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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 (184 customer reviews)

Price: $14.93 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Durning, Tonya Crowe, Larry Drake
  • Directors: Frank De Felitta
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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 (184 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003JIPN20
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,681 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
    85 of 89 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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    60 of 65 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?
    48 of 56 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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    16 of 17 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
    Was this review helpful to you?
    12 of 13 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 One of my favorites!
    Great made-for-tv mystery; harkens back to the old days when there wasn't any gore or bloody effects and the story made you use your imagination. Good, spooky Halloween fun.
    Published 3 days ago by Kindle Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars great
    Good
    Published 6 days ago by Jamal Dozier
    5.0 out of 5 stars good
    good
    Published 12 days ago by cryd
    5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky Old Fashioned Ghost Story
    This is a terrific old fashioned ghost story. The kind that gives you chills. It's great for older kids who have grown out of Monster House type stuff, but are too young for the... Read more
    Published 13 days ago by Lisa T
    4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty effective chiller.
    A mentally challenged man with a good heart by the name of Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake) is accused of murdering a young girl while attempting to save her life. Read more
    Published 18 days ago by Borinquen_Warrior
    5.0 out of 5 stars Good spook movie!
    Great movie, classic horror!!
    Published 25 days ago by Misty
    5.0 out of 5 stars Bubba!
    I'm 38 and remember this from when it cam on TV back in the early 80's. Not scary but a good story where the bad guys get whats coming to them.
    Published 25 days ago by M. Huffman
    5.0 out of 5 stars I purchased this not knowing quite what to expect besides ...
    I purchased this not knowing quite what to expect besides your standard scary movie format. And seeing on the outside case a comment by Vincent Price that it was "Marvelous! Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Aaron_Baha'i
    5.0 out of 5 stars Good suspense horror without all the gore
    Been looking for this movie for over a decade. Just as good as I remembered!!
    Published 1 month ago by Mckymse
    5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Halloween Horror Films To Ever Be Made!
    Deep down in the south, Charles Eliot "Bubba" Ritter is a mentally challenged man who's best friends with little Marylee Williams. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Kane's Review
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