The Full Wiki

More info on Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Dark Night of the Scarecrow: Wikis

  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dark Night of the Scarecrow
Directed by Frank De Felitta
Produced by Bobby Frank
Written by J.D. Feigelson
Starring Charles Durning
Tonya Crowe
Jocelyn Brando
Larry Drake
Distributed by Lorimar-Telepictures
Release date(s) 1981
Country  United States
Language English

Dark Night of the Scarecrow is a made-for-television suspense/horror film released in 1981 and directed by veteran novelist Frank De Felitta (author of Audrey Rose) from a script by J.D. Feigelson. Feigelson's intent had been to make an independent feature, but his script was bought by CBS for television; despite this, only minor changes were made to the original screenplay.[1]

Contents

Plot summary

Charles Elliot "Bubba" Ritter (Larry Drake), a huge man with the mind and soul of a child, befriends young Marylee Williams, (Tonya Crowe, who later played Olivia Cunningham in Knots Landing). The townspeople are upset by the friendship between Marylee and Bubba, and the brooding, mean-spirited postman Otis Hazelrigg (Charles Durning) is the worst. When Marylee is almost killed by a vicious dog (Bubba saves her) and lies unconscious at a doctor's office, Otis promptly assumes that Bubba has murdered (and likely raped) her. Otis and three friends - gas station attendant Skeeter Norris and farmer-cousins Philby and Harliss Hocker - form a lynch mob. They chase Bubba to his mother (Jocelyn Brando)'s house. She believes her son and they play "the Hiding Game": disguising Bubba as a scarecrow and posting him in a nearby field to wait for the drama to cool down. Otis' bloodhounds sniff Bubba out, however, and all four vigilantes empty multiple rounds from their guns into him, killing him. Afterwards, they discover that Marylee is in fact alive, thanks to Bubba, whom they have just murdered. Acting fast, Otis places a pitchfork in Bubba's lifeless hands to make it appear as if he were attacking them with a weapon.

In court, Otis and his fellow vigilantes swear they acted in self-defense. Bubba's mother denounces her son's killers before the courtroom, stating, "You may think that you're getting off free, but there's other justice in this world, besides the law!!!" only to be ejected by the bailiff. Sam Willock, the local district attorney, does not believe the vigilantes' story but he cannot make the murder case stick due to a lack of witnesses. The vigilantes go free, but Sam calls after them: "Hazelrigg, just a minute. I want to tell you "men" one thing. I think you executed that man. And I promise you this; If I ever find a single shred of evidence, I'll see every one of you on Death Row."

A day later, Harliss finds a scarecrow in his fields like the one Bubba was hidden in. Neither Harliss nor his wife can figure out how it got there as neither of them placed it. That evening, the scarecrow has disappeared. As he begins his walk up the steps to his front door, the wood chipper begins to run, and a light comes on in the barn. At first, Harliss believes Sam has invited himself over and walks to the barn. As he investigates, he climbs up the hayloft to confront what he believes is the district attorney hiding in his barn, playing pranks. Walking on the support beam, he is startled as the wood chipper is mysteriously activated. Losing his balance, he grabs the cord of the light that is hanging in the barn. Screaming, he calls for his wife. No longer able to hang on as the sparks from the light shower him, he releases his grip on the light and falls to his death.

Skeeter and Philby inform Otis of Harliss's mysterious death. The trio investigate, and find the thresher is no longer operational. Otis figures it must have run out of gas, but when its tank proves to be nearly full, he jumps to another conclusion. The next morning, he visits Mrs. Ritter and accuses her of killing his friend, although he cannot prove anything. She denies the charges, but says that all four of them will get their just deserts promptly enough.

When Philby discovers a scarecrow like the one Bubba was dressed as in his field, Otis acts fast. He breaks into Mrs. Ritter's house and grabs her from behind, demanding that she explain what's going on with the scarecrows. But she cannot tell him anything because she has suffered a heart attack as he tries to muffle her screams. To cover his tracks, Otis turns Mrs. Ritter's gas stove on full, then walks out with the fireplace still running. The house explodes, again leaving nothing for Sam to use against Otis.

That night at his farm, Philby notices that the "Bubba" scarecrow (whom the viewer cannot see) in his field has gotten off its field-post, and is walking toward him. Panicking, Philby locks himself in a grain silo. The scarecrow jams the silo door, trapping Philby inside, and then turns on the conveyer belt feeding into the silo. Philby is buried in grain and perishes.

