I’ve mentioned before how scarecrows creep me out. And I’m positive Dark Night of the Scarecrow is the reason why! Set in a farming town somewhere in the Midwest, a group of yocals deal out justice with terrifying consequences.
CBS Saturday Night Movie
Watching TV as a kid, alone, in the dark basement I came across a CBS Saturday night movie called Dark Night of the Scarecrow, only I had no idea what it was called at the time. Back then if you missed the opening credits of a show you had no idea what you were watching. Today we all (or at least I do) take for granted the on screen channel guide. Simply click a button and you can see all the shows that are on. In the 80s that didn’t exist in my world. When I turned on a show I had to either know what was on, or grab the paper and look at the local TV listings.
I wasn’t motivated to find the newspaper when I was watching TV, alone, in the dark. Too much work when I was sitting comfy in my bean bag. So I sat and watched the movie not knowing the title or plot. I quickly learned it was a horror movie and probably not suitable for a 9 year old!
Bubba Didn’t Do It!
Dark Night of the Scarecrow centers on Bubba a mental disability man in his 30s who spends his days playing with Marylee an 11-year-old girl. Some of the local townsfolk, especially Otis the Mailman, don’t like Bubba and Marylee’s friendship or Bubba in particular.
One day while the pair are out playing, Marylee decides to wonder through a fence into a neighbors garden. Bubba warns her not too and the stage is set. Marylee is attacked by a dog in the yard and Bubba rescues her. He carries her mauled body to her mother while continually saying ‘Bubba didn’t do it’, ‘Bubba didn’t do it’.
Bubba runs home to his mother to tell her what happened, while the crazy mailman Otis, blinded by his hatred for Bubba, gathers a posse to hunt him down for hurting the girl. The members of the posse, Harless, Philby and Skeeter, along with Otis grab their rifles and set out to find Bubba.
Bubba’s mom decides to hide him until the posse can cool down. And what better way to hide him then to disguise him as a scarecrow and tie him to a post in the middle of a field.
The disguise doesn’t work for long and the posse guns him down, still tied to the post. I can still recall the terror in Bubba’s eyes just before they shoot him. My memories (and fears) from the movie are strongest from this point on.
After the death of Bubba a mysterious scarecrow starts appearing in empty fields and death quickly follows. One of the men, Philby, gets locked in a silo and is buried alive by the grain. This one stuck with me. I loved playing in silos as a kid. I had no idea you could get locked in and buried alive!
Stay out of the cemetary on Halloween Night
On Halloween night Marylee tells Otis she still talks to Bubba and knows exactly how he died. Otis, already paranoid from the deaths of his friends, decides to dig up Bubba’s body. That’s never a good idea, and even worse on Halloween night! Otis ends the night running from a driver-less tractor! Does the Scarecrow get his revenge? There’s only one way to find out. Watch the movie, if you dare!
This was the perfect movie to scar me for life. Living in the Midwest all the best and worst parts of the movie were right outside my door…haunted silos, possessed farm equipment and pitchfork wielding scarecrows! I never went into a silo alone after this movie and playing in the cornfields after dark was never the same.
Dark Nigh of the Scarecrow is part of my regular Halloween season viewing. It’s not a slasher flick full of gore and carnage. It’s more subtle, suspenseful, just outside the realm of possibility, but just real enough that it’s believable.
You can watch the full movie below or watch it on Tubi TV for a little better quality. Dark Nigh of the Scarecrow isa great movie for Halloween and it’s the first movie to introduce the Scarecrow as a horror movie monster.
Dark Nigh of the Scarecrow features familiar actors from the 80s and 90s
Larry Drake (Bubba) starred in Tales from the Crypt and the Darkman movies. He won two Emmy’s for his character Benny on L.A. Law.
Tonya Crowe (Marylee) starred in Who’s the Boss and Knots Landing.
Charles Dunning (Otis) starred in Starkey’s Machine, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Dick Tracey.
Claude Earl Jones (Philby) was a character actor on numerous TV shows including T.J.Hooker, Dallas, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team and many more.
Robert F. Lyons (Skeeter) was also a character actor on Simon & Simon, Falcon Crest, The Fall Guy, Magnum P.I. and Knight Rider.
Lane Smith (Harless) was in V, Amazing Stories, Red Dawn, My Cousin Vinny and Son-in-Law.