the big screen, upon its release in 1981. I was 12 at the time, and thought oh yea a Disney movie with Bette Davis....real scary. Well let me tell ya I spent a good portion of this feature crouched down in my seat, hands at ready position to cover my eyes. It was very scary indeed. With all the elements any spook flic buff could want. Fog covered swamps, abandoned farm houses in the middle of nowhere, a strange old woman(bette davis) with a hidden agenda, and plenty of good old fasioned surprise scares and suspense. Best of all, you can watch it with the whole family. Thats right, this movie does not rely on gore or profanity to aid in its chills. Its just naturally frightning. So gather up the family,load up the sofa, turn out the lights and enjoy....if you dare!
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on January 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I think this has to be one, if not THE scariest of movies I have ever seen! This movie is non stop suspense! It strongly stands as a classic horror movie without all the blood and guts! It scared me to death as a little kid, but I kept going back and watching it over and over and over! For a while I was scared to look in mirrors, or if a breeze would blow through the wood when I was in them I couldn't (and still can't) help getting chill bumps sometimes. Many aspects make the movie scary - it's setting, the main plot, and mainly the music! I can still hear that song from the music box playing in my head. I think this is a brilliant film, and was impressed that Disney made it. Though it may scare the pants off your kids, I don't think it's inappropriate for them. It lacks todays standards of what makes a "good" horror film - blood, guts, extreme violence, nudity and horrid language left and right. Though the movie is scary, it still holds that Disney "wholesomenes." If your kids want to see a scary movie, let them watch this one. I watched it and I'm fine ten years later! Besides, the end of the movie explains what the heck was going on, and you understand that it wasn't some psycho monster lurking in the woods. The problem is resolved, and the ending is relieving and happy. It's a great thriller that keeps me coming back. It you haven't seen it YOU MUST!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 14, 2005
Format: DVD
Based on the novel by Florence Engel Randall, THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS is a finely-crafted Disney thriller with Bette Davis and a great cast.

The story is about an English-American family (David McCallum, Carroll Baker, Lynn-Holly Johnson and Kyle Richards) who move into a creepy mansion in the English countryside. The estate also includes Mrs Aylwood (Bette Davis) who acts as a caretaker of sorts. Mrs Aylwood's daughter Karen mysteriously died in a fire many years ago and she has never really come to terms with her grief.

Once the new family moves in, strange things begin to occur. Eldest daughter Jan (Lynn-Holly Johnson - ICE CASTLES) senses something watching her, and starts seeing a blindfolded girl in mirrors. Younger daughter Ellie (Kyle Richards) adopts a little dog and calls it 'Nerak' ('Karen' spelled backwards). Everything that happens seems to lead back to Karen Aylwood and her mysterious death. Jan and Ellie join Mrs Aylwood in a race against time to stop the hauntings and hopefully find out what really happened that fateful night...

Bette Davis gives a mesmerizing performance as Mrs Aylwood (with Georgina Hale also fine as the younger Davis during the flashback sequence). David McCallum sadly doesn't get much to do as the father, though Carroll Baker impresses in her relatively-small role as the mother. Lynn-Holly Johnson (following her breakout role as Lexie in ICE CASTLES) is a knockout as Jan and Kyle Richards is just plain spooky as Ellie.

Filmed entirely on location in England, the tense and eerie atmosphere is perfectly carried throughout the whole movie. Also featuring Eleanor Summerfield, Ian Bannen, Richard Pasco, Frances Cuka, Benedict Taylor and Katherine Levy.
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38 of 49 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on September 16, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Perhaps the watcher in the woods is a female? If so, am I'm not saying it is, I wonder if she's got Bette Davis eyes? Get it? Watcher? Eyes? The Kim Carnes song? A bad joke? Yes it was, but I was stumped for a way to start my review, and inspiration seems to have failed me yet again...The Watcher in the Woods (1981), released by Disney, directed by Englishman John Hough, who also did Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) Return from Witch Mountain (1978), and a couple of episodes for television program Hammer House of Mystery, stars Bette Davis, Lynn-Holly Johnson, who also appeared in films like Ice Castles (1978) and the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981) (the early 80's were pretty good for Johnson, but her career has since taken a detour in the land of the B movies), and Kyle Richards, who started out on the television show Little House on the Prairie, but then moved to major horror features appearing in The Car aka Deathmobile, John Carpenter's Halloween, and its' sequel Halloween II. Also appearing are Carroll Baker (Baba Yaga) and David McCallum, probably most known as secret agent Illya Kuryakin from the popular 60's television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The film begins with an American family, recently re-located to England, looking for a home. McCallum plays the father, Baker the mother, and Johnson and Richards as the two daughters. They find a real deal in an old English manor, owned by a peculiar old woman named Mrs. Alywood (Davis), who happens to live in a smaller house on the property, and is very particular about who rents the larger house, but, on meeting Jan (Johnson), and her younger sister Ellie (Richards), she agrees to allow the family to rent the place.
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