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Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Charles Durning , Tonya Crowe , Frank De Felitta  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.93
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Dark Night of the Scarecrow + Gargoyles + Trilogy of Terror (Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Durning, Tonya Crowe, Larry Drake
  • Directors: Frank De Felitta
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003JIPN20
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,264 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Director and writer commentary
  • Original world premiere trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    When young Marylee Williams (Tonya Crowe) is found viciously mauled, all hell breaks loose in her small rural town. Officious postmaster Otis P. Hazelrigg (Charles Durning) leads a gang of bigots in pursuit of the suspect: her mentally challenged friend Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake). Finding him hiding inside a scarecrow, they exact brutal mob "justice"...only to discover a tragic mistake! Now a strange apparition stalks the land seeking each of them out, as the legend of the Scarecrow begins. Bonus Features: Director & Writer Commentary, Original World Premiere Trailer. Product Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround; 96 minutes; Color; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA NR; Year 1981; SRP - $19.99.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Get Any Better Then This! July 25, 2006
    Format:VHS Tape
    So who says you need a huge budget, a lot of computer generated special effects, and super big names to make an excellent horror film?

    I saw this originally back when it first aired on TV and have never forgotten it. The screenplay is superb; I believe even Stephen King could not have done any better. One is kept wondering throughout the film if a vengeful human--District Attorney, Bubba's mother, the little girl--might be exacting the justice that was denied in the courtroom. The ending shot is almost poetic in both its simplicity and what it confides to us. The director halts the film at that touching, if horrific moment, while the little girl's voice continues speaking to the Scarecrow as the credits roll. It doesn't get any better then this.

    I have always found scarecrows to be unsettling at the least and a frightening parody of man at best. Curiously, its origins actually stem back into ancient pagan religions. Scarecrows actually do not scare crows, or other birds for that matter, due to the fact that they never move (except in the movies) and the animals become used to their presence. In reality, they represent the ancient God of Fertility, and were put in fields as a supplication to this god for a bountiful harvest. Few people today realize that when they put up this effigy, they are really worshiping an ancient deity. Which, in my opinion, fits in nicely with the theme of supernatural revenge in this movie.

    There is also an unsettling thread throughout this movie and others like it (Dark Secret of Harvest Home comes to mind) of just what might be occurring in these small and isolated communities.
    Read more ›
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    58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The BEST Made-For-TV Horror Movie! May 3, 2010
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    I can't believe this gem of horror is finally being released on DVD. I'm glad VCI Entertainment stepped up to the plate on this one, just like they did when they released Gargoyles, which is another made-for-tv classic. Dark Night of the Scarecrow has everything going for it and then some. It's got actors who know how to act, spooky atmosphere, decent script, great kill scenes, and of course, a healthy dose of the supernatural.

    I must've been around ten or eleven when I first watched this movie with my mom. We both loved it, especially Charles Durning's role as the town's mail carrier. The expressions on that guy's face are incredible. His performance alone really draws a person in. And Jocelyn Brando's performance as the mother is also amazing.

    I hope that VCI does a great job on the transfer. I hope it's progressively scanned with a high bitrate without any noise reduction filters or edge enhancements. Also, I'd love to see blacks as deep as possible and colors spot on. Are you hearing me VCI?

    Don't rent this baby, just go and buy it and keep it in your collection!

