It’s been hard for me keeping the details of THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW reunion (which took place last July at the FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FESTIVAL in Kentucky) quiet this long, but I just had to wait for the right moment. With the Halloween season now firmly at hand and the anticipated release of the film on blu-ray THIS week, at last the stars are in perfect alignment for the story to finally be told!
I mentioned before that I specifically went to this event because of the reunion and at the suggestion of the film’s writer, J.D. Feigelson (whom you can read all about HERE). Feigelson has become a regular fixture at the bi-yearly HORRORHOUND WEEKEND events and I strongly encourage every conventioneer who may be attending one of those to pay him a visit! You’ll be hard pressed to find a nicer guy! What was different about this event, however, was that J.D. would not be alone. Joining him was DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW stars – Larry Drake and Tonya Crowe! This would mark the first convention appearance for both of them and it was unknown if they’d ever be doing another. With that in mind, I had no choice but to get down there!
Scarecrow (Chuck Schauland), Tonya Crowe, Larry Drake, & J.D. Feigelson
Celebrities at FRIGHT NIGHT were located in three different spots. Some were in the main convention/dealer room, another in a separate room next door to it, and a third group across the street in the hotel’s second building. Fortunately, the SCARECROW crowd was in the main dealer room and had their own special section in the back.
I would end up visiting the gang all three days and, right off the bat, was struck by two things; 1) Tonya Crowe and Larry Drake are both extremely approachable and gracious guests and 2) Larry Drake is hilarious! J.D. introduced me to him and said, “This is Dave, he’s got a great blog and will also be writing a story on us for a magazine.” Larry goes, “Ah…the press! Hold on one moment while I get into character,” and then began blowing kisses at me. I asked him what he thought of the convention so far and if he’d ever do another. He said he was having a good time so far but would withhold judgement until the end of the weekend. I also asked him if he was surprised that the film had such a following and endures today more popular than ever. He answered “Yes, and no. I knew it was a good movie and that it had legs…but not necessarily to this degree”
Tonya Crowe was equally as nice and I joked, “I remember you back when you were on the prime time soap, “Knott’s Landing.” Uh…not that I watched “Knott’s Landing” of course….” She laughed and talked about how she enjoyed working on the show and is still in contact with many of the cast members including the infamous “Abbey” (Donna Mills) who, according to Crowe, is extremely nice and has remained active in Hollywood – though behind the camera. Ms Crowe, on the other hand, has been busy in the private sector and raising a family of her own. Throughout the weekend, she seemed to really enjoy revisiting her film days and, while I can’t be certain, it looked like she might be getting the “bug” to make a comeback. Young “Marylee Williams” had clearly grown to be a beautiful woman and definitely appeared to have retained her screen “presence.” I sure hope that she does consider making a return! Note to Tonya: ignore any calls you may get from The Scy Fy Channel!
The climax of the reunion took place that Saturday – right after the John Carpenter Q&A (which was covered HERE). The cast members took their places on stage and fielded questions from members of the audience. Details of how Larry landed the part of “Bubba” and behind the scenes tidbits were revealed. As was the case with the Carpenter event, I furiously took notes (I couldn’t find my recorder and later learned one of my kids took it to play with) and was prepared to transcribe the entire session into a blog for all readers to see. As it turned out, this was completely unnecessary. The entire FRIGHT NIGHT reunion Q&A was recorded and will be featured on the blu-ray being released this Tuesday! Fans of this film will NOT want to miss this bonus feature as well as one of their favorite films being given the highest digital upgrade possible!
The blu-ray release of DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW is a dream come true for a fan, such as myself, who has loved the film since its television debut at the age of 10! I was ecstatic regarding its release on DVD last year (as covered HERE) and an even better quality print being issued seemed inconceivable. Apparently, its getting the “High-Def” treatment was contingent upon the success of DVD sales. Feigelson proudly admitted that within a few short weeks of its release, a blu-ray offering was inevitable.
The numbers of fans who love DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW (while thinking they were the only ones) continue to make themselves known. TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES routinely gets letters from other DNOTS fans like, Richard Church, who wrote – “My jaw dropped when I saw the autographed photo you included in your Dark Night of the Scarecrow article! I’m probably way too self-centered, but I thought I was the only one who loved that movie!”
As I said, the blu-ray will be for sale THIS Tuesday! I’ve had a chance to check it out and it is really AMAZING! I’ll be honest, I’m leary of blu-rays from pictures made before the digital age. Many seem no different than their DVD cousins. That is NOT the case with this one! We encourage ALL fans of DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW (or even horror movies in general) to get their copy ASAP!!!! You can click on the blu-ray cover at the top of this piece to do so. This Halloween, treat yourself one of the BEST horror films ever written along with its amazing new extras!
Oh, and for the record….I did ask Mr. Drake at the end of the Festival whether he’d consider doing another fan convention. “Oh, sure!” said Drake. “This was a lot of fun!” Both J.D. and I suggested he attend the March HORRORHOUND WEEKEND in 2012 and I sure hope that he does! So far as this devoted fan is concerned, you can NEVER have too many DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW reunions!