HMM Day 13 – Dark Night of the Scarecrow

You know what everybody loves? A good comeuppance movie. That kind of horror movie where the victims being hunted down are in all rights, not innocent. Justice is being completely served. Where moves like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween all have killers going after innocent youth; it is kind of rewarding for a horror movie to feature victims getting their just reward. I mean, I sure do love seeing Jason and Freddy working their magic but I can’t help myself feeling some sense of remorse for our characters. “Come on Krueger! Why did you have to kill Jennifer? She was gonna take Hollywood by fucking storm!”

A good comeuppance death is a perfect moment for insane people like ourselves to root for the killer and enjoy the bloodshed in full throttle. The best is when the bad guy in a horror movie gets it in the very end. Kind of like John Voight in 1997’s Anaconda or Benny from 1999’s The Mummy. You think they are gonna get away, but no! Death finds them quickly and it is always super rewarding. We don’t have to worry about the victims because they’re complete ass holes! We have seen what these people did and how they act. Throughout the movie, we think multiple times that we just want them to die. But their death has to be special… and it would end the movie. So when the moment comes we become the damn voice over in a Mortal Kombat game and say “FINISH HIM! FATALITY!” Who cares if they have loved ones, their kids can go F themselves! Then this shit eating grin appears on our faces and the only remorse we feel is that we couldn’t do it ourselves.

One movie that I have always been a big fan of is a movie of nothing but comeuppance. It isn’t a very popular movie and it never received a theatrical release. Most of us that grew up in the eighties and early nineties may remember this airing on CBS and it is called Dark Night of the Scarecrow. If you haven’t seen it then forget the trailer! You can watch the entire thing on right here!

Dark Night of The Scarecrow is a slasher film from 1981 that was directed by Frank De Felitta and aired on CBS on October 24th. It stars Charles Durning, Larry Drake, Tonya Crowe, Lane Smith, Jocelyn Brando and Claude Earl Jones. This made-for-tv-movie was well received and aired every year throughout the decade.

Dark Night of The Scarecrow

In a small southern town a mentally challenged man named Bubba is best friends with a young girl named Marylee. After Marylee is attacked by a vicious dog, Bubba is blamed and hunted down by a group of four men. As Bubba is hiding in a scarecrow costume, the men find him and murder him in cold blood to then discover the truth of Marylee’s injuries. Now something stalks our four guilty vigilantes and is seeking vengeance for their crime gone unpunished!

This movie might be the very first slasher movie I have ever seen. Since I was born in 1982, I wasn’t allowed to watch most slasher films like A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween until I was much older. But for some reason Dark Night of The Scarecrow was one my parents let me watch at a fairly young age. But through the years I forgot about it until a few years ago when I had a moment of nostalgic clarity. I couldn’t think of the name, just certain scenes premised around some pissed off scarecrow. Thank goodness for Google because I found this film right away. All I had to do was search for “scarecrow seeks revenge movie” and it came up. After watching this movie again, I was very impressed with it so I had to include this in my marathon.

What makes Dark Night of The Scarecrow such an entertaining movie is that the victims aren’t a group of teens that was so common in most, if not all, slasher films. The movie is a counter to popular slasher flicks like Friday the 13th or The Burning. The group of men are older males that truly deserve what they get. While most slasher films flourish on the trope of youth being punished for their ways, Dark Night of The Scarecrow takes wrongdoings of an older generation and punishes them. In fact, the killer in this movie is on the side of youth and serves as a protector to it.

I Get A Little Preachy

Bubba returns as a killer scarecrow to not simply seek revenge, but to seek justice. The four men commit this heinous act and get off. The justice system and the society they’re a part of fails to punish or excommunicate these people. They’ve committed cold blood murder on a man and the main leader named Otis (Charles Durning) tries to cover his own tracks which leads him down a darker road. The scarecrow is merely doing what a decent society fails to do.

This may be a movie that we as a society can learn from and can serve as a word of caution. Since things seem chaotic and in a constant whirlwind of turmoil, I can’t help but feel this movie can speak to everyone on all sides of the aisle of ideas. It is all of our jobs to stand up for what is right and decent. I don’t know many that would disagree with that. It’s also our jobs to not seek blind retaliation and hurt others in the name of justice. Especially when that “justice” is fueled by a pathetic desire to only destroy and be a royal cunt. To do so releases a monster that will only come back and destroy us.

Enough of This Emotional Crap

Dark Night of The Scarecrow may not be a slasher film that packs a great deal of gore like others but that doesn’t make it less entertaining. The deaths are actually pretty entertaining. I for one saw this film and have always been afraid of dying via flooded by corn in a farmers silo. I enjoyed the story and the development of our characters. Especially our main lead Otis who turns out to be a man with more than a blind desire for justice. I also love Larry Drake as Bubba. Larry Drake (for those of you without a soul) is the guy from Sam Raimi’s Darkman! He was also 1992’s Dr. Giggles a past slasher age horror film about a psychotic doctor! I love that movie!

The entire film maintains a constant sense of mystery. Each person dies and it leaves it open to whether or not they are dying due to their delusional guilt or if it really is a vengeful scarecrow. The ending does give us the answer and it truly is rewarding. Regardless of the outcome, it is a great little flick that deserves more attention and it is why I have chosen it for day thirteen of Horror Movie Marathon!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve been looking forward to this. Can’t wait to watch.

    Like

  2. vincedorse says:

    This has always been one of my favorites. And it features the incredible Charles Durning! One of those movies that a lot of my friends missed, and I get a kick out of showing it to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nscovell says:

      Its very rare to meet others that remember this or saw it. Not bad for a made for tv flick. Glad to have you comment.

      Like

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