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Welcome to the Crypt!

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From the Desk of the Unimonster...

From the Desk of the Unimonster...

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10 October, 2009

Junkyardfilms.com’s Moldy Oldie Movie of the Month!: DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW

Title: DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW

Year of Release—Film: 1987



Bubba and Marylee are best friends. They love to pick flowers together and sing songs. The only problem is that Bubba (Larry Drake) is a middle-aged mentally challenged man and Marylee (Tonya Crowe) is just a little girl. One day while Bubba and Marylee are playing in a field, she decides to visit a neighbor. Bubba pleads with her to stay away because the neighbor has a vicious dog but Marylee won't listen. Sure enough, Marylee is attacked by the dog. Bubba, terrified, carries Marylee home to her mother, all the while insisting on his innocence in the attack. When four townsmen hear of the attack, they decide Bubba was to blame and go hunting for him. Bubba runs home where his mother tells him to play 'the hiding game'. With the vigilantes hard on his heels, Bubba goes into the farm fields and pretends he's a scarecrow. The men aren't fooled long and pump him full of lead, killing him instantly. At the trial, the judge, citing lack of evidence, frees the four men. They are all feeling pretty good about this until....
Bubba comes back!

Local postal worker, Otis P. Hazelrigg (Charles Durning), is the unofficial ringleader of the murderous gang that includes farmer Harless Hocker (Lane Smith), silo-owner Philby (Clause Earl Jones) and Skeeter (Robert F. Lyons), a car mechanic. One day, while fixing farm equipment, Harless's wife asks him why he put a scarecrow out in the fields. Confusion soon turns to terror when Harless discovers it's Bubba dressed as a scarecrow! Rushing into town, he informs the others about his discovery but when they return to the farm, the scarecrow's gone. Otis convinces the other men that this is a prank by local DA Sam Willock (Tom Taylor) to get the men to confess to the murder. Later that night, Harless, hearing a noise from his barn, goes to investigate and falls from the hayloft into a mysteriously running wood-chipper.

Meanwhile, Marylee, wondering why Bubba hasn't come out to play, goes seeking him at his mother's house. The grieving mother tells Marylee that Bubba's playing 'the hiding game'. Asked when Bubba's returning, the mother tearfully replies "Never.” Undaunted, Marylee goes to find him.

Early the next day, the remaining two men visit Otis at the boarding house where he lives. Irritated, he orders them out. Then, while eating breakfast, he learns of Hocker's grisly death. Angry over the death of his friend, Otis goes to Bubba's mother's house and turns the gas stove on. The mother, sleeping peacefully by her fireplace, is blown to bits. DA Sam Willock is convinced of foul play but, without hard evidence, cannot press charges against the men.
The local recreation hall is throwing a costumed Halloween party for the town. While Marylee is playing hide-n-seek with some other children, Otis traps her in an empty hallway and the audience soon learns the ugly truth about his fascination with her. He's a pedophile! Marylee, telling Otis that she knows what happened to Bubba because Bubba told her, escapes his evil clutches and runs away.

The next night, Philby, the silo-owner, hears his pig's squealing and goes out to see why. He sees someone or something go into his house and tries to flee in his car but it won't start so he hides in an empty silo. The door locks behind him. Suddenly, the grain elevator starts dumping tons of silage on him and he's quickly buried alive in the seed. Hearing of Philby's death, Otis convinces the last remaining cohort in crime that fat Philby died of a heart attack and tells the panicked Skeeter that the only way to make sure Bubba is really dead and buried is to dig up his grave. That night, after digging up Bubba's coffin and finding the interred body, Skeeter loses it and wants to go to the authorities. Otis, afraid of being found out, kills him with a shovel.

Otis decides the only way to protect himself against a murder charge and hide his shameful impulses is to kill Marylee. Seeing Marylee walking by the side of the road, he gives chase....
Now, faithful readers...you didn't really think I'd give away the ending of this especially delightful Halloween movie, did you? But, I will tell you that this is a taut, suspenseful film with a great chilling score and fine acting by all. Terrific location shots belie it's small budget. Charles Durning turns in one of his best performances ever as the evil postal worker. Larry Drake, who went on to win an Emmy for playing a mentally challenged office worker on LA Law, gives his all to his brief but vital role in this movie. Without being able to show gallons of blood, great gobs of gore and with no T&A, this Made-for-TV movie had to rely on acting and directing to make it good. And, director Frank DeFelitta, who also penned Audrey Rose (1977), made it great! Child actress Tonya Crowe, who later starred as Olivia Cunningham Dyer in Knot's Landing, gave a convincing performance as the little girl both frightened by but still the loving friend of Bubba. And, don't miss the chilling twist ending! A guaranteed unforgettable Halloween experience!

Enjoy! Or not!
MSTJunkie

















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