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Plot, Details & Awards

The Scarecrow

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Plot & Details

This gothic hillbilly horror thriller was produced in New Zealand and centers around a small rural town, circa 1953, where unusual events lead a teenager to cross paths with a serial killer. Ned (Jonathan Smith) and his pal Les (Daniel McLaren) are a pair of teens in trouble with local bullies after they steal some prize chickens. Their troubles are compounded by the arrival of a carnival, employing the sinister Salter (John Carradine), an evil magician and sideshow hypnotist. The presence of Salter seems to bring out the worst in the local citizenry, inspiring nascent lust and perversion to surface in disturbing ways, much of which is centered on Ned's nubile sister Prudence (Tracy Mann). When a girl is slain in the woods, the trial leads to Salter, who is not only guilty of the crime, but of many more. The Scarecrow (1982), based on the novel of the same name by Ronald Hugh Morrieson, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was the feature debut of co-writer and director Sam Pillsbury, who went on to direct numerous television movies and series episodes in the U.S.

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