Dark Night of the Scarecrow

1981

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 6

64%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 904
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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.

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Cast

Charles Durning
as Otis P. Hazelrigg
Tonya Crowe
as Marylee Williams
Lane Smith
as Harless
Jocelyn Brando
as Mrs. Ritter
Tom Taylor
as DA Sam Willock
Ivy Jones
as Mrs. Williams
Jim Tartan
as Mr. Williams
Ed Call
as Defense Attorney
Alice Nunn
as Mrs. Bunch
John Steadman
as Mr. Loomis
Dave Adams
as Deputy
Ivy Bethune
as Mrs. Hocker
Jetta Scelza
as Mrs. Whimberly
Modi Frank
as Waitress
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Critic Reviews for Dark Night of the Scarecrow

All Critics (6) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Dark Night of the Scarecrow

  • Oct 09, 2017
    Dark Night of the Scarecrow is probably one of the scariest and best made-for-TV movies ever made. Back when made-for-TV movies were as important as theatrical productions. The acting is excellent, especially Charles Durning as the evil, drinking, pedophile bigot who terrorizes Bubba and his mother. Jocelyn Brando is also good as Bubba's mother, Mrs. Ritter. Some scenes are a bit silly, and Larry Drake lays it on thick as Bubba, but this film scared me to death as a child, and it still works as a very creepy, gothic-feeling movie about justice over evil. In a neat twist, the scarecrow does not represent the evil in this film. The redneck townsfolk do. The redneck, small town and small-minded hicks hate and terrorize Bubba, who in their mind they hate because they believe he is a "blight," is actually just different from them, and they fear and are confused by him. Justice is bound to come to people who hate and persecute a simple-minded, emotionally retarded man. Something about this film feels more poignant than ever these days.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2012
    Despite the schlocky title, Frank De Felitta's TV movie is played straight and has some atmospheric moments. It's surprisingly well crafted for a TV flick and features some impressive cinematography. Charles Durning is at his sleazy best as the hick mailman who murders a mentally challenged man who he thinks is responsible for the death of a young girl. His friends start to die in mysterious circumstances and a scarecrow keeps appearing in a nearby field. Well worth checking out for fans of old school TV horror.
    The Movie W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2011
    A really interesting made-for-tv horror film that plays more like a thriller with dramatic elements. I wasn't really scared by it but I can see why people might be creeped out by it. I think that the length of the thing runs down the pace of it a bit (this was made for television with commercials in between, after all), but other than that, it's a pretty effective revenge tale.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 25, 2010
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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