Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) directed by Frank De Felitta
Man, I wished I had seen this as a kid when it was on TV. I can certainly understand the nostalgia people have for this show. I'm sure this TV movie gave more than a few kids some nightmares back in the day. It seems pretty intense compared to my memories of the TV movies from the '80s I watched. Without the nostalgia, though, it's really just an average supernatural revenge tale. Rednecks kill a gentle, retarded man; he comes back as a ghost and kills them back. Sadly, the retarded man kills them invisibly. I was expecting / hoping he'd be running around in his scarecrow outfit, which was creepy. Then again, one guy gets it feet first through a wood chipper, which I've always thought of as the number one worst way to die. Also, I loved Charles Durning and Lane Smith in this as two of the guilty rednecks. Durning, in particular, puts a lot of depth into his character.
VCI did a damned fine job with the DVD. A 29-year-old TV movie has no business looking this good. The transfer's perfect. Maybe too perfect? If I ever decide to watch this again, I think the best way to do it would be to record the DVD onto VHS, then record that VHS onto another VHS and then watch that copy of a copy on an old 19". Maybe I can catch some enhancing nostalgia that way. (6/10)
Saw II (2005) directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
It all comes together in the end. I hope the series continues its detailed plotting for Jigsaw's master plans. During the film, I kept picking out what I thought were flaws -- if Amanda passed his first test, why is Jigsaw bugging her again? and how did he time capturing the kids with the police breaking into his hideout? -- and they were all satisfactorily explained by the end of the movie. I was also glad to see cool character actor Tobin Bell get a ton of screentime as Jigsaw. He's great in this role and I'm pleased to see he's in the rest of these. I also dug how the sequel was tied into the first film. A friend of mine says they all do that. Love continuity.
I dunno. I think I liked this one better than the first. It had some good twists, the pit of syringes was the most wince-inducing thing I've seen in a while and a group of people trapped in a weird house was a good change-up from two people chained in a room. (7/10)