×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Night of the Scarecrow

A moderately exciting, average monster movie with good production values and a few good ideas, "Night of the Scarecrow" looks to have its longest life on homevideo.

With:
Claire ... Elizabeth Barondes Dillon ... John Mese Frank ... Stephen Root Thaddeus ... Bruce Glover George ... Dirk Blocker Scarecrow ... Howard Swain William ... Gary Lockwood Danny ... John Hawkes Warlock ... John Lazar

A moderately exciting, average monster movie with good production values and a few good ideas, “Night of the Scarecrow” looks to have its longest life on homevideo.

Hundreds of years ago, a small town made a pact with a traveling evil warlock (John Lazar) to insure its prosperity and good crops. Later, the townspeople regretted the deal, killed him and buried his bones in a field. When the grave is accidentally upturned years later, the warlock’s ghost inhabits the body of a scarecrow and goes on a rampage.

As a killer scarecrow is not an archetypical monster rooted in mankind’s subconscious, pic takes a while getting started, especially as the background to the tale is explained only after the first murders have occurred. So, for the first third of the movie, the audience doesn’t get a feel for any real evil lurking behind the murderous stuffed shirt.

The main characters and storyline are largely formulaic. Claire (Elizabeth Barondes) and Dillon (John Mese) meet, decide to sleep together, stumble upon the murders, get chased by the scarecrow, unravel the mystery, and kill the scarecrow.

Claire’s dysfunctional, hypocritical family has more substance, as it characterizes the small town’s dark underbelly. Her priest brother Thaddeus (Bruce Glover) is torn by his knowledge of the price the village has paid for its prosperity and, what’s more, his daughter is a slut. Family head William (Gary Lockwood) is a greedy, heartless father who wants to cover everything up for the sake of a big land sale. The other brothers are dumb, fat Southerners.

Pic’s fright value turns on how the serial-killer scarecrow gradually gets more imaginative. The first murder is a basic run-him-over-with-a-farm-machine job, but later ones feature effects like straw growing out of eye sockets.

Barondes makes a feisty, lively enough heroine and Mese is a good looker, but both could have profited from a little more character in their dialogue. Other performances are standard enough.

Production values are excellent, with clean, precise lensing from Tom Calloway, and action scenes are slick and enjoyable. Director Jeff Burr has more luck with physical scenes than he does with coaxing inspired performances out of his actors.

Night of the Scarecrow

Production: A Republic Pictures release of a Steve White Entertainment production. Produced by Barry Bernardi, Steve White. Directed by Jeff Burr. Screenplay, Reed Steiner, Dan Mazur.

Crew: Camera (color), Tom Calloway; editor, Bob Murawski; music, Jim Manzie; production design, Mick Strawn; costume design, Mark Bridges; makeup, Judy Mathai; makeup/special effects, David Miller; mechanical special effects, FTS SFX Inc.; sound (Ultra-Stereo), Peter Meiselmann; stunt coordinator, Ben Scott; assistant director, Chris Edmonds. Reviewed at Fantasy Film Festival, Berlin, Aug. 8, 1995 . Running time: 83 MIN.

With: Claire ... Elizabeth Barondes Dillon ... John Mese Frank ... Stephen Root Thaddeus ... Bruce Glover George ... Dirk Blocker Scarecrow ... Howard Swain William ... Gary Lockwood Danny ... John Hawkes Warlock ... John Lazar

More Film

  • Glass Movie

    Box Office: 'Glass' Shines Overseas With $48.5 Million Weekend

    After autobots and aquatic kings have dominated foreign markets over the past few weeks, a different kind of hero has risen to the top of box office charts. M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the new champ overseas, pulling in $48.5 million from international territories. The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” debuted [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    'Roma' and 'The Favourite' Lead London Critics' Circle Winners

    After ruling the U.S. critics’ award circuit, “Roma” continued its dominance on the other side of the pond, as the London Film Critics’ Circle announced its winners tonight. A week after landing seven BAFTA nominations, Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory piece landed film of the year and director of the year honors from the group [...]

  • M. Night Shyamalan Should Stop Writing

    The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)

    Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your taste, odds are that [...]

  • Andy Vajna Dead: 'Rambo' Producer and

    Andy Vajna, 'Rambo' Producer, Dies at 74

    Andy Vajna, executive producer of several “Rambo” films as well as “Total Recall” and several “Terminator” movies, has died at 74. The Hungarian National Film Fund confirmed his death, calling him a “dominant figure in the Hungarian and international film industry” who was responsible for the development of the fund. With partner Mario Kassar, Vajna [...]

  • Glass trailer

    Box Office: 'Glass' Dominates MLK Weekend With $47 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” topped box office charts during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, collecting $40 million over the weekend for a four-day sum of $47 million. If estimates hold, “Glass” will come in behind “American Sniper” ($107 million) and “Ride Along” ($48 million) as the third-best showing for both January and MLK holiday [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

  • 'St. Bernard Syndicate' Review: A Quietly

    Film Review: 'St. Bernard Syndicate'

    John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan may have received major award nominations this season for their fine work in “Stan & Ollie,” but there’s arguably a superior Laurel & Hardy tribute act to be found in the droll Danish comedy “St. Bernard Syndicate.” As a pair of bumbling losers who turn an already dubious business [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content