Skeeter is ready to turn himself in rather than face the scarecrow's wrath. Yet Otis remains convinced that it's all a hoax by somebody seeking to avenge the Ritter murders. To verify said theory, Otis and Skeeter break into the local cemetery that night. They dig up Bubba's coffin and open it. Bubba is inside. Otis has to wrestle Skeeter to stop him from fleeing in terror. They agree to fill the grave back in and forget any of this ever happened. But as Skeeter is nailing the coffin shut again, Otis kills him from behind by striking his head with a shovel. Otis re-buries both corpses and then drives off, back towards town.

En route home, Otis finds Marylee alone at roadside, and chases her into a pumpkin patch. He grabs Marylee and accuses her of masterminding the scarecrow murders. A combination payloader/plowing machine starts up nearby and chases Otis through the pumpkin patch, snapping its shovel and turning pumpkins to pulp. As he flees, Otis accidentally runs into the Bubba-Scarecrow, still holding the pitchfork, on which Otis has just impaled himself. Otis sinks to his knees and points at the Scarecrow, who nods, before keeling over dead. The scarecrow walks off through the pumpkin patch and finds Marylee, to whom he hands a flower. She says, "Thank you, Bubba. You know what? Tomorrow, I think I'll teach you a new game. Did I ever show you how to play the Chasing Game? It's fun. You'll love it. It's sort of like playing tag."

Release

Dark Night of the Scarecrow premiered on CBS on October 24, 1981.

Home media

The film was released on VHS by Key Video in the mid-80s[2] and is now difficult to get hold of in this format.[3]

In August 2008 it was reported that Image Entertainment was planning a special edition release of Dark Night of the Scarecrow on DVD and Blu-ray for 2009.[4] Apart from Truegore Video's DVD representation of the Key Video release,[2] the film has not previously been released on DVD.[5] Writer J.D. Feigelson was involved in producing the special edition.[3] Sadly, it was announced over at Horror Year Book that the release has been put on hold. However, it has been announced by writer J.D. Feigelson that the DVD release is back on track and will be released by Lionsgate Entertainment in 2010.However,Lionsgate have denied this.[6]

Tagline

  • There IS other justice in this world besides the law. (from homevideo packaging)

References

External links


Dark Night of the Scarecrow
Directed by Frank De Felitta
Produced by Bobby Frank
Written by J.D. Feigelson
Starring Charles Durning
Tonya Crowe
Jocelyn Brando
Larry Drake
Distributed by Lorimar-Telepictures
Release date(s) October 24, 1981
Country United States
Language English

Dark Night of the Scarecrow is a 1981 made-for-television suspense/horror film directed by veteran novelist Frank De Felitta (author of Audrey Rose) from a script by J.D. Feigelson. Feigelson's intent had been to make an independent feature, but his script was bought by CBS for television; despite this, only minor changes were made to the original screenplay.[1]

Contents

Plot summary

Charles Elliot "Bubba" Ritter (Larry Drake), a huge man with the mind and soul of a child, befriends young Marylee Williams, (Tonya Crowe, who later played Olivia Cunningham in Knots Landing). The townspeople are upset by the friendship between Marylee and Bubba, and the brooding, mean-spirited postman Otis Hazelrigg (Charles Durning) is the worst. When Marylee is almost killed by a vicious dog (Bubba saves her) and lies unconscious at a doctor's office, Otis promptly assumes that Bubba has murdered (and likely raped) her. Otis and three friends - gas station attendant Skeeter Norris and farmer-cousins Philby and Harliss Hocker - form a lynch mob. They chase Bubba to his mother (Jocelyn Brando)'s house. She believes her son and they play "the Hiding Game": disguising Bubba as a scarecrow and posting him in a nearby field to wait for the drama to cool down. Otis' bloodhounds sniff Bubba out, however, and all four vigilantes empty multiple rounds from their guns into him, killing him. Afterwards, they discover that Marylee is in fact alive, thanks to Bubba, whom they have just murdered. Acting fast, Otis places a pitchfork in Bubba's lifeless hands to make it appear as if he were attacking them with a weapon.

In court, Otis and his fellow vigilantes swear they acted in self-defense. Bubba's mother denounces her son's killers before the courtroom, stating, "You may think that you're getting off free, but there's other justice in this world, besides the law!" only to be ejected by the bailiff. Sam Willock, the local district attorney, does not believe the vigilantes' story but he cannot make the murder case stick due to a lack of witnesses. The vigilantes go free, but Sam calls after them: "Hazelrigg, just a minute. I want to tell you "men" one thing. I think you executed that man. And I promise you this; If I ever find a single shred of evidence, I'll see every one of you on Death row."

