The Watcher In The Woods

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

The Watcher In The Woods (1980 Movie)

“The Watcher in the Woods” is a supernatural mystery film released by Disney in 1980. Directed by John Hough, the movie is based on the novel of the same name by Florence Engel Randall. Set in an English countryside, the story follows an American family that moves into a remote mansion, which holds a dark and eerie secret.

As the family settles in, strange occurrences begin to happen, and they discover the disturbing history of the house. The two young daughters, Jan and Ellie, become intrigued by the mysterious happenings and befriend a reclusive woman, Mrs. Aylwood, who seems to know the truth about the house’s past.

Filled with atmospheric suspense, eerie visuals, and an engaging plot, “The Watcher in the Woods” takes audiences on a gripping journey of discovery and uncovering the truth. Bette Davis delivers a compelling performance as Mrs. Aylwood, adding depth and intrigue to the character.

Although the film received mixed reviews upon its release, it has gained a cult following over the years for its haunting atmosphere and unique storytelling. Disney released an alternate ending to the film later, further adding to its intrigue and mystique.

Overall, “The Watcher in the Woods” stands out as a different kind of Disney movie, embracing darker themes and catering to an older audience while still maintaining the studio’s signature touch of fantasy and mystery. It remains a captivating and atmospheric watch for fans of supernatural mysteries.

Fun Facts

  • “The Watcher in the Woods” is a Disney supernatural mystery film released in 1980. It is based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Florence Engel Randall and is known for its eerie and suspenseful storyline.
  • The film underwent significant changes during its production, including reshoots and changes to the ending. The initial release of the movie received mixed reviews, but it has gained a cult following over the years, and an alternate ending was later added to the film in the 1990s.
  • Bette Davis, a legendary actress, plays a prominent role in the film as Mrs. Aylwood. Her performance added a sense of gravitas to the movie, and her involvement was a significant draw for audiences.

Additional Details

  • Movie Studio:
  • Year Released:
  • Type of Movie: Live-Action
  • Box Office: $5 million
  • IMDB Link


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


  • Director: John Hough and Vincent McEveety
  • Producer: Ron Miller
  • Music: Stanley Myers

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other site isDMR.