It’s hard sometimes, trying to keep a secret. As far back as 2010, I’ve been writing on this blog my fandom of the 1981 made-for-television movie Dark Night of the Scarecrow. That original post caught the attention of the film’s writer, J.D. Feigelson, who reached out and encouraged me to meet him and members of the cast, including the late Larry Drake, in Louisville’s Fright Night Film Fest. J.D. and I stayed in touch and would go on to share my fervor for DNOTS in Scary Monsters Magazine and the book “Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks.” A few years later, J.D. invited me out to dinner during a visit to Chicago – and it was there that he dropped a bombshell. He revealed that he was secretly working on a sequel to DNOTS utilizing his own resources and local talent. Obviously, I could say nothing about it, but in the years that followed, he graciously kept me in the loop regarding its progress. Whenever I visited J.D. at his home down in Louisville, he’d proudly share his footage as well as the incredible props he created in his spare time. And finally, today, the fruit of his labor is available on Blu-ray and streaming. But before I saw a single frame of the movie, he revealed its basic story.
If you’re a fan of movies, then you’ve probably perused a movie guide or two in search of inspiration. I’ve always been a fan of these books, especially if they revolve a specific film genre. This all started for me with John Stanley’s “Creature Feature Movie Guide” series and continues to this day. These guides aren’t perfect as they’re usually written by one person who has their own personal tastes. What this means is that the author may hate a movie you absolutely love and vice versa. Because they’re trying to cram so many movies into one guide, the films aren’t given as much of a personal touch with the reviews often ending up static. Not so with the subject of this review; a horror movie guide that takes things to a whole new level! I present to you., “HIDDEN HORROR: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks.”
I woke up early on Saturday and walked around Louisville snapping some pictures. The sky was overcast and I’d hoped to escape the zoo of Fright Night/Fandomfest in favor or an official one. While having breakfast at the local Panera Bread, I asked a guy sitting nearby if he knew what the weather forecast was for the day. I explained that I wanted to go to the Louisville Zoo and was hoping things would clear up. “Why would you want to do that???” he asked, as if I’d told him my plans were to dive into the Ohio River. “The Fandomfest is right down the street!”
After spending most of our first night at the Fright Night/Fandomfest standing in lines we decided it was time to make our pilgrimage back to the main hotel and check out the dealer rooms they had there. There were two main areas for vendors; the Kentucky Convention Center where the big celebrities and photo ops were (which featured more comic book related items) and the hotel which centered more on horror.
Anybody that knows me will tell you that one of my all-time favorite movies is Dark Night of the Scarecrow. Both David and I have written about it many times on this blog, I did a piece on it in Scary Monsters Magazine #81, and also contributed a chapter on it for an upcoming sequel to the book Horror 101: The A List of Horror Films & Monster Movies presented by A.C. Christensen. Despite featuring a killer scarecrow, the film’s true villain was Otis P. Hazelrigg brilliantly and devilishly played by Charles Durning and I was saddened to hear that yesterday, Christmas Eve, Mr. Durning died at the age of 89.
It was Friday night and I headed up to Schaumburg, Illinois for Chicago’s first Days of the Dead convention. I’d been to the first of these events last year in Indianapolis but there’s been several more since. It’s always a good sign when you see many of the same ghoulish faces return again, indicative of satisfied fans. That works out well for me because I personally feel that the fans often make the event. Their costumes add something extra by highlighting their zeal while providing lots of great photo ops for less bold conventioneers.