The Watcher in the Woods

Synopsis: When a normal American family moves into a beautiful old English house in a wooded area, strange, paranormal appearances befall them in this interesting twist to the well-known haunted-house tale. Their daughter Jan sees, and daughter Ellie hears, the voice of a young teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared during a total solar eclipse decades before...
Production: Walt Disney Productions
  1 win & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
84 min

I think this house

will be exactly right for you.

That's what she said about all the wrong

ones she showed us yesterday!

Isn't it rather isolated?

Well, secluded, I'd say.

- Are you sure it wasn't $1,000 a week?

- Quite sure.

- Furnished?

- Indeed.

- What's the catch?

- Catch, Mr Curtis?

A bargain like that

wouldn't stay on the market.

Maybe there's a ghost.

What self-respecting English house

would be without one?

Nonsense. The fact is Mrs Aylwood,

the owner, is a bit eccentric.

She has no family left

and she needs the income,

but she is quite sentimental about the house

and picky about who lives in it.

Look around.

I'll nip to the cottage for the keys.

- Is someone living there?

- Mrs Aylwood.

I expect that's why she wants to make sure

the tenants are the right sort of people.

If we live here, I'm gonna climb this

and go exploring in those woods.

Leave a trail of pebbles so I can grab you

before the wicked witch eats you up.

If she lives in a gingerbread house,

I'll eat it up. I'm starved!

- What is it?

- Mrs Aylwood.

- I've brought a lovely family to...

- You were told to notify me first.

- I tried to reach you by telephone.

- I haven't left the house all day.

Mrs Curtis writes charming children's books,

and Mrs Curtis is quite well-known

in American musical circles.

Pianist and composer. He's here

to conduct one of his own operas.

Mrs Aylwood, are you all right?

I'll get the keys.

They don't build houses like this any more.

What we need is a little light.

There's a large dining room

and the kitchen has full butler's pantry.

The living room is just beyond

the music room. This way.

That's a bit more cheery, isn't it?

How long before lunch?

You just had breakfast an hour ago.

When you said opera,

I thought he was a serious musician.

I have a very soft touch late at night.

Come on, Jan. Let's go upstairs.

I want that room. It's really neat,

and you can look right out at the woods.

Did you hurt yourself?

It's just a little cut.

I thought...

I thought I saw something

out there in the woods.

What sort of person are you?

It's hard to say. Just... average, I guess.

Are you adventurous... and kind?

Are you kind?

I... try to be.

And sensitive?

Do you sense things?

Mrs Aylwood, my husband would like

to talk about the details of the lease.

That is, if you've decided to let us live here.

I'm going to take a chance on you.

Isn't this a pretty room?

- What was all that about?

- I don't know.

What happened to your hand?

I cut it on that window.

Let's see.

- Mom?

- What, darling?

- Couldn't we keep looking?

- This place has everything we need.

- And the price is right. Why don't you like it?

- I don't know.

The whole atmosphere, I guess.

I had such a funny, cold feeling

out by the woods.

Like someone was watching me.

And then there's Mrs Aylwood...

and this house.

Older people, when they live alone,

tend to be a bit unusual.

Something awful happened here.

I can feel it.

Something awful.

Boy, Mrs Aylwood sure is creepy.

Comforting to know

we're the right sort of people.

I've seen the iciest of old ladies

melted by your charm.

- I think your daughter did the trick.

- Me?

No, dear, not you.

She had a daughter, about your age.

- Had?

- Lost, many years ago.

- Perhaps you reminded Mrs Aylwood of her.

- Lost how?

I really don't know all the details,

just that she disappeared.

I believe the circumstances

were rather tragic.

She's going to stay here.

Is that what you wanted?

Let's see. Gooseneck lamp

up here with the rest of my writing things,

mirror in the living room, please.

- Jan, you didn't!

- I don't know what happened.

I wasn't even touching it!

Mom, I couldn't see myself in it.

My reflection wasn't in it.


I couldn't see myself in the mirror.

And then I saw...

I thought I saw... somebody else in it.

You know how old mirrors are. I never made

a move without something getting broken.

That's seven years' bad luck.

Nonsense. I broke a mirror

the day I met your mother.

I'm not sure that makes your point, darling.

It's OK, Dad, I'll get it.

Well, be careful.


- Boy, are you ever jumpy!

- Brat!

Look out! You'll wreck the scariest mask

I ever had! I may want to use it on you again.

- Out!

- Some people are no fun at all.

What is going on?

You are supposed to be in bed.

- I was just attacked by that thing.

- Even monsters have to sleep.

Here. Give us a kiss.

- Goodnight.

- 'Night.


- Sweet dreams.

- You, too.

Mom, will you catch the light?

I'm through reading.


Must open door.


Must open door.

Ellie? Ellie, wake up. It's OK.

Ellie, wake up. You were dreaming.

Talking in your sleep. It's OK.

- I wasn't talking. You were.

- No, I wasn't.

Well, you're the only one here.

Who else could it have been?

Jan, can I come into bed with you?

Sure. Then if we talk in our sleep,

we won't wake each other up. Make sense?

No, but I'm coming anyways.

I'll bring Arthur. He'll watch out for us.

Elephants hardly ever sleep, you know.

Mike, you were right.

This one chose me,

so I'd better not hurt its feelings.

It came right away from the mother.

That means she's brave, huh?

- What are you gonna call her?

- I'm not sure. I've gotta think.

She's special,

so it's gotta be a special name.

What's that?

The name of the puppy: Nerak!

- But what does it mean?

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Brian Clemens

Brian Horace Clemens OBE (30 July 1931 – 10 January 2015) was an English screenwriter and television producer, possibly best known for his work on The Avengers and The Professionals. Clemens was related to Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), a fact reflected in the naming of his two sons, Samuel Joshua Twain Clemens and George Langhorne Clemens. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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