Butler Hancock

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) - Frank De Felitta

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (47)

The first Scarecrow horror movie is a bit of a miss.

Created by

J.D. Feigelson

Screenplay by

Story byJ.D. Feigelson (story)
Butler Handcock (story)

Directed by

Frank De Felitta


Larry Drake
Charles Durning
Tonya Crowe
Jocelyn Brando
Lane Smith


Wizan Productions

Release Date

October 24, 1981

Dark Night of the Scarecrow is a made-for-television horror movie, directed by novelist, Frank De Felitta. But written by J.D. Feigelson. It aired on CBS, October 24th 1981. Scarecrow features great actors like Charles Durning, Lane Smith and Larry Drake. And is the first film to feature a Scarecrow as the main antagonist.

Bubba, a mentally challenged man with a shady past, is wrongfully accused of murdering a little girl. The girl had been mauled by a dog and Bubba saved her. But instead of facing a jury, some of the yokels form a posse led by Otis Hazelrigg, and aim to lynch the poor guy. They kill him but get off on technicality. The whole thing unravels when the spirit of Bubba comes back meaner and angrier. Bubba comes back as a Scarecrow ready for revenge.


The movie focuses on the stereotypically hateful conservative locals that bully the citizens of the town they live in. It explores the hidden desires of these types of people. Dark desires. Our main antagonist is not the Scarecrow, no. Otis Hazelrigg, the Postman, is painted as the MAIN antagonist. He's an easy guy to hate, and he has a much darker side. 

My copy of the film had horrible ear piercing audio. It was a bad recording. It had some corny acting paired with poor editing. It was amateurish, but I guess they had to work with the restrictions of television. Lane Smith (The Mighty Ducks, My Cousin Vinny and Son in Law) was awesome as always. The movie was spooky but not scary. It’s neat that it’s the first Scarecrow picture, but that's about all the shine it's got. It’s a standard revenge picture trimmed for decency. The film could have done well in a theatrical release. I would’ve enjoyed that much more. I liked the premise and would be intrigued to see the Blu-ray. Maybe I could give a cleaner version another day in court.