A live-action success for Disney, this has all the key ingredients for a children’s adventure – orphans in peril, an evil man and his henchman, mystery, magical powers and the gruff old guy with a heart of gold. As the title suggests, young Tony and Tia are escaping said bad guy (a millionaire who wants to exploit their psychic powers) and heading towards a mountain that may hold the secret to who they really are.
Based on the Alexander Key novel, it’s an enjoyable (rather than tense) adventure that romps along thanks to some not-bad-for-the-seventies special effects and nice performances from Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann as the kids, and a grown-up cast that includes Milland (as the rich evil guy), Donald Pleasence (his henchman) and Albert. A pretty awful sequel, Return from Witch Mountain, followed in 1978 with the kids returning alongside Bette Davis (yes, really) and Christopher Lee. And Ike Eisenmann made (and starred in) a short film called The Blair Witch Mountain Project in 2002, a spoof of The Blair Witch Project in which a reporter attempts to find Tia and Tony.
Is Escape To Witch Mountain suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There are a few chase scenes but nothing really scary.