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Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)


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Release Date: Oct 24, 1981 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 830

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Movie Info

Misguided townsfolk, blinded by bias and fear, mistakenly kill a mentally retarded man after someone accuses him of raping the young girl he had befriended. Shortly thereafter the entire town is beset by a supernatural terror. The story originally aired on television. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Oct 16, 1986

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All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (3) | DVD (3)

It may seem old fashioned today, but this very quality makes it surprisingly effective.

October 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It's not a bloody-gory film, mind you; it is, after all, a TV production. Yet it does imply a lot of grisly goings on.

September 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Made-for-TV horror movie from 1981. That's really all you need to know.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: | Comments (3)

Audience Reviews for Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Dark Night Of The Scarecrow has got to be the best tv movie since Duel. Frank De Felitta's film leaves a lot to imagination to guess and with that in mind, Dark Night Of The Scarecrow leaves it up to your imagination to guess whats going on. Which makes it truly terrifying. Seeing how terrifying this film really is, it's hard to comprehend that this is a simple made for TV film, but it is, and with that in mind, this film is truly a masterful work of Horror. The film proves that you don't need loads of gore to create, tense, horrifying situation, and much like John Carpenter's Halloween, its up to your imagination to try and guess whats going on, and like I've previously said, it makes for a much scarier picture. Dark Night Of The Scarecrow is a well acted, well paced and directed film. Charles Durning plays a great villain, as the head of a lynch mob who kill a mentally challenged adult falsely accused of hurting a little girl. It's not soon after, that Bubba(the mentally challenged man, falsely accused of hurting the girl) comes back to life in a guise of a scarecrow and hunts and kills for the killers who killed him. As the film progresses, you learn to really despise Charles Durning's character. The film is very well crafted and spawned the entire Horror subgenre of the Scarecrow. Like I've previously mentioned, Dark Night Of The Scarecrow is the type of horror film that leaves your imagination run wild. Thus it makes this film way more scarier than most Hollywood Horror fare. Dark Night Of The Scarecrow possesses a terrific cast with one scary original story , A very unique and original made for TV film. An essential Halloween viewing experience.
December 27, 2010
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

One of my favorites as kid and that still holds up today "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" is one of the creepiest horror movies of the early 80's, and this in spite of the fact that its a made-for-TV production with an absolute minimum of special effects and/or bloody massacres. This is truly a gem of a film, with a solid basic plot and straightforward screenplay, tight direction, sublime acting performances from the ensemble cast, a continuously ominous ambiance and suspense highlights that gradually bring you towards the edge of your chair. All the ingredients to create a moody atmosphere are very well presented: a rural small town setting with an old-fashioned chauvinistic population and endlessly gigantic & forsaken cornfields, sober photography and ? of course ? the titular type of horror creature! Scarecrows are underused in horror, I guess because it's difficult to link a decent and plausible story to lifeless puppets made out of straw and discarded clothes. Well, that is one problem "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" certainly doesn't suffer from, as the story is genuinely stupendous. Four eminent but obnoxious townspeople form a vigilante posse to track down and execute 36-year-old and mentally handicapped Bubba, because they heard he was responsible for the death of a young girl. Moments after the fatal gunshots, however, they receive notice that the girl survived a dog attack and actually owes her life to the interference of Bubba. The foursome, led by the grisly local mailman Otis Hazelrigg, covers up the tracks and claim they shot Bubba out of self defense. They obtain an acquittal in court, but promptly experience it's impossible to escape justice. The four become stalked by the suddenly appearing image of an eerie scarecrow (Bubba's disguise when they shot him) and form the target for sinister accidents. Multiple scenes literally bath in an aura of tension, the scenery is always great, the twist-ending is more or less unpredictable and quite a few moments in the film were highly influential and later re-used in other movies (like "Witness" and "Pumpkinhead"). Most impressive about "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" are the acting performances, for sure. Charles Durning is indescribably creepy, charismatic and petrifying. His accomplices Lane Smith, Claude Earl Jones and Robert F. Lyons make terrific countryside hillbillies as well and last but not least Larry Drake is splendid as Bubba.This is a must see for fans of nail-biting horror thrillers.
September 28, 2010
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

    1. Mrs. Hocker: If you're not planting, why would you put up a scarecrow?
    – Submitted by Jayne L (24 months ago)
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