The Cult of Horror

The Cult of Horror

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Dark Night of the Scarecrow 81'

Creepy 80's Revenge Horror has a surprisingly beautiful transfer by VCI Entertainment and has great atmosphere and production value for a TV movie. A mentally challenged man named Bubba (Larry Drake) and his  little best friend Marylee ( Tonya Crowe) are under the suspicious eye of  local bad boy towns people. The Lynch mob leader and head bully  (Charles Durning) has Bubba in his sights and aims to bring him to justice after little Marylee gets mauled viciously by an attack dog. The mailman and his redneck friends chase and track Bubba to his Mother's farm and find him hiding in a cornfield dressed as a creepy ass scarecrow. Bubba's demise is pretty violent for a 70's TV film as he his shot repeatedly.

After the local goons are taken into custody for Bubba's death, it is written off as self defense and the men go free. Shortly afterwards each of the men who were guilty start seeing a Scarecrow in a field periodically and then a gruesome death follows afterwards. Films like this follow a Wash, Rinse, Repeat of a basic storyline but the cool angle of Dark Night is you are on the side of the Stalker side waiting patiently for him to kill each victim. With wide shots of farm scenery and a scarecrow theme killer, this is a perfect film to watch around Halloween. 8 out of 10

Expose' aka House on Straw Hill aka Trauma 76'

Paul Martin (Udo Keir) is a tormented writer who suffers violent hallucinations and hires an editor, Linda Hindstatt (the voluptuous Linda Hayden) to help him write his second novel, while staying in a secluded country house surrounded by a field of straw.

Martin's struggles to write as Linda acts as his typist, sexual tension begins on their first day together and Linda leaves to pleasure herself. Linda lays in a field near by and masturbates and is caught by two men who sexually attack her and she grabs hold of a shotgun and shoots both of them, leaving them for dead. She returns as if nothing happens and continues to act as Martin's secretary. Martin's girlfriend Suzzane (played by model Fiona Richmond) visits and creates more sexual tension between the three.

The story is slow and atmospheric with an eerie score that only hits extreme high points heightened by Sex and Violence. The BBC listed this one as a Video Nasty and approximately 30 cuts were taken out to tame the film to it's theatrical release.

The acting is strong and convincing despite the odd choices that the characters choose. The ending is definitly a WTF moment that leaves audiences scratching their heads. 

House on Straw Hill was remade in 2010 as Stalker featuring Hayden as the house maid. Severin Films released an uncut restored version sticking with the Australian title name House on Straw Hill.

7 out of 10