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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Night of the Scarecrow [Blu-ray]

 

(Jeff Burr, 1995)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:25:02.097

Disc Size: 19,456,587,057 bytes

Feature Size: 18,507,196,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 30th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1720 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1720 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1569 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1569 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

Feature Commentary with director Jeff Burr

• Featurette (2:52)

• Stills Gallery (8:13)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: An evil secret that a small town has hidden for generations has come back to haunt them. A monstrous demon has been set free - unspeakable, unstoppable, and hell-bent for revenge. Before the night is through the Scarecrow will sow the seeds of terror, then reap the grisly harvest in a bloodcurdling trail of death and decay that leads from the backwoods of horror to the bowels of hell. When the Scarecrow starts stalking, don't bother running. just pray that morning comes before the Scarecrow does. Stylishly directed by horror veteran, Jeff Burr (The Offspring, Stepfather II). The great cast of character actors includes Stephen Root (Office Space), Bruce Glover (Diamonds Are Forever), Gary Lockwood (2001: A Space Odyssey) and John Hawkes (Winter's Bone).

 

 

The Film:

This is a '90s version of a good old fashioned B monster movie. It is set in a small rural town that is outwardly upright and peaceful and is inwardly rotten to the core. It seems that in its earliest years, the town fathers made a devil's bargain with a wandering warlock to insure good crops and prosperity for the residents. They soon came to regret the deal and decided to murder the magician and bury his bones in a field. The trouble begins in modern times when the hellish bones are inadvertently unearthed thereby freeing the warlock's evil spirit which immediately takes over a scarecrow and goes on an unequaled killing spree. The strawman's handiwork is discovered by young lovers Claire and Dillon. They soon find themselves pursued by the demonic creature, but eventually they knock the stuffing out of him and destroy the evil spirit, but not before more creative murders and mayhem ensue.

Excerpt from JMRQE located HERE

Often confused with the superior 1981 film “Dark Night of the Scarecrow”, a film that quite literally set the bar for killer scarecrow movies, much the way “Christmas Evil” did for killer Santa Claus flicks, “Night of the Scarecrow” is a rousing affair that aims for high concept and delivers. Buoyed by sleek production values, crisp cinematography and a noteworthy worth cast made up of ‘hey, I know that guy’ character actors, this is a fun and exciting entry into the killer scarecrow sub sub-genre. Having slogged through such master pieces as "Psycho Scarecrow", "Scarecrow Slayer" and "Scarecrow Gone Wild", this was definitely welcomed. It also doesn’t hurt that the film’s two leads Elizabeth Barondes and John Mese are hot enough to melt the screen.

Excerpt from Cranked on Cinema located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Night of the Scarecrow is a modest-budgeted horror that has found its way to Blu-ray via Olive Films. Once again, single-layered and I see no signs of digital manipulation. Image quality is a shade uneven but this may be a factor of the production limitations. The black levels do seem to settle-down as the films runs along and detail is mostly strong. Colors are generally vibrant and the outdoor sequences, naturally, looked the best but there are a lot of darker scenes with some noise. the flashback/period scenes are set with heavy grain and in a sepia-style. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and any minor flaws had no detrimental effect on my viewing.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1720 kbps. The usual screams and mayhem flow well through the stereo with some depth and buoyancy. Jim Manzie's score can sound a bit heavy-handed but that bass adds to the chills and atmosphere. It creates a nice aura via the lossless. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Daniel Griffith introduces a commentary with director Jeff Burr. He goes into detail about production, the performers, budget constraints, scaling things down etc. It is kinda boring unless you are into the minutia of filming Night of the Scarecrow. There is also a short Featurette - 3-minute 'making of' - and a delightful Stills Gallery running over 8-minutes with story boards etc. plus a running commentary of the images by Burr. I thought this was quite well done. While Olive packages are usually bare-bones - this has some effort put into added supplements.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Night of the Scarecrow is about what you might expect - a cheapo horror but there is actually a lot in this in terms of 'build' and action. Burr seems to have done a lot with what he had, but still only genre fans will find this appealing unless you are in a forgiving mood.  The Blu-ray does its job well with a decent 1080P image and some meaningful extras. Those keen will find value here. 

Gary Tooze

April 30th, 2013

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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