Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: The Watcher In The Woods (1980)

"That's enough! I have better things to do than listen to hysterical fantasies. What happened to Karen was a tragedy that touched us all, changed us all and it's best forgotten." - John Kellar

"Oh, it's just a little cut. I thought... I thought I saw something out there in the woods." - Jan Curtis

"She's going to stay here. Is that what you wanted? " - Mrs. Aylwood

This is a totally classic movie.  I thought Holly Lynn Johnson was super cute when I was a second grader and I can't even remember why we watched this is second grade.  I also remember there being a SUPER confusing ending, which makes sense seeing as how they originally released this movie without the finished ending being on there, and then tacked it on afterwards, and THEN reshot a completely different ending.  The ending that was on my VHS copy seemed to make a bit more sense here years later, but in the grand scheme, I think makes it tell a different story.  Either way, this is a fucking Disney horror film that led them to create Hollywood Pictures so as not to identify the Disney name with such black dark evil shit.  Starring Bette Davis, I present to you, the scariest Disney movie ever, THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS!!!

So this couple with two daughters are moving into a big scary house deep in the English countryside.  They can only move into the house if this old lady says they can.  The old lady comes over to meet them and basically ignores everyone except the eldest daughter.  There seems to be some weird thing watching everyone, we don't see it but its characterized by the wind.  The older daughter cuts her hand on a window and sees a flash outside.  The old lady creeps her out.  She starts to believe that something evil is happening.  The window breaks in a weird triangle that is repeated throughout the movie.  The next day Jan sees a girl with a blindfold on in a mirror right before it breaks in front of her.  She tries to tell her folks but they don't believe her.  Supposedly the old lady next door had a daughter about Jan's age disappear about 30 years earlier out in the woods under mysterious circumstances.

So at some point the youngest daughter gets a dog and when asked why she named it Nerak, she says that the dog told her that was its name.  Then she keeps getting possessed and once she writes the name on the wall and it spells Karen backwards.  You would think everyone would be super freaked out that the little girl keeps getting possessed but they just keep going about their day.  Once she finds out that Karen was the name of the missing girl, Jan sets out on a mission to find out why strange things keep happening and why whatever it is wants her to to find out who or what or why or when or where about Karen.  She gets a boyfriend and finds out his mom was with Karen when she disappears.  Then she asks one of the dudes out in the woods what his deal is.  She slowly starts to piece the story together.  Apparently four kids went out to an old church in the woods and three of them starting hazing Karen, initiating her into their "club" by having a seance around her in the church.  They told everyone they were playing "ring around the rosies".  This was the triangle symbol Jan keeps seeing.

So the old lady saves Jan from drowning once she falls in the water after chasing her sister out into the woods who was in turn chasing her lil dog.  They end up befriending the old lady and Jan tells her she's seen some shit and is figuring it all out.  Jan tries to get her boyfriend to press his mom into giving details out.  The one guy is a drunk and he reveals more.  He says that Karen disappeared when lightning struck the tower and a huge bell fell on her, but she had disappeared and no one ever found her body.  The other old man is a rich dickhead who looks like Romney.  He's been holed up in his huge manor for years.  He's a crab and tells Jan to fuck off.  Jan and Ellie's mom catch Ellie freaking out possessed and She vows to take them out of there, but suddenly a bridge collapses and they're stuck.

Finally Jan figures out that Karen's disappearance has something to do with a solar eclipse that is about to happen so she convinces the crab man to come out to the woods with her, and tells her bf to go get the others, and that they have to recreate the ceremony in hopes that Karen will just reappear.  Suddenly Ellie busts in, again possessed and she tells them not to release their hands and that she is an alien named the Watcher and she's gotta return home, and she needs to change places with the girl.  She somehow got stuck there 30 years prior when they pulled their first little trick.  So there's a lot of screaming and then the transfer takes place, and then Jan boyfriend breaks the circle.  There a huge explosion and standing in the cloud of smoke is Karen.  She takes off her blindfold and hugs her mom, 30 years later. Super creepy build up and kind of a let down ending.  BUT, its explained by the fact that they wrote 152 endings, filmed probably a tenth of those, and released at least 3 different ones.  Should you see this?  I think so, I think its a great classic horror film with a sci fi twist ending.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gerald Abernethy