RIP “DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW” director/“ENTITY” author Frank De FelittaMovies/TV,News Michael Gingold
In a sad, coincidental turn of events, the recent passing of DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW star Larry Drake has been followed by the death of the classic TV movie’s director, horror author Frank De Felitta.
Filmmaker Jay Woelfel, who has collaborated with De Felitta’s son Raymond, gave us the word that De Felitta died Wednesday at age 94. DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, the 1981 telefilm in which Drake played a mentally challenged man whose murder leads to the titular creature’s killing spree, is De Felitta’s best-known directing credit; he helmed several other TV projects and the 1991 direct-to-video Sharon Stone-starring thriller SCISSORS. He was more prolific as a writer, active in series television from the early-’50s anthology series TALES OF TOMORROW through the subsequent decades. He penned his first novel, OKTOBERFEST, in 1973, and hit it big with his second, the 1975 reincarnation saga AUDREY ROSE, which became a Robert Wise-directed film starring Anthony Hopkins two years later. De Felitta scripted the movie, as well as the 1983 adaptation of his fact-based 1978 book THE ENTITY, which was directed by Sidney J. Furie and stars Barbara Hershey as a woman tormented by an invisible ghost.
Subsequent De Felitta books developed for the screen that didn’t see fruition included GOLGOTHA FALLS, with HALLOWEEN 4’s Dwight Little attached, and SEA TRIAL, which William Friedkin was to direct until the project fell apart over creative differences. He is survived by Raymond, who has written and directed features like TWO FAMILY HOUSE and CITY ISLAND, and his daughter Ivy Jones, an actress who appeared in SCARECROW, AUDREY ROSE and SCISSORS as well as numerous other films, including 1982’s THE SLAYER, and TV shows.