This film is part of Free

The Watchers

A Yorkshire teenager begins to see and hear strange things in this unsettling slice of 60s sci-fi.

Drama 1969 26 mins


"If I wanted to I could fill this little room with ghosts" muses dreamy teen Julie, teetering on the cusp of both adulthood and a mental breakdown as strange visions and voices plague her. Filmed in and around the scenic West Yorkshire town of Todmorden, Dick Foster's BFI-produced short imbues the English landscape with extra-terrestrial menace as Julie's fate is sealed in an extraordinary climax.

Aside from a captivating lead performance by Rosemary Lord, there is much to enjoy in the supporting roles, not least the gently comedic observational scenes with Julie's parents. The rugged Upper Calder Valley, such an effective setting in the film, has inspired literary greats from Emily Brontë to Sylvia Plath. Some years after The Watchers was made, Todmorden found itself at the centre of a series of unexplained events, including UFO sightings and a still-unsolved murder case which baffled authorities amid claims of extra-terrestrial abduction.