In The Watcher in the Woods (1980) second 1981 theatrical release with reshot ending, we get to the film’s climax.

Jan Curtis hatches the plan to recreate the original ceremony during the upcoming solar eclipse, hoping it will bring Karen Aylwood back.

During this ritual the Watcher now as a pillar of light was in process of lifting Jan into air when Mike intercedes and pulls her away before the Watcher disappears. Simultaneously, the eclipse ends, and Karen, still the same age as when she disappeared, reappears – still blindfolded.

It’s a relatively closed, happy ending. Karen is returned (albeit not having aged a day during her absence), and Jan is alright.

Do we know what was otherwise supposed to occur if Mike hadn’t jumped in to molest the Watcher’s activity? Again, I’m mainly just interested in the 1981 final theatrical version, but any insight as to what the Watcher had intended to do is welcome.

1 Answer 1


Per Wikipedia (from an interview with Sam Nicholson, the visual effects supervisor):

The film's original intended ending featured an appearance by the growling Watcher, a skeletal, insectoid alien, which picks Jan up in the chapel and disappears. At this point, the two were supposed to fly across an alien landscape to the Watcher's crippled spacecraft.

Per Screenrant:

The Watcher In The Woods' first ending showed the true form of the title alien - a slimy Lovecraftian creature - that snatches up lead character Jan and flies her back to its craft. This is where Jan would finally free Karen and the ship would crash while the two girls are teleported back to their families. This finale was supposed to include an ambitious effects sequence of an alien landscape, but it was left unfinished as Disney rushed it into theaters.

The Watcher alien: The Watcher alien

  • 1
    Where is Wikipedia getting this info from?
    – Valorum
    Nov 11, 2021 at 0:01
  • Wikipedia footnotes it as an interview with Sam Nicholson, the visual effects supervisor. Nov 11, 2021 at 0:12
  • 3
    OK, That's worth adding in instead of just copy/pasting a wiki article. Better still would be finding the interview and seeing whether what is claimed by wikipedia is actually accurate, and giving us a nice transcript. The problem with wiki articles is that they're fan-written. Should I so desire, I could go into that article and edit it to reflect that they were supposed to fly to the moon in a balloon made of lime jelly.
    – Valorum
    Nov 11, 2021 at 0:15

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