Dark Night of the Scarecrow title

Tag line : There are other forms of justice in this world apart from the law.

Dark Night of the ScarecrowSet in a small town in rural Texas, some of the townsfolk become suspicious of the local simpleton, Bubba (Larry Drake), who has befriended a young 10 year old girl. Despite their concerns, Bubba's elderly mother is fiercely defensive of him, claiming the only reason he hangs around young children is because, mentally, he's no older himself.

But this cuts no ice with them and when the young girl is badly injured one day, Bubba is immediately blamed and subsequently hunted down by an angry vigilante mob. Finding him hiding inside a scarecrow and convinced that he's responsible for the girls injuries, the group brutally shoots him dead.

Of course, it then turns out that Bubba was completely innocent and had in fact saved the girl. But being a small town, where everyone knows everyone, it seems killing the local simpleton in cold blood isn't considered a major crime, and the group subsequently escapes justice. But, as Bubba's mother warns them, there are other forms of justice in the world apart from the law.

When a mysterious scarecrow, identical to the one Bubba was disguised as, appears in the field belonging to one of his killers, the group initially think someone is trying to spook them. But then when they start dieing off in mysterious circumstances, they become convinced someone is out for revenge. But who could it be? Bub's mother is too old, the young girl he befriended was too young and who else knew about the scarecrow? Could Bubba have returned from the grave or is someone out to get them?

Originally made for the US TV networks back in the early 80s, the film is not particularly gory, instead relying on atmosphere and tension, which actually works in its favour. In fact I couldn't help but wonder if Stan Winston borrowed a few ideas from this film for his movie "Pumpkinhead". It also features a good cast including Charles Durning (Tough Guys), Lane Smith (Prison) and Larry Drake (Darkman and TVs LA Law) and has garnered a huge cult following over the years.

Personally, I thought this was hugely enjoyable, there's a real air of mystery as to who or what could be doing the killing as the assailant's identity is not really shown. So if you liked the original "Halloween", then you should enjoy this.

Overall Marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The part of Otis Hazellrig was originally going to be played by Strother Martin, but he passed away before filming began. The role was subsequently given to Charles Durning.

  • Set in Texas, the film was actually shot in the small town of Piru in California.

  • Larry Drake, who plays Bubba, went on to play another mentally challenged character in the US TV series "LA Law".

  • The voice on the CB radio, right after the vigilante group kills Bubba, was the films writer J D Feigelson.

  • The post office, garage and restaurant seen in the film were genuine shops in the town and not buildings made up by the film crew.

  • A day was lost from the shooting schedule owing to a fire, which forced them to abandon filming for a day.

  • Director Frank De Felitta is actually a horror novelist, his notable credits include Audrey Rose and The Entity, to which he also did the film screenplay for.

  • First horror movie to feature a death using a woodchipper.

  • The Scarecrow prop used in the film had originally been designed by another studio for the director to use on another feature. But when he arrived on set and found they hadn't got a scarecrow designed yet, he decided to use his one.

  • Writer J D Feigelson didn't think the sound the crickets in California made at night sounded good on film, so he went all the way to Texas to record the sound of cicadas chirping to use instead.

  • Jocelyn Brando, who plays Bubba's mother, was the sister of Hollywood legend Marlon Brando.

  • Some of the lines of dialogue Otis Hazelrig says when the vigilante mob confronts Bubba's mother was added to the script at the insistence of the original actor, Strother Martin. Though he died before filming began, they decided to keep the dialogue in the film.

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