The Horror Honeys: Let's Play the Hiding Game...

Let's Play the Hiding Game...

A Supernatural Honey Hexmas Review by Suzanne

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) 

Everyone has their holiday traditions. Those of us who are obsessed with horror really do it up during the month of October and, while my day job prevents me from doing a horror movie (or two) a day, I certainly have my tried and true favorites, which I pull out every year. The first of which is my favorite made-for-TV movie EVER, Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Addled gentle giant, Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake), is accused of attacking his young friend, Marylee (Tonya Crow).  Evil postman, Otis Hazelrigg (Charles Durning), gathers a few of his cronies and hunts Bubba down, killing him before they even know the real story. When it comes to light that Marylee was attacked by a dog, Bubba then exacts his revenge from beyond the grave.  

Larry Drake has made a habit out of playing either deranged or developmentally disabled characters. His portrayal of Bubba is just fantastic. He is so trusting even when Marylee bullies him into doing things he knows are wrong. Still, he has so much genuine affection for her, he saves her from the vicious dog. When he realizes he is going to be blamed for the tragedy, he runs home, pleading with his mother, crying, "Bubba didn't do it." You can't help but want to hug him. You feel the terror as he stands alone in a field, dressed as a scarecrow, while men with dogs and guns are hunting him down. This is one of those slasher/revenge films where you really root for the killer.

Durning churns out a superb and creepy performance as Hazelrigg. He exudes self importance the way he coerces his buddies and screams pedophile, always watching Marylee. When he confronts her about the mysterious deaths of his friends, you're not sure what he is prepared to do to get the truth out of her. His end is terrifying and appropriate.

Each of Bubba's executioners faces death in an inventive and scary way, yet could totally be excused as an accident. Yes, we're talking early 80s special effects, but because it's a TV movie, you can't expect much in the way of gore. Coupled with solid performances by a cast of character actors and there is very little to complain about.

Everything about this film is subtle, but effective in creating real horror. Horror that has stayed with me for over 30 years. In fact, I can't even rate this film objectively because, to me, it is Halloween perfection.