We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage.
Synopsis: After a young girl is brutally attacked, Postmaster Otis P. Hazelrigg does what any good Postmaster would do – acts as judge, jury, and executioner when he organizes a lynch mob (shoot mob?) to exact justice on the suspected killer: the young girl’s mentally retarded friend, Bubba Ritter. Founding him hidden inside a scarecrow the mob extracts their ‘justice,’ only to learn horror rule number 37: never kill an innocent handicapped man, because vengeance and death soon follow.
While our Scarecrow friend spends most of the film playing hide and seek, we’re rewarded at the end when our Postmaster finally gets justice delivered via stab-mail, and the creepy, lifeless eyes of the masked spirit get all spooky on us. The scene involves vengeance, ghost operated machinery, a little girl, and a painful death.
The film isn’t overly violent for the most part – a handful of deaths take place off screen or are relatively bloodless. However, there are a few painful, violent deaths that bookend the film.
Considering that basically the only two female characters in the film are either 8 or 80, if you find something sexy in all of this, you’re probably a sex criminal.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow avoids the easy scares, like loud noises and things jumping at you, and opts instead for a creepy atmosphere and a sense of impending doom for our characters – all of whom deserve ghostly justice.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow is worth a watch, but bear in mind that it is a 1981 made for TV movie. That said, it’s better than half the horror movies that come out theatrically these days. It features a cast full of recognizable faces, including Charles Durning, Larry Drake, and Lane Smith.
If you view this movie the way you watch older films, knowing that they often have less violence and nudity than what we normally celebrate, you’ll find the film is actually quite well made and thought out. It’s a good example of a hard to find classic that has finally come to DVD and it’s important in that it basically invented the Scarecrow genre. For a spooky time and a strong storyline, this movie will do you just fine. Plus, for some reason the Postmaster character keeps his Postman uniform on the entire time, no matter where he is or what he’s doing and that’s just hilarious.