Dog vs. monster: have you watched a Watchers movie recently?

Based on a Dean Koontz novel, Watchers spawned three sequels over a ten-year span, and it even featured various horror veterans throughout the decade. Let’s take a look at all four flicks.


I haven’t seen Watchers in over 30 years, and all I really remembered about it was that Corey Haim becomes buddies with an awesome, super intelligent dog. The movie came out soon after I lost the pup I grew up with, so naturally the dog is what stuck with me.

Having never read the Koontz book, I can’t speak to how much it strays from the source material, but I can say that this is such a perfectly orchestrated creature feature from start to finish.

It doesn’t let excessive exposition get in the way of the whole point…a dog and a creature to which it is telepathically linked escape from a research facility, and the creature is set on hunting down and killing the dog and anyone that gets in its way.

A lot of people get in its way, including a young Jason Priestley in a wild bicycle chase scene in the woods. Another fantastic chase scene with a cop and the creature is more energetic than some of the best chase scenes out there.

This whole film is fast-paced and delivers creature POV, teaser glimpses of the creature throughout, classic horror camera angles, killer jump scares, and gory deaths galore. And I can’t forget to mention our dog’s ability to spell things out on a computer keyboard using a pencil.

Adding to the fun, sci-fi/horror icon Michael Ironside works for the research facility and is looking for the dog, too.

All the monstrous fun aside, there are some plot points that never get clarified or resolved, like why the creature plucks out the eyes of its victims. But who cares? The creature fricking plucks out the eyes of its victims.


Barely cracking into the next decade, and this sequel already can’t live up to its predecessor from the 80s. It fails in so many ways to deliver on the creature feature thrills of the first film despite showing way more of the creature.

We start in a lab, where the creature kills a few people in a red-drenched scene reminiscent of the Tasmanian devil tale in Creepshow.

The dog escapes, the creature escapes. They both stumble upon Marc Singer, who plays a delinquent military man being transported in an army jeep. The dog helps Marc escape the creature, and then this film just drags and drags. That’s why we needed a little of this to keep us watching…

The dog has been anointed with the name Einstein, which sticks with him for the rest of the series, and he once again shows off his typing skills with a pencil.

The Marc and dog scenes get annoyingly cutesy, and the creature kill scenes are drained of all excitement and tension. Not even the addition of the old infrared creature POV can intensify the horror.

The creature is also treated somewhat more sympathetically than in the original film, because clearly any monster that has an affection for teddy bears can’t be all bad.


This is actually a direct sequel to part 2, with Wings Hauser taking over the Marc Singer role. He is sent to the jungles of South America with a team of military criminals to capture another creature and coincidentally runs into his old buddy Einstein. What are the chances?

This is a perfect example of cheap milking of a franchise name for direct-to-VHS marketing in the 1990s. The team spends the whole movie running through the woods and plotting to capture the creature.

There’s some cheesy gore and a cheesy monster, and it’s all so bad I even laughed at both the creature and the reaction of a victim it was killing at one point.

Sadly, Einstein doesn’t get to show off his spelling talents, because there are no computers or pencils in the jungle.

Despite an ample number of attack scenes, this is still predominantly boring with nothing exciting happening. The infrared creature POV is ineffective once again, the dog isn’t as lovable as in the previous films, there’s a mute boy thrown into the mix to team up with Hauser to take on the creature at the end, and even though Hauser is the “good guy”, he still comes across as the type of psychopath he plays best.


It just seems so weird to see such a hokey franchise still clinging to life by the time the Scream franchise had already given the 90s horror scene a much needed reset, but here we are. I don’t know why part 4 goes by the Reborn title. It’s not like this is ten years after the previous sequel, plus the opening narrations and flashbacks directly reference the second and third films.

Once again the dog and creature escape a burning facility. Mark Hamill is a detective suffering PTSD due to several personal losses. When he first meets Einstein and talks to him, I felt like I was watching Luke chatting with R2, which was kind of trippy. I was waiting for a hologram of Leia to suddenly project from the dog’s mouth or something.

Lisa Wilcox of Elm Street 4 and 5 is a scientist from the lab, and she teams up with Mark to keep the dog from the creature.

The creature now looks like a 1980s werewolf…and it also talks. Sigh.

On the bright side, Einstein ups his game and uses his pencil skills to dial the phone, and even paw paints his name for Mark. There’s plenty of gnarly gore, and the infrared POV is gone, reminding us that standard creature POV is way better. And just for the hell of it, the creature hits up a strip club…but not during business hours. What’s the point of a strip club scene with no strippers in a movie from the 90s?

The filmmakers seem to be going for a film noire detective vibe, and a romance is ignited between Mark and Lisa, so there’s once again lots of boring talking between creature attacks. Nothing will ever beat the first film. Not to mention, after four films, it would have been nice to finally understand why the creature plucks out eyes and is attracted to teddy bears…

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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