I’ve got many a complaint concerning the lack of progress in the world but I have to tip my hat and appreciate that DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW is so readily available to view these days (It’s free on TubiTV HERE). This is one of those flicks that made a profound impact on my youth but seemed to disappear as if it never existed for a while. Can you imagine my disappointment when I thought I had finally got my hands on it back in the eighties only to discover I had rented SCARECROWS (1988)? O.K., that makes me sound kinda dumb but there was no Internet back then and I had to rely on memory alone. (It was like the dark ages except with legwarmers and Rubik’s cubes). Point is, there’s no longer any excuse to not watch this darkly beautiful morality fable. It’s right at your fingertips and it’s so darn good. In fact, if I had kids, I’d tell them to chuck their Bibles out the window and just watch DNOTS because it teaches you everything you need to know about right and wrong and how to conduct yourself in the world. Plus it too concerns a bullied dude who dies on a cross only to miraculously return.
Bubba didn’t do it. Bubba (LARRY DRAKE) is a mentally challenged fella of 37 who looks like Dr. Giggles but is as kindly as Casper the Friendly Ghost. One day he’s hanging out with his best pal, a young girl named Marylee (TONYA CROWE– gotta love that last name) who is savagely attacked by a dog. When he carries the girl’s unconscious body home, he is accused of mauling her himself. A bunch of ignorant locals lead by a creepy postman horrifically named Otis P. Hazelrigg (CHARLES DURNING) decide to take justice into their own hands. They find Bubba hiding in a scarecrow whimpering and then callously shoot him full of lead only to discover the little girl survived and is telling the truth about the dog attack and Bubba’s innocence. Much like today, the courts do zero to protect the victimized, which leaves Bubba’s grieving mother (JOCELYN BRANDO) to state, “You may think you’re getting off free, but there’s other justice in this world besides the law!” Turns out, the creepy mailman was just projecting his own grisly motivations upon Bubba because soon he is stalking poor Marylee at a Halloween party. But wait! Somebody is killing all those involved in the Bubba murder and that someone is looking a bunch like a scarecrow! Can said mystery entity save MaryLee in time?
Exquisitely directed by AUDREY ROSE and THE ENTITY author FRANK DE FELITTA (who I will worship forever for also gifting the world with the SHARON STONE thriller SCISSORS (1991)), DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW is worthwhile viewing any time of year but is particularly potent right about now. Check it out if you haven’t; everybody needs to know the Legend of Bubba! He didn’t do it!