This film isn't gory at all but has a looming sense of creeping danger that doesn't let go, an impressive level of sustained tension and suspense. And then there's that scarecrow. Well worth watching if only for the historical value of seeing the beginning of the scarecrow as a horror figure in film. But it's well worth watching on its own merits.
Fangoria says, "absolutely worthy of its classic status, having aged beautifully and surviving as a highly effective and spooky pioneer," adding,
Otis Hazelrigg is one of the most despicable, monstrous and blatantly evil men ever put to celluloid, and Durning is terrific in the role, instilling intensity, deception and an astounding creepiness behind Hazelrigg’s eyes.DVD Talk calls it "one of the best horror films of all time" and says,
everything about Scarecrow--the structure, the pace, the performances, the cinematography, the music, the editing, the scares--holds up. If anything, this gets even better with age.Slant Magazine calls it "the cult-horror equivalent of buried treasure". Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 40%, so they are the minority view.