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Scarecrows (1988)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Genres:
Crime Thriller, Horror, Scarecrow Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
William Wesley William Wesley
Starring:
Ted Vernon Ted Vernon
Michael David Simms Michael David Simms
Richard Vidan Richard Vidan
Kristina Sanborn Kristina Sanborn
Victoria Christian Victoria Christian

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Criminals hijack a plane and force the pilot and his daughter to fly them to Mexico. However, an unexpected landing finds them in a cemetery inhabited by killer scarecrows. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: April 19, 2007
There are so many movies which have yet to reach the fabled land of DVD releases, and as much of a cult horror enthusiast as I may be, I can understand why for a large chunk of those films. Take Night of the Demon, for instance: I'd pay top dollar to trade in my bootleg copy for a cleaned-up version with a couple of bonus features tacked on, but I do realize that there's not a huge market for films like that and any company that released it would be lucky to break even off of it. I also understand that the rights for a lot of these older movies have been passed around from company to company so much that it becomes impossible to figure out who owns what. There are some movies, however, for which there simply is no excuse for the lack of an official DVD release... Scarecrows is one of them.

The story picks up with a group of thieves - Corbin (Ted Vernon), Curry (Michael David Simms), Jack (Richard Vidan), Roxanne (Kristina Sanborn), and Bert (B.J. Turner) - heading to Mexico by way of a hijacked plane which is being piloted by the father-daughter combo of Al (David James Campbell) and Kellie (Victoria Christian). It seems as though these thieves have just pulled off a huge heist, a heist which has netted them a couple million dollars and left more than a couple of military policemen dead. When Bert decides that he'd rather not split the money with his fellow thieves, he puts on a parachute, pushes the box containing the money out of the plane, and then jumps out along with it.

The rest of the thieves are none too happy about this, so they have the pilot turn the plane around and they all head out to recover their shares of the money before teaching this backstabber a lesson in pain. What they don't realize is that the area where Bert landed is inhabited by some sort of demonic scarecrows which want nothing more than some warm blood and fresh body parts to replace their own decaying pieces... and the rest of the thieves are walking right into the middle of it.

Scarecrows have gotten a bad rep in horror movies thanks to those horrible Scarecrow Slayer movies that somehow managed to find their way into every store and every rental place across the entire country. There were even a few knockoffs that made those films look like horror classics, and trust me when I say that that was a feat in and of itself. So, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the granddaddy of them all before I was able to finally get my grubby little hands on a bootleg copy, but now that I've seen it, I have to wonder: why in hell can't anyone else get this sort of thing right when scarecrows are so fucking creepy by their very nature?

The storyline is not the selling point of this film as at its core, it's just another slasher film with scarecrows replacing the serial killer and criminals replacing the sorority girls. Also, the origin of these scarecrows is never fully explored: it's hinted at, but the obvious "how's" and "why's" are never answered and we're simply left with the concept of killer scarecrows who enjoy mutilating anyone that stumbles through their patch of land. I was slightly disappointed with that, but the rest of the film more than made up for it.

You see, this is a damned creepy film. The scarecrows themselves are deliciously frightening, but there was also some surprisingly good direction moving things along. There were scenes where the scarecrows never showed up and nothing major was happening, but thanks to the excellent usage of both light and darkness, viewers will nevertheless be on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next... and to whom. There was also some true character development done here: most slasher / horror films like this (especially coming out of the eighties) considered "the blonde with big tits" and "the black girl" to be sufficient when it comes to developing the characters, but everyone involved here had an honest-to-goodness character with personality.

Scarecrows is an underrated, underseen classic which truly deserves a decent DVD release. It's a shame when movies like this languish in bootleg hell while American Pie can get a dozen different DVD releases, but what can one do other than shelling out the cash for a cheap copy when it's worth every penny. 9/10.
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Child's Play Pumpkinhead Night Of The Demons Poltergeist III Prince Of Darkness
Hellbound: Hellraiser II The Serpent And The Rainbow Maniac Cop Phantasm II The Video Dead
Nightmare Sisters Amityville II: The Possession The Unnamable Deadtime Stories Halloween III: Season Of The Witch
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 04/19/2007, 06:22 PM
What was that god awful movie with Scarecrow in the title?
The Scarecrow, Attack of the Scarecrow?
I downloaded it thinking it was this, and it was the worst thing ever.
Never did get around to finding this though.
Chad #2: Chad - added 04/20/2007, 07:48 AM
If you ever step out of the stone age and get a credit card, there's a decent bootleg double-feature (this + Garden of the Dead) on eBay for $15.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 04/20/2007, 08:38 AM
I resent that, only because I'm poor.
I have eBay, and use it frequently.
I just use discretion with purchasing things I don't know much about.
Chad #4: Chad - added 04/20/2007, 09:20 AM
Oh, and my review isn't good enough to warrant an immediate purchase. I see how it goes.
bluemeanie #5: bluemeanie - added 09/15/2007, 02:14 PM
Fantastic film. I remember seeing this film in the 1980's, but forgetting all about it until Netflix sent it my way and I re-discovered it. Underrated horror film with some genuine scares and a very interesting set-up. I love the first person narrative at the beginning and I love how the director takes his time before the scarecrows unleash unholy hell. Great film. I totally agree with your review and score. 9/10.
grain of sand #6: grain of sand - added 06/01/2008, 08:05 PM
Finally saw this and it was definitely awesome, there are some really eerie scenes and decent gore.. I got a little annoyed of the pilot girls voice as soon as I heard it though and I just couldnt ignore it. 8/10

If anyone hasn't seen this and has Comcast OnDemand, it's on Fearnet till the end of June
Tristan #7: Tristan - added 06/01/2008, 08:10 PM
I suppose I should have commented on this when I saw it. It wasn't as good as I was hoping, but it was still a lot of fun. Just fell a little short of my expectations. 7.5/10
Zombieboy #8: Zombieboy - added 12/30/2008, 10:15 AM
Finally recognition!!!! I have been telling folks for years how great this little gem is! For me there are fewer things more wonderfully creepy than Scarecrows. This movie is wonderful in its ability to put the viewer in a state of constant unease. Its use of darkness, the subtle music, and even a touch of "country creepy" makes it work so well.
HAVOK2000 #9: HAVOK2000 - added 06/21/2010, 06:10 AM
Another great Scarecrow Horror film would be "Night of the Scarecrow," sadly it's only on VHS and the most recent Scarecrow film "Hallowed Ground."
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