Revisiting the Classics: DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW

I’ve written before on just how much this movie had an effect on me. It’s not hyperbole. It helped to shape me into the human being I am today. I was a wee tyke when I first saw this film air on network television, impressionable and malleable, still “plastic” to use the kiddie psychological term. I was Silly Putty in the gloved hands of the Scarecrow. And I was in very good hands indeed. As a child, I just watched and *experienced* the movie. Watching it again the other night, viewing it with adult eyes nigh these forty years later, I am able to appreciate, or at least articulate said appreciation for, the artistry that went into the creation of this movie. Honestly they should use it as a teaching aid in film school (perhaps they do) as an example of what can be achieved without special effects or onscreen violence. Though no Horror movie ever “scares” me, I am told by people whose opinions I trust that DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW is flat-out terrifying, and it achieves this by showing you *nothing*! Everything is left up to the imagination. It’s all suggestion, but it manages to build a swelling sense of dread and creates an atmosphere that most R-rated Horror flicks can only hope to attain.

Solid acting, cinematography, cleverly suggestive direction, music, and use of shadows all are employed to provide what Henry James termed “another turn of the screw”. And if by some chance you haven’t seen it, trust me when I say that final payoff, the last few seconds of the movie, after you’ve spent the entirety of the film not seeing but only imagining what’s there, will make you, if you’re a self-respecting Horror mark, wanna jump up off the couch and throw hands at the air in celebration.

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless. Denn die totden reiten schnell!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.