The list of things that are going to be available to subscribers of Disney + on launch day next month is impressive. It took me about a minute to scroll through the whole thing which was featured on io9 and gathered from a tweet storm sent out by the Disney marketing machine this weekend. A lot of people pointed out that The Watcher in the Woods is not on that list. For me, The Watcher in the Woods was kind of a defining movie in the 80's, mostly because it was so scary. In the back of my mind, it was going to be a movie I revisited/rewatched and I'm not so sure how well it would have held up so many years later.
When it first came out, The Watcher in the Woods had its own controversy. For one, Disney told parents not to take little kids to it. The movie’s plot follows the Curtis clan, an American family that moves to England and finds a beautiful old house for sale, with a shockingly low asking price. It turns out the home belongs to Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis), who is selling the house–mostly because of the bad memories–and has moved herself to the guest house. Her daughter Karen disappeared suddenly 30 years ago and there’s been a strange presence in the woods ever since. The Curtis’ older daughter Jan begins to feel this strange presence and soon begins seeing images of a young blonde girl with a blindfold. Slowly, Jan begins piecing together the events surrounding Karen’s disappearance. She learns some locals know more than they care to admit and were messing with some dark powers during a solar eclipse.
Many people are saying that Disney might be shying away from making this film available because it's part of that generation of films, i.e., The Black Hole, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Watcher in the Woods, etc. that veered into the weird and strange. I think the weird and strange though is something that's very much in style in 2019. So these films (seem to me) to be ripe for obtaining some kind of cult following, which would only seem to be a good financial decision in the long run since it's just free money.