IMDb > Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) (TV)
Dark Night of the Scarecrow
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Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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Dark Night of the Scarecrow -- When young Marylee Williams (Tonya Crowe) is found viciously mauled, all hell breaks loose in her small rural town. A gang of bigots pursue a suspect: her mentally challenged friend Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake).


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Up 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
J.D. Feigelson (teleplay)
J.D. Feigelson (story) ...
View company contact information for Dark Night of the Scarecrow on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 October 1981 (USA) See more »
The Original Classic See more »
In a small town, a wrongfully killed man exacts revenge on those who murdered him beyond the grave. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
(56 articles)
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User Reviews:
Bubba Didn't Do it… See more (79 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Charles Durning ... Otis P. Hazelrigg

Robert F. Lyons ... Skeeter Norris
Claude Earl Jones ... Philby
Lane Smith ... Harless Hocker
Tonya Crowe ... Marylee Williams

Larry Drake ... Bubba Ritter

Jocelyn Brando ... Mrs. Ritter
Tom Taylor ... D.A. Sam Willock
Richard McKenzie ... Judge Henry
Ivy Jones ... Mrs. Willams
James Tartan ... Mr. Williams (as Jim Tartan)
Ed Call ... Defense Attorney

Alice Nunn ... Mrs. Bunch
John Steadman ... Mr. Loomis
Dave Adams ... Deputy (as David Adams)
Ivy Bethune ... Mrs. Hocker
Dennis Robertson ... Ray
Jetta Scelza ... Mrs. Whimberly
Modi Frank ... Waitress
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

J.D. Feigelson ... Ludie - CB radio (uncredited)
Robert J. Koster ... The Scarecrow (uncredited)

Directed by
Frank De Felitta 
Writing credits
J.D. Feigelson (teleplay)

J.D. Feigelson (story) and
Butler Handcock (story)

Produced by
Bobbi Frank .... producer
Janet Greek .... associate producer
Joe Wizan .... executive producer
Original Music by
Glenn Paxton 
Cinematography by
Vincent A. Martinelli  (as Vincent Martinelli)
Film Editing by
Skip Lusk 
Casting by
Toni Howard 
Lynn Stalmaster 
Art Direction by
Charles Zacha Jr.  (as Charles M. Zacha Jr.)
Set Decoration by
Dennis W. Peeples  (as Dennis Peeples)
Makeup Department
Stephen Robinette .... hair stylist (as Steve Robinette)
Jeremy Swan .... makeup artist
Production Management
Robert Dixon .... post-production supervisor
Robert J. Koster .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Thomas A. Bliss .... dga trainee (as Tom Bliss)
Daisy Gerber .... first assistant director
Bart Roe .... second assistant director
J.D. Feigelson .... second unit director (uncredited)
Art Department
V.R. Bud Shelton .... property master
Sound Department
Bonnie Koehler .... sound editor
James Pilcher .... sound mixer (as Jim Pilcher)
Clint Althouse .... boom operator (uncredited)
James Bailey .... foley artist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Cliff Wenger .... special effects
John Meier .... stunt coordinator (as John C. Meier)
Camera and Electrical Department
Ron McManus .... camera operator
Frank Palmer .... key grip
Robert A. Petzoldt III .... gaffer (as Bob Petzoldt III)
Paul Jacobsen .... set lighting technician (uncredited)
Reggie Newkirk .... key first assistant camera (uncredited)
Casting Department
Barbara Fisk .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Judith Brewer Curtis .... assistant costumer
Leslie Karten .... costumer
Editorial Department
James L. Honore .... post-production (as Jimmy Honoré)
Jeff Zacha .... assistant editor
Music Department
Jeff Johns .... executive soundtrack producer
Douglas M. Lackey .... music editor (as Doug Lackey)
Transportation Department
Tom Blomquist .... transportation captain
Chuck Hanson .... transportation coordinator
Thomas M. Krigbaum .... transportation captain (uncredited)
Other crew
Sherrie Bayer .... production assistant
May Wale Brown .... script supervisor
Selma Brown .... production accountant
Modi Frank .... production assistant
Pat Keating .... assistant to producer
Shari Leibowitz .... production coordinator
Kool Marder .... location manager (as Kool Lusby)
Jeff Rafner .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
96 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Charles Durning did most of his own stunts of the climatic chase scene when he's running away from the tractor. A double can be seen for a few shots with darker hair.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When the postman is stabbed to death at the end, he grabs his gut and looks down at himself. There are no holes in his shirt.See more »
Mrs. Hocker:If you're not plantin'... why would you put up a scarecrow?See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Manhunt (2003) (VG)See more »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Bubba Didn't Do it…, 4 October 2013
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom

Dark Night of the Scarecrow is directed by Frank De Felitta and written by J.D. Feigelson and Butler Handcock. It stars Charles Durning, Larry Drake, Tonya Crowe, Jocelyn Brando, Lane Smith and Claude Earl Jones. Music is by Glenn Paxton and cinematography by Vincent Martinelli.

Small town Americana and Bubba Ritter (Drake), a friendly but mentally challenged man, is falsely accused of attacking and severely injuring young Marylee Williams (Crowe). Four of the town residents, with hate and ignorance driving them on, hunt down Bubba and find him hiding as a scarecrow in a field. Murdering him, they claim self defence and walk free from court. It's not long afterwards, though, that the men start to see a scarecrow in their midst…

Some things from movies just stay with you from when you were a wee youngster, I still remember the first time I heard the anguished cry of Bubba Ritter stating that he didn't do the crime he was being hunted for. Dark Night of the Scarecrow stood out by some considerable mile as one of the best TV horror movies I saw as a youth, not for things that I would later appreciate in film making as I got older, but just for sheer terror of a scarecrow stalking his prey for divine retribution. How wonderful to revisit the movie three decades later and find that it is still one of the best TV horror movies out there.

Oh it doesn't terrify now, though it still packs a sense of unease and keeps scarecrows firmly in the realm of creepyville, but it has a style so sorely lacking in many of today's horrors. There is no need to bludgeon us with slash and stalk, showing us gore front and centre, the makers here are subtle, refusing even to put the scarecrow in the limelight like Michael or Jason. There's a smart ambiguity about the supernatural elements, keeping the mystery element strong as the guilty men begin to crack and head towards their real judgement.

Simmering away nicely in the narrative is of course the vile stench of bigotry, and the pain inflicted by such narrow minds. There is also a dark thread left dangling that suggests one of the guilty men is impure of thoughts towards little Marylee, one of the very things he whipped up as reason to hound Bubba for. Some thought went into the screenplay, and it's credit to the writers that it never becomes a moral crusade, while the crafting of the lovely innocent friendship between Bubba and Marylee is beautifully born out by actors and technicians alike.

Durning and Drake dominate the movie with classy shows, impressive in Drake's case as he is only in it for a short amount of time, but the work of young Tonya Crowe puts her in the club that houses best child performances of the 80s. Her reactions to Bubba and Otis (Durning) naturally call for different human emotions, and she in turn nails the aspects of youthful innocence and mature awareness of who the monster actually is. The photography is textured, the music equally so, and there's even some shards of humour and irony along the way.

I can imagine many of today's horror fans going into Dark Night of the Scarecrow and being very disappointed not to get a Voorhees type movie, while some more sensitive viewers may find the portrayals of backwater folk as being ignorantly stereotyped by the makers. It isn't for every horror fan, without a doubt, and clearly it's not perfect, but to those who loved it back when it first showed, those who are jaded by how this type of sub-genre of horror has evolved into bloody overkill and remake/sequel hell, then Dark Night of the Scarecrow is in fact a minor classic. 8/10

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