The Scarecrow

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Set in the Kiwi equivalent of Middle Wallop in the '50s (with an intrusive jazz soundtrack to date it), Pillsbury's adaptation of a local classic is a valiant but botched first effort. Related by a voice-over reminiscent of Clive James with dyspepsia, the story concerns Ned and Pru Poindexter's last summer of adolescence. Into their lives of chicken rustling, gangs, and skinny dips comes the embodiment of destructive sexual power in the guise of arthritic-fingered Carradine, looking more like Steptoe on a rough day than any crazed killer bogeyman. Better at evoking the grim horrors of small town life than the terrors of a murder mystery, the film suffers from a plot which takes a beard-growing age to get going, then hops, skips and jumps to the dénouement. Unsentimental character portrayals, the depiction of parochial decay, the sly humour, and the odd haunting, sinister image are in its favour, but add up to little more than wrapping around a dull present.

By: FL

Release details

Duration: 88 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sam Pillsbury
Screenwriter: Michael Heath, Sam Pillsbury
Cast: John Carradine
Tracy Mann
Jonathan Smith
Daniel McLaren
Denise O'Connell
Anne Flannery
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