Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 02/29/00 21:09:37

"Why review a movie nobody's ever seen and never will see?"
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Why review THIS movie? Because I saw it when I was like nine and it was a made-for-network-TV (HORROR) movie and my Mom and Dad let me stay up late to watch it. So when it was on TBS the other night, I went ballistic. I was so psyched. Then I watched it. Nothing ruins sweet childhood memories like a cold shock of reality. (And yes, Charles Durning has always been fat, apparently.)

First, the memory: I had seen the commercials in between Diff'rent Strokes or Alice or some such nonsense. I think I broke my neck to turn around and ask if I could watch it and When was it on and Did everyone think it would be scary and What was your favorite part of the commercial? I remember liking it, and it's a forgotten little movie-nugget that I carried around until last week. (That's over 20 years!)

So I watched it. The main difference was that I now recognized the actors. That sucked. Larry Drake plays a moron, only much younger than the morons he played in LA Law or Dr. Giggles. Charles Durning stars as the most evil and apparently the most powerful and influential mailman in history. Seriously! He barks at everyone and they shutup and listen and say 'yessir'. I couldn't believe nobody just smacked the porker and took his stupid hat. HE WORE the mailman's outfit for the WHOLE movie! In bed, running through the forest, stuffing his oval head with pancakes. ALWAYS in his mailman outfit! It was some obscene Cliff Claven nightmare.

So what I remembered the most from the movie was the story: A mildly retarded guy is accused by four imbeciles of tragically hurting a little girl. We all know he didn't do it and he's innocent, but they go after him anyway. He hides inside a scarecrow outfit in the middle of a field, and the four inbreds shoot him dead.

After perhaps the funniest courtroom scene in TV-movie history, they are set free. Of course, they soon begin seeing scarecrows and dying. One guys gets buried in a silo, the other gets dropped in this farmy-grindy thing, and big rotund Charles Durning, being the head villain, gets his but good.

What stands out the most now when I think of Dark Night of the Scarecrow? It's laughable junk, but it WAS made in 1981. The ridiculous nature of the clothes is overshadowed only by the haircuts and the waka-waka music. But hey, if you're the kind of person who LIKES made-for-TV horror movies from the early 80's, go find it.

It's got a cool title, and I always like the 'revenge from beyond the grave' thing, but that's pretty much it. It's a curio from a stranger, more polyester time. Plus it's got some wonderful down-south stereotypes, which are always good for a hoot.

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