The Drudgeon reviews Dark Night Of The Scarecrow

Dark Night Of The Scarecrow 97 min., 1981
Written by J.D. Feigelson/Butler Handcock
Directed by Frank De Felitta
Language: English
My rating: ★★★★★

The first is almost always the best!

* * *

Our movie begins with Bubba (Larry Drake), who is mentally handicapped, and a young girl named Marylee (Tonya Crowe) playing in a field. They are picking flowers and singing a song, but then Marylee wants to go into a fenced area that Bubba says is bad. She goes anyway and is attacked by a dog. Next we see Bubba on Marylee’s parents’ doorstep with her bloodied. The parents start to freak out and her father goes to see the local postal worker Otis (Charles Durning). From a drawer he pulls a pistol and says that they should go get Bubba. Bubba’s mom (Jocelyn Brando) tells him to hide, so he hides in a scarecrow outfit on a scarecrow’s cross. The men find him and after a little buildup, open fire, killing Bubba. After the gunfire quiets, they get a call over the CB that Marylee is fine and it was Bubba who saved her life. Knowing they did something wrong, Otis puts a pitchfork in Bubba’s dead hand. In court they are let go, because there isn’t enough evidence…. wait what?!?!?!?

Larry Drake does such a good job as Bubba, even though he is on screen for very little he leaves a lasting impression of innocence and even purity. When he is looking at the four gunners through the mask, the fear is so strong in his eyes that you really do believe and fear for his life, which is impossible to find nowadays. Charles Durning on the other hand is just a true scumbag in every since of the word. The way he looks at Bubba and how he has no problem walking away knowing he’s a murderer, shines through in the way he walks, talks and especially the looks on his face. Only the truly scummy can do what he did and not feel remorse, but he decides to go and have some fried chicken to celebrate what he accomplished. Asshole!!!

Now being made for TV, this movie has virtually no gore, but that’s okay. The way the movie is done and everything that happens is done so well that you don’t notice that you see very little of what’s actually happening. So don’t look for over-the-top violence in this movie and let your mind run wild.

There have been many scarecrow movies along the way, and most are pretty bad. Now, as far as I can tell, this is the first of the scarecrow movies. Most of the time, the sub-genres of horror tend to get better as the years go on, but I have yet to see a scarecrow movie that stands toe to toe with this one. They may have better effects and heads getting lopped off, but the best effects can’t make a story better and it’s really hard to topple the story of this one.

It’s not very often that a movie pulls me in so much that I actually get mad at the scumbags in it. Most of the time, I just think that they suck and it would be cool to see them die. On that rare occasion, there comes a movie where the “bad guys” are played so well and portrayed as just bottom of the barrel assholes, that I forget it’s a movie and really get mad at them. Well not really mad, but Fucking Furious! This is definitely one of those. It’s pretty much perfect on every level. This is one of the few that I think should be seen by all horror fans.

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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