Director – Frank De Felitta
Cast – Charles Durning, Robert F. Lyons, Claude Earl Jones, Lane Smith, Tonya Crowe, Larry Drake, Jocelyn Brando, Tom Taylor, Richard McKenzie
Release Year – 1981
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I first heard of this 1981 made-for-TV movie while looking up another scarecrow-oriented film, and decided I’d give this a watch after reading some positive things about this flick. Scarecrow flicks were always a love of mine growing up as a kid, simply because scarecrows are so damn creepy, and work well in the horror setting. Although this is a made-for-tv movie, it did manage to be a fun flick to watch.
In this film, a mentally handicapped man named Bubba Ritter is wrongfully accused of killing a young girl. Vigilantes in the town who never trusted the man around children have decided to take the law into their own hands and kill him. Soon after the group of men learn that Bubba in fact did not harm the girl, but in fact saved her from a vicious dog attack, hence her injuries. To make matters even worse, the girl survived! The men stand trial for their crime and are found not guilty of this heinous murder. Bubba then decides to exact revenge from beyond the grave on each of those responsible for his death.
I really do wish we would get some high quality scarecrow horror flicks these days. All I really see are these very cheezy looking DTV ones that seem just out to make a quick buck. Nonetheless, I really do have a love for this horror sub-genre, which is partly why I enjoyed this flick. There is another reason why I enjoyed this flick, and it should come as no surprise…it’s use of vengeance! Vengeance flicks mean a lot to me too, so when you mix vengeance with scarecrows, it’s just plain cool.
For this being a TV movie it’s production is pretty well done. It stars the Oscar-Nominated Charles Durning, and has some pretty solid direction. This flick paced remarkably well, most likely thanks to how interested I was in this film’s story. Vengeance can do that to me guys. Heh. As for the storyline, it was enjoyable. You really feel for Bubba when he is killed, especially knowing that the poor guy did nothing wrong, and was in fact a hero. But that only makes the vengeance exacted on his murderers all the more enjoyable.
One big thing that I did not enjoy about this flick however is that we see very little scarecrow action. The creepy scenes involving the scarecrow showing up in someone’s cornfield before the were killed were great, but aside from that we don’t actually see the scarecrow during the kills. In some cases I am a fan of this type of “what you don’t see” horror, but not in this case. I really wanted to see the scarecrow. Scarecrows are scary, therefore they should be shown, not hidden. If this flick had thrown in a lot more scarecrow action then it would have had a much higher rating.
Overall, this is a positive watch that I recommend to fans of the scarecrow sub-genre or those who would like to see a TV horror movie that is well done.