I have a weakness for three things when it comes to genre movies and this one fulfilled them all. My aforementioned weaknesses are: #1 – Horror on VHS tapes (nothing quite like the solid ‘shunk’ noise a tape makes when you put it into a VCR #2 – a cheesy (but often borderline lazy as I have bad taste; at least that’s what @elfmagick tells me) looking cover (which in this case was composed of a closeup of one of the scarecrows and some smokey darkness.) and #3 – (this being my most regrettable weakness as it lets me down more often that not) lists of other work the cast and crew have been involved in that brings up feelings of nostalgia in me. This time it was Harry and the Hendersons (shut up right now, i can hear you snickering). With my excuses out of the way, lets get on to my opinion on this classy piece of 80’s rubber mask monster mayhem.
The premise of Scarecrows is that a group of criminals, fresh from their latest heist (that really isn’t explained to any length) evade authorities in true D.B Cooper style by hijacking a plane piloted by a father/daughter team. Seems like a pretty effective plan until they are double crossed by one of their own when he takes the money and “jumps ship” , parachuting into a farmers field.Obviously, his partners follow suit rather quickly to attempt to reclaim their haul from their double crossing accomplice. I’d like to stop right there and address the “field” that they land in. With the exception of one of the members of the gang eating a raw cob of corn at one point, nothing strongly indicated to me that they were in a field. If it was a field, Farmer John needs to learn how to maintain it a little better as it was OVERGROWN WITH A FOREST! Seriously, this is the most heavily wooded corn field that these eyes have ever seen. There were literally scarecrows hung up in the trees now where near the edge of the forest! Anyways, let’s focus on the movie and not the oddity that is the corn forest it takes place in.
The aforementioned double crossing criminal plot line (I’ll call it that because I’m feeling generous) is really the only attempt at anything resembling a story in this movie and that really isn’t that bad of news. I’m going to pretend that the filmmakers knew what we wanted to see (killer fuckin scarecrows) and decided that only the most basic of story telling elements would be necessary to get us to that point. Really I guess I should be thanking them because the acting in this is the caliber you would expect from a late 80’s VHS trash film. If this was grade school, these guys would be getting 55% max, and that’s with extra credit work and a shiny red apple thrown in. The “leader” of this group of criminal masterminds is doing his best Rhodes (from Day of the Dead) impression the whole time, barking orders and generally being as big an asshole as he can. The other members of the gang are as equally throwaway, though at times seem to suffer from some very odd moral dilemmas such as not trespassing on a farmers field because of a sign. Let me get this straight, you’ll rob someone (again, not really sure who) carry and shoot a semi-automatic rifle, but a NO TRESPASSING sign makes you question your actions? Oh the criminal mind, what a wonder you are.
When we do get to see the titular scarecrows, I must say for the most part they look pretty decent. Some of the masks definitely reminded me of that 90’s cartoon Mummies Alive but what they hell, this predates it so I guess the mummies actually look like these guys. The gore and kills are not really as plentiful as one would hope with such a barebones plot and it does start to drag towards the middle, but there’s enough WTF moments scattered throughout that you’ll be too busy trying to figure out why people are doing what they are to care too much. Case in point: the female hostage goes back for one of her captors when he gets grabbed by a scarecrow. I don’t know about you, but I’d have been the fuck out of there, running full tilt and not looking back. I enjoyed this movie, but I recommend at minimum a three beer (or one joint if you’re a rebel like that) head start before you even consider popping this in to check it out. Also, low expectations and a decent sense of humor will help too. I’ll take a poorly acted 80’s monster movie over almost any found footage dreck that’s made nowadays. Now then, I’m off to find one of these rarely documented corn forests.
– Scotty Floronic (@drunkgraveyard)