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Dark Night of the Scarecrow, on CBS
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This aired in 1981, when I was six years old, so I'm fairly sure I didn't get to see it, at the time. But I did watch it on Halloween, 2016. And... eh, it was kind of disappointing. I'll tell you right now, the titular scarecrow hardly appears onscreen at all. Still, the movie wasn't really bad, I just didn't think it was particularly good.

There's a developmentally challenged man called Bubba (Larry Drake), who is friends with a little girl named Marylee. And there's a mailman named Otis (Charles Durning), who believes that sooner or later, Bubba is going to hurt Marylee. So, he spies on them while they're out playing in a field. (Presumably this is something he does often.) He's friends with a farmer named Harliss (Lane Smith, whom I mainly know from Lois & Clark), who also doesn't trust Bubba. Anyway, after playing in the field, Bubba and Marylee are going to go home. But they pass by a fence with a loose board, and Marylee goes into the yard to look at some things, against Bubba's better judgement. He stays outside, until a dog attacks Marylee, and he rescues her and carries her, unconscious and injured, home to her mother. He says he didn't do it, then runs away. Subsequently, Harliss and Otis hear that Marylee was attacked and killed by Bubba, so they decide to chase him down, along with a couple of friends named Skeeter and Philby. (The sheriff was apparently forming a party to search for Bubba, but these four guys decided to find Bubba themselves, and take the law into their own hands.) They go to Bubba's mother's house, and she insists he's not there. But they have hunting dogs with him, who lead them out into the field, where all they find is a scarecrow. Upon closer examination, Otis realizes Bubba is dressed as a scarecrow to hide from them. So he and the other three shoot him. A lot. Then they find out that not only is Marylee alive, but that Bubba had actually saved her life. So, Otis takes a pitchfork and puts it in Bubba's dead hands. Later, the four men stand trial for murder, but claim self defense, saying they tried to take Bubba in peacefully, but that he'd come at them with a pitchfork. The D.A. thinks this is ludicrous, but the judge dismisses the case, and the four murderers go free.

The next day, Harliss sees a scarecrow in his field, where there shouldn't be one. At first he accuses Skeeter and Philby of playing a joke, but they deny it. Then they go see Otis, who tells them it must be the D.A. trying to scare them into confessing. But that night, Harliss is killed, but it's ruled an accident. Otis and the others think he was murdered by Bubba's mother, who was furious that they hadn't been convicted. And... I don't want to reveal too much more of the plot. There will be more deaths, and... I dunno, various other stuff happens. I just wish we could have actually seen the scarecrow attack people, and, you know, be scary. But it's always offscreen when the killings happen. At least the deaths all happened in fairly interesting ways, I guess, but still...


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