Are you ready to be scared? ‘The Watcher In The Woods’ remake is coming to Lifetime on October 21, and HollywoodLife.com has EVERYTHING you need to know before you watch.
1.) The original ‘The Watcher In The Woods’ was released over 35 years ago in 1980. However the film was pulled from theaters due to a number of production issues, with a re-release happening a year later in 1981. Not only was the film re-edited by Walt Disney Productions, but they also completely revised the ending. The film became a cult classic, as did so many 80’s genre films, and now it’s returning as a TV-movie format for Lifetime.
2.) Melissa Joan Hart is the director of ‘The Watcher In The Woods’ remake. The actress, best known for her younger roles as Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Clarissa Explains It All, reimagined the film and brought it to life for Lifetime. The remake cast Anjelica Huston as the lead role of Mrs. Alywood, originally portrayed by the iconic Bette Davis. Young actresses, Tallulah Evans and Dixie Egerickx, portray the children in the film, Jan and Ellie, respectively.
3.) The remake will have a clearer ending, according to Melissa. In an interview during San Diego Comic-Con, Melissa admitted that the original film had a pretty confusing ending. She revealed that their screenwriter, Scott Abbott, reimagined the ending to make things a little easier to understand. “I think the take that Scott took, you know, he gave it more of a clear, sort of, you get a little bit more, you know a little bit more about who The Watcher is and what’s going on,” Melissa told the LA Times. “As opposed to the other one, felt a little — there was a sci-fi element to it. This is more of a ghost story.”
4.) SPOILER ALERT! Here’s how the original ‘The Watcher In The Woods’ ended. Apparently in the first version, a “seance” is conducted using Jan as bait to draw The Watcher out. It works, only to reveal that The Watcher is some sort of supernatural creature. The Watcher envelopes Jan and then disappears into thin air. A few moments later Jan returns, with Karen — the girl who has been missing for over 30 years. Jan tells everyone that Karen was “frozen in time and space” wherever it is that she found her, and everyone lives happily ever after. Confused? You should be, which is why Disney pulled the film and completely re-shot the ending. In the alternate ending, we follow Jan and The Watcher to his “spaceship” if we can call it that. She finds Karen encapsulated on the ship, embraces her, and then suddenly both girls are transported back home together. Still confused? Yeah, so am I.
5.) Melissa tried to remake ‘The Watcher In The Woods’ as a child star. Believe it or not, this is not the first time Melissa attempted to have a remake of the Disney horror film made. When she was starring on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, her mom tried to get the rights for the film so that it could be re-made starring Melissa as Jan. Unfortunately, Disney wouldn’t budge on the rights, and it wasn’t until 2013 that Melissa found out who had them and how she could finally acquire them. The downside? She was too old to play Jan and too young to play Mrs. Aylwood. “So, I directed!” Melissa told azcentral in an interview. Well played, Melissa!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Will YOU be watching The Watcher In The Woods when it airs on Lifetime Friday, October 21? Comment below, let us know!