The Watcher in the Woods (1981)

UK, 1981
35mm film, Technicolor, 1.75:1
Dolby Stereo, English
Production Start Date: 13 August 1979 1Variety 20 September 1979 p.40

A British science fiction/horror film directed by John Hough. After the film was released in New York it was pulled from circulation and a new ending was filmed before it was re-released later in the year.

Plot Summary

An American teenager in Britain becomes aware of a mysterious force lurking in the nearby woods and suspect that it has something to do with the disappearance of a girl thirty years earlier.


Directed by: John Hough
© MCMLXXXI [1981] Walt Disney Productions
Walt Disney Productions presents
Produced by: Ron Miller
Co-Producer: Tom Leetch
Associate Producer: Hugh Attwooll
Screenplay by: Brian Clemens, Harry Spalding, Rosemary Anne Sisson
From the novel A Watcher in the Woods by: Florence Engel Randall
Director of Photography: Alan Hume
Editor: Geoffrey Foot
Music Composed & Conducted by: Stanley Myers
Sound Recordists: Claude Hitchcock, Gerry Humphreys
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Make-up Chief: Ernie Gasser
Hairdressing Chief: Joyce James
Special Effects: John Richardson
Final Sequence Designed by: Harrison Ellenshaw
Photographic Processes: Robin Browne
Final Sequence Visual Effects: David Mattingly, Richard Kendall, Don Henry
Final Sequence Special Photographic Effects: Art Cruickshank, Bob Broughton
Production Designer: Elliot Scott
Filmed on location and at Pinewood Studios, London, England

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)

Alternative Titles

Az erdei kápolna titka – Hungary
Ta matia tou dasous – Greece (video)
Mistério no Bosque – Brazil
Obserwator – Poland
Gli occhi del parco – Italy
Los ojos del bosque – Spain
Ojos en el bosque – Mexico
Olhos na Floresta – Brazil (video)
Posmatrac u sumi – Yugoslavian (Serbian)
Schreie der Verlorenen – Germany
Tarkkailija metsässä – Finland
A Watcher in the Woods – working title
Les yeux de la forêt – France
Τα μάτια του δάσους – Greece
Лесной наблюдатель – Russia

The Watcher in the Woods (2017)



  • Cinefantastique vol.8 no.1 Winter 1978) p.33 – note
  • Cinefantastique vol.10 no.2 (Autumn 1980) p.39 – credits, review
  • Fangoria no.213 (June 2002) p.62 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon: The Watcher in the Woods by Matthew Kiernan)
  • Film Review vol.29 no.12 (December 1979) pp.28-29 – article
  • Films and Filming no.336 (September 1982) pp.33-34 – credits, review
  • Films vol.3 no.7 (June 1983) p.31 – credits, review
  • Films in Review no.10 (December 1979) 603-612 – illustrated biography, filmography (An evening with Bette Davis by Alvin H. Marill)
  • L’Écran Fantastique no.24 (1982) p.15 – credits, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.49 no.584 (September 1982) pp.208-209 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Motion Picture Product Digest vol.7 no.24 (7 May 1980) p.96 – credits, review
  • Photoplay vol.31 no.9 (September 1980) p.60 – note
  • Screen International no.203 (18 August 1979) p.14 – credits
  • Screen International no.223 (12-19 January 1980) p.12 – credits (Post production – January)
  • Screen International no.227 (9-16 February 1980) p.13 – credits (Post production – February; February music recording)
  • Screen International no.268 22 Nov 1980) p.15 – note
  • Screen International no.318 (14 November 1981) p.6 – note
  • Screen International no.356 (14 August 1982) p.14 – credits, review
  • Variety 20 September 1979 p.40 – credits (Film Production)
  • Variety 23 April 1980 p.18 – credits, review
  • Video Watchdog no.88 (October 2002) pp.26-42 – illustrated article (Reflections in a haunted eye: The making of The Watcher in the Woods by Paul Talbot
  • Widescreen Review no.61 (June 2002) p.89 – illustrated DVD review (DVD video: horror: The Watcher in the Woods by Perry Sun)


  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.383 – illustrated credits, review
  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed). pp.364-365 – illustrated credits, review
  • Dead or Alive: British Horror Films 1980-1989 (Festival Edition) by Darrell Buxton (ed.) pp.28-29 – review (by Jason D. Brawn)
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.623
  • Ghosts and Angels in Hollywood Films by James Robert Parish pp.355-357 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis 424-425 – credits
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.138-139 – credits, synopsis, review

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide August 2021 p.11 – illustrated listing