Find That Film: Dark Night of the Scarecrow

For episode three of season four we’re focusing on the rare TV movie on Find That Film: Dark Night of the Scarecrow. One Saturday in October, back in 1981, this disturbing story aired just after A Disney Halloween. It’s likely that some of the kids watching would have been in a tense state come Monday morning at school (ManWithPez).

Writer J.D. Feigelson originally crafted a feature script for this dark tale of revenge from beyond the grave, but it was picked up by CBS. Luckily the director Frank de Felitta had his own horror background to draw upon for this gore-less masterpiece. The duo were able to create a truly unsettling horror classic suitable for prime time standards.

Child-like Bubba (Larry Drake) loves spending his days playing and singing with young Marylee (Tonya Crowe). However, Otis Hazelrigg (Charles Durning), the local postman, just knows that man wants to hurt that girl. When a seemingly lifeless Marylee is rushed to the hospital one afternoon, Otis and his friends decide to hunt down Bubba to make him pay for her death. They murder him before finding out Marylee is just fine and looking forward to seeing her friend. They mange to escape justice…for a while.

Fun fact: Dark Night of the Scarecrow is the first film to feature a murderous scarecrow. What else? There’s more than one murderer on the hunt in this story. This is also one of the most terrifying performances Charles Durning has given. Both he and Larry Drake perform above the average Telefilm’s expectations. In fact, other than some questionable southern accents and the most kangaroo of courts, you’ll not find much wrong with this movie.

Don’t believe us? Even the horror expert himself–the best narrator and dinner party host the world has seen–Vincent Price, loved this movie. He gushes, “Marvelous! I was terrified!”

Melt some caramel for apples, gather your family round the eerie glow of the TV for a good scare and find that film Dark Night of the Scarecrow.

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