    UPDATE: The quality of the picture is very good. I'm sure it'll look even better on Blu-ray.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Night of the Scarecrow October 6, 2002
    By Melanie
    Format:VHS Tape
    Excellent movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I first saw it in 1981 and I still find it one of the best horror movies I've ever seen. The fact that you don't have to endure the usual bloody mess makes it easy to watch time and time again.
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    14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Night of the Scarecrow September 13, 2010
    Format:DVD
    The seminal scarecrow classic makes its long-awaited DVD debut with a beautifully remastered transfer care of VCI Entertainment! Originally premiering on CBS as a made-for-TV movie, this brilliantly-crafted revenge film shares as much in common with Hitchcockian suspense thrillers as it does with the early 80's Slashers of its time, minus the gratuitous gore. DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW finds the simpleminded Bubba on the run from an unruly mob after he is falsely accused of killing a young girl. The four vigilantes find Bubba hiding in an empty field dressed as a scarecrow, and ruthlessly murder him before finding out that he was innocent of the crime. Now, Bubba has come back for revenge, donning the burlap mask and pitchfork that he was left to die in! Film legends Charles Durning and Lane Smith headline as the town baddies in two of their most admirable performances. Unlike FRIDAY THE 13th or MY BLOODY VALENTINE of the same year, DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW provides all of the same gruesome murders and without spilling even a single drop of blood, tastefully cutting away from the actual event while implying the worst. Director Frank de Filetta delivers a steady stream of chilling suspense, teasing the audience with scarecrow calling cards that are left in distant fields to intimidate Bubba's killers while foreshadowing who will be the next to die. The most terrifying moment comes in the film's thrilling climax, where Bubba stalks his final victim through a foggy pumpkin patch on Halloween night. DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW is not only an excellent Slasher movie, but also one of the strongest made-for-TV Horror films of all-time, and VCI has gone to great lengths to provide the definitive release that fans have been demanding for decades!

    -Carl Manes
    I Like Horror Movies
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    11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Exellent DVD of a classic made-for-TV chiller September 27, 2010
    Format:DVD
    I received this the other day & watched it immediately. The VCI DVD is crisp and clear & looks great. The film is one of the best "made for TV" horror flicks ever made. If for some reason you don't know the story, a bunch of redneck vigilantes in a small farming community kill mentally-handicapped Bubba (Larry Drake) for allegedly killing a young girl, although after they've killed him, they find out the girl is OK, and that Bubba actually saved her from an attack by a vicious dog. The men are tried but found not guilty, and this being a horror movie, you know that they don't get off that easily. Charles Durning is excellent as the despicable Otis Hazelrigg, mailman, instigator, and with a few things of his own to hide (including the implication that perhaps HE has issues with young girls). This film is proof that a horror film can be effective without excessive gore and some of the other elements that seem to be standard in horror flicks today. Well worth seeing and owning.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
    Saw this movie, when i was young. Glad to have find it on Amazon. Been looking for it, for a long time on dvd. Now, I have it in my collection
    Published 15 days ago by cindy
    5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, just like i remembered it!
    I was doing sorcery, and using the movie in a ritual/project/"spell" so i only wanted the part where the poor retarded guy was scared in the scarecrow mask (and the... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Britt
    5.0 out of 5 stars What I thought
    I saw this as a kid and I still like this movie five stars all the way.very well worth watching
    Published 1 month ago by georgie
    4.0 out of 5 stars Typical 80"s horror movie
    I have seen this movie for the first time it is full of suspense and the picture is very nice
    Published 2 months ago by Carles
    5.0 out of 5 stars a scary Halloween favorite for many years
    Nice to see this classic TV movie get a quality release from the folks at VCI. The picture & sound quality are much better than the many bootlegs editions of this cult classic. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Hose Nose
    5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to love?
    It's a shame there aren't more 'cozy' horror movies. I love the genuine small town feel and the fact they didn't cheat us at the end. Genuinely chilling. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Tom Wescott
    5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, i know the name of this movie!
    I saw this movie for the first time when I was 5 years old (yes I was old enough to understand exactly what was going on, and no, I have never been one of those kids that got... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Jheff
    5.0 out of 5 stars They just dont make em like this !!!
    I remember when they made these movies for television back in the 70's and 80's , reminds me of the time , when I was in the 5th Grade and the 9 oclock movie would come , I don't... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by victor watson
    2.0 out of 5 stars Its okay
    I love horror movies. 80s horror with cheesy acting and horrible FX especially! This movie got pretty good reviews so i took a chance. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Drag
    5.0 out of 5 stars Still the most memorable scary movie I've ever seen!!
    This is one of the few movies I have never forgotten. It was made for TV and I don't know how they got away with airing it back then because it is disturbing. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Suzanne Marie Osborne
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