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Old 10-07-10, 09:03 PM   #1
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"Dark Night of the Scarecrow" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)


Selected by Chad.

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 Films in 31 Days Subset.

Main Discussion Thread | The List Thread

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in these discussion threads, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

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Old 10-18-10, 12:24 AM   #2
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Re: "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Mentally challenged ghost scarecrows who really just want to play with flowers?!? Unbelieveably effective... one of my favorite viewings so far this challenge. Up to the end, which was perfect with the scarecrow and little girl, there's slew of smoothly executed twists. Despite my bias against it maybe the gentle nature of the made-for-TV format helped the film by restricting cheap gore and emphasizing slow plot driven creeps. It's remarkable they play up the scarecrow on the DVD release cover art but when they comes to be it's still shocking and fresh. Nice characterization on the Otis persona (secretly drinking, not wanting visitors) and the rural tone of the kills contiributed to a thicker environment. If anything I think Dark Night of the Scarecrow's weak point [however minor] was the first 5-10 minute set-up with some diluted plot points to get things started.
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Old 10-19-10, 07:49 PM   #3
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Re: "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 28

This is a really good movie and worthy of all the hype its DVD release got. It was a blind buy for me--I'm glad I bought it.

I like how the movie was driven by a creepy premise and even creepier characters--Otis Hazelrigg in particular. Charles Durning did a great job of adding layers to what could have been a one-note figure. His interaction with Marylee at the church Halloween party made my skin crawl. The actress who played Marylee wasn't overly precious, something that often hinders child actors.

The rural landscape was used to strong effect. The wide shots that capture the fields and mountains give the movie a theater-release feel. It didn't sell itself short just because it was a TV movie.

But the basic idea of the movie--that true friendship can reach beyond the grave--gives the movie a powerful core. This is a fantastic movie, better than a lot of junk that's produced today. I wish the TV networks hadn't given up on making movies like this.
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Old 10-28-10, 03:10 PM   #4
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Re: "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 28

Can't say it better than the last two posts, excellent points on a great film.

Haven't seen it since the 80s, really glad it's out now.
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Old 10-28-10, 08:00 PM   #5
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Re: "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 28

I remember as a kid that the terrified look of Bubba's eyes through the mask scared the ever living crap out of me. The score is still spooky and, mixed with the wind blowing whenever Bubba's around, still creates an psychological atmosphere that is very effective. There's SO much left to the imagination, whether it be the open coffin or why the silo door won't open, that the reaction of the characters can't help but make the viewer fill in the blanks with the worst thing imaginable. The modern viewer almost subconsciously fills in the gore and suffering for the film in the way that a campfire story works in a child's mind. The only bad thing is that the movie is already almost THIRTY years old, which makes me.......OUCH!
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Old 10-29-10, 12:23 AM   #6
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Re: "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 28

One of the better made-for-network TV fright films, from the waning days of the cycle. (Think about long has it been since one of the networks aired an original movie? Even theatrical films are obscenely scarce during prime-time on the networks.) Four men murder a mentally-challenged man whom they think has killed a young girl. As it turns out (and as the audience already knows), the man was trying to SAVE the girl, as she was his only friend. After a hearing where they are acquitted of murder, the four start dying in ways that make their deaths look accidental. We, the audience, know that the deaths are not accidental, but what we don't know is who is actually doing the killing. I'll admit that I was surprised (and pleased) to find out who the killer actually was. Perfect fare for this time of year.
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Old 11-01-10, 02:40 AM   #7
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Re: "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 28

I whole-heartedly agree with prior comments. This film was great! Def a buy for me later. Thanks for the pick, Chad.
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