DEAR MIDNIGHT SOCIETY,

Life advice, via Are You Afraid of the Dark (index) (random)

Dear Sam,

We have noticed a strong similarity between the titles of our classic 1980 thriller Watcher in the Woods and your “Tale of Watcher’s Woods.”  Given that both our movie and your tale are targeted at the same demographic—that both are intended to provide a kind of horror that’s “safe for kids”—we feel that there is a significant likelihood of confusion between your modestly successful tale and our hit movie.  We politely ask that you cease using this title.  In the event that you do not comply, we may be forced to seek legal action.

Sincerely,

Walt Disney Pictures

* * *

Dear Walt,

I disagree with your attempt to appropriate the idea of “woods that watch” via broad use of intellectual property.  The idea of a “living woods” certainly wasn’t invented by you.  It was invented by every single kid who’s ever gone camping and been scared.  If you’re going to sue me, you might as well go after Jason Voorhees, the Blair Witch, and J.R.R. Tolkien, too.  In any event, I can hardly anticipate many circumstances in which a story told by a teenage girl among her campfire friends is likely to be confused for a feature-length film made at the height of your studio’s reign over children’s entertainment.  I mean, your movie had Bette Davis, and we had this:

Whatever happened to Baby Jane, indeed! 

I’m not interested in making enemies, but your demand seems very unreasonable.  My tale is nearly two decades old at this point.  It is my belief that changing the title is unnecessary, but I’m happy to discuss the matter further if you so desire.  In any event, I’d hate to do anything that would offend John Hough—American Gothic is one of my all-time faves.  DM me.

Regards,

Sam

  • 17 October 2012