A day later, Harliss finds a scarecrow in his fields like the one Bubba was hidden in. Neither Harliss nor his wife can figure out how it got there as neither of them placed it. That evening, the scarecrow has disappeared. As he begins his walk up the steps to his front door, the wood chipper begins to run, and a light comes on in the barn. At first, Harliss believes Sam has invited himself over and walks to the barn. As he investigates, he climbs up the hayloft to confront what he believes is the district attorney hiding in his barn, playing pranks. Walking on the support beam, he is startled as the wood chipper is mysteriously activated. Losing his balance, he grabs the cord of the light that is hanging in the barn. Screaming, he calls for his wife. No longer able to hang on as the sparks from the light shower him, he releases his grip on the light and falls to his death.

Skeeter and Philby inform Otis of Harliss's mysterious death. The trio investigate, and find the thresher is no longer operational. Otis figures it must have run out of gas, but when its tank proves to be nearly full, he jumps to another conclusion. The next morning, he visits Mrs. Ritter and accuses her of killing his friend, although he cannot prove anything. She denies the charges, but says that all four of them will get their just deserts promptly enough (and also implies that Otis is a pedophile himself).

When Philby discovers a scarecrow like the one Bubba was dressed as in his field, Otis acts fast. He breaks into Mrs. Ritter's house and grabs her from behind, demanding that she explain what's going on with the scarecrows. But she cannot tell him anything because she has suffered a heart attack as he tries to muffle her screams. To cover his tracks, Otis turns Mrs. Ritter's gas stove on full, then walks out with the fireplace still running. The house explodes, again leaving nothing for Sam to use against Otis.

That night at his farm, Philby notices that the "Bubba" scarecrow (whom the viewer cannot see) in his field has gotten off its field-post, and is walking toward him. Panicking, Philby locks himself in a grain silo. The scarecrow jams the silo door, trapping Philby inside, and then turns on the conveyor belt feeding into the silo. Philby is buried in grain and perishes.

Skeeter is ready to turn himself in rather than face the scarecrow's wrath. Yet Otis remains convinced that it's all a hoax by somebody seeking to avenge the Ritter murders. To verify said theory, Otis and Skeeter break into the local cemetery that night. They dig up Bubba's coffin and open it. Bubba is inside. Otis has to wrestle Skeeter to stop him from fleeing in terror. They agree to fill the grave back in and forget any of this ever happened. But as Skeeter is nailing the coffin shut again, Otis kills him from behind by striking his head with a shovel. Otis re-buries both corpses and then drives off, back towards town.

En route home, Otis finds Marylee alone at roadside, and chases her into a pumpkin patch. He grabs Marylee and accuses her of masterminding the scarecrow murders. A combination payloader/plowing machine starts up nearby and chases Otis through the pumpkin patch, snapping its shovel and turning pumpkins to pulp. As he flees, Otis accidentally runs into the Bubba-Scarecrow, still holding the pitchfork, on which Otis has just impaled himself. Otis sinks to his knees and points at the Scarecrow, who nods, before keeling over dead. The scarecrow walks off through the pumpkin patch and finds Marylee, to whom he hands a flower. She says, "Thank you, Bubba. You know what? Tomorrow, I think I'll teach you a new game. Did I ever show you how to play the Chasing Game? It's fun. You'll love it. It's sort of like playing tag."

Note: "With its 1981 release “Dark Night of the Scarecrow” was the first feature length horror film with a scarecrow as its centerpiece. In the intervening years many have copied this image, but with “Dark Night of the Scarecrow” writer J.D. Feigelson is credited as creator of the entire “Killer Scarecrow” horror film sub-genre." Aaron Crowell Managing Editor HorrorHound Magazine

Release

Dark Night of the Scarecrow premiered on CBS on October 24, 1981 and was re-released on 29 April 2010 as part of the Texas Frightmare Weekend 2010.[2]

Home media

The film was released on VHS by Key Video in the mid-80s[3]; it is now difficult to find the film in this format.

[4] The film was officially released on DVD for the first time ever on September 28 2010 by VCI Entertainment.[5]

Tagline

  • There IS other justice in this world besides the law. (from homevideo packaging)

References

External links








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message