Dark Night of the Scarecrow 1981 TV-PG CC

Amazon Instant Video

(190) IMDb 6.9/10
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When young Marylee Williams (Tonya Crowe) is found viciously mauled, all hell breaks loose in her small rural town. A gang of bigots pursue a suspect: her mentally challenged friend Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake).

Starring:
Charles Durning, Robert F. Lyons
Runtime:
1 hour 37 minutes

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

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Product Details

Genres Horror
Director Frank De Felitta
Starring Charles Durning, Robert F. Lyons
Supporting actors Claude Earl Jones, Lane Smith, Tonya Crowe, Larry Drake, Jocelyn Brando, Tom Taylor, Richard McKenzie, Ivy Jones, James Tartan, Ed Call, Alice Nunn, John Steadman, Dave Adams, Ivy Bethune, Dennis Robertson, Jetta Scelza, Modi Frank, J.D. Feigelson
Studio Wizan Productions
MPAA rating TV-PG
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

The film is one of the best "made for TV" horror flicks ever made.
S. Boone
The Good: Very suspenseful, atmospheric, well acted, well written, well filmed, everything about it is good.
Dan the monster movie fan
I really love the movie because I always like to see the bad guys get what is coming to them!
Susan Rudd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Sharon A. Hutchinson on 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.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By E. Barrios on 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.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Melanie on October 6, 2002
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 18 people found the following review helpful By Carl Manes on 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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Boone on 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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