Director – Jeff Burr
Cast – Elizabeth Barondes, John Mese, Stephen Root, Bruce Glover, Dirk Blocker, Howard Swain, Gary Lockwood, John Hawkes, William Joseph Barker, Martine Beswick, Cristi Harris
Release Year – 1995
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Scarecrow films are some of my absolute favorite horror films, and I find it sad that of what few scarecrow films we do have in the genre, most of them are low-budget video trash. As I was growing up there was a scarecrow film that I saw which carried some awesome scenes of horror that I never forgot, and while I could not remember the film’s title for the life of me I thankfully came across the film today…Night of the Scarecrow. Viewing this film over a decade after my initial watch I can say that Night of the Scarecrow has provided me what I believe to be the greatest and most fun scarecrow film of all time.
When a group of drunk teenagers accidentally break open the tomb of a warlock buried under a farmer’s scarecrow, the warlock assumes the body of the scarecrow and seeks unrelenting revenge against the remaining family members of those who crucified him a century earlier. As the scarecrow maniacally kills off the remaining descendants one of their daughters and a newcomer to the town are forced to kill the warlock’s spirit before he can acquire his long-hidden spell book and take an all-powerful mortal form.
Night of the Scarecrow is a simple film who’s plot consists of nothing but awesome blood-soaked revenge, which is an element that I always love seeing in horror films. Bearing some resemblance to the 1981 TV classic Dark Knight of the Scarecrow, I loved watching the scarecrow seek his revenge against those who wronged him over a century earlier. We are given a sweet backstory behind the scarecrow’s revenge in that he was a warlock who brought prosperity to the small farming town, but at a heavy cost that lead the town’s religious folk to put an end to his reign, crucifying him and burying his bones under a scarecrow on the very cross he was killed on. The majority of the film centers on the scarecrow killing of the remaining descendants of the original men that killed him, which I no problem with due to the awesome events that took place, as well as the fact that Night of the Scarecrow never tries to be anything more than a simple revenge film.
Director Jeff Burr(From A Whisper To A Scream, Stepfather II, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings) does a fantastic job executing the horror in this watch, with an excellent and creepy scarecrow who was used to the best of his abilities. The kills the scarecrow delivered were awesome and came with great live-action gore sure to satisfy us gorehounds, which included one of the sweetest kills that I have ever seen involving the scarecrow delivering his “seed” to a poor young girl. I never forgot how awesome this kill was despite the fact that I saw this film only once over a decade ago, and that says something about the quality and execution of the kills in this film. To make matters even better, Burr did a fantastic job providing excellent atmosphere with his creepy sets and perfect lighting. I don’t know what it is about cornfields, but it seems even the simplest usage of a cornfield can provide great scares if you use it properly, and Burr did just that not only with his cornfields but with each of the sets he employed. We get positive performances from all actors involved, although I must credit Howard Swain for his acting performance as the scarecrow in which his mannerisms sold this character as a truly creepy antagonist, also complimented by Burr’s awesome execution regarding the scarecrow and his awesome voice.
Overall, Night of the Scarecrow is a very positive and highly satisfying scarecrow film that delivers great horror, awesome kills, and a sweet revenge story. Jeff Burr’s direction and execution of every element involved is top-notch, and he delivers possibly the best scarecrow film of all time with this watch.