Trespassers will be violated.
Year of Release: 1988
Running Time: 83 minutes (1:23)
Director: William Wesley
Ted Vernon ... Corbin
Michael David Simms ... Curry
Richard Vidan ... Jack
Kristina Sanborn ... Roxanne
Victoria Christian ... Kellie
David James Campbell ... Al
B.J. Turner ... Bert
Dax Vernon ... Dax the Dog
Tony Santory ... Jakob Fowler
Phil Zenderland ... Norman Fowler
Mike Balog ... Benjamin Fowler
Prepare for a night of undead Hell with this unforgettable horror cult classic. Filled with gripping suspense and eye-popping action, Scarecrows is an unrelenting terror-fest that'll scare the stuffing out of you!
After a band of ex-military criminals pull off a multi-million dollar heist, they hop aboard a plane headed for Mexico. But when one of their own betrays them, they suddenly find themselves on the ground and giving chase through a field of scarecrows near an abandoned farmhouse. And as night sets in, the real nightmare begins when the men discover the reason the farmhouse is empty... and that those who thought they were the hunters are now being hunted by an unimaginable and malevolent force!
Scarecrows, the movie that reminds us that no good has ever come from things hung on crosses. Farmers love this movie. It's really more of a fantasy movie for them, cause they can live vicariously through the scarecrows as they mutilate trespassers beyond recognition. Sure, we've all thought about it. The next time I catch that guy frantically trying to drag a game animal off my property I'll just run 'em down with the swather an that'll be that. But you'll inevitably have the guy's panic stricken wife out looking for him, asking questions. Shortly thereafter she's got you figured out an you have to take her corpse out to the back forty for the pigs an before too long some P.I. comes along digging around in the slop trough, finds a skull an you're checkin' into the crossbar hotel. Murder always *seems* like the answer, but there's always some bleeding heart out there that takes offense an starts using terms like "mentally disturbed" and "having psychotic tendencies" at your trial an you end up spending the rest of your life in a padded room explaining to the doctors that you did it because you've got middle child syndrome an your parents couldn't afford to send you to the prom when you were 16. Watching Scarecrows is much safer in the long run. They may have taken away our right to pitchfork people into goulash, but they can't take away our fantasies. Well, anyway, as the best movie ever to mashup the plots of The Evil Dead and Children of the Corn and feature the acting talents of Dax Vernon, this sucker's stuffed with timeless wisdom that holds true even with the passage of multiple decades. First, if you happen to be a demonic scarecrow type monster, the gas in your vehicles and generator will never sour. Second, your standard issue grenade has 10 seconds before it explodes. Also, tossing it out of the plane and having it explode right next to your fuel tank is perfectly safe. So don't let anyone tell you differently if you happen to find yourself in that position. And third, deep down, criminals are really just misunderstood people that will react well to having their scheme go down the tubes and treat their hostages with the utmost respect, even risking their own lives to protect them.
I'll guarantee at least one of those things surprised all of you, but as big as these revelations are, I think the biggest thing I learned from this movie is that; we need a lot more military funding. Now I know you hippies out there are probably getting your ponchos in a twist right now, but hear me out. These guys have been hired to defend our national interests. That includes everything from helping out with natural disasters to launching full scale offensives against unfriendly regimes. We need these guys in top mental and physical form so they can do their jobs effectively. And if this movie has shown us anything, we're in major trouble if these guys are ever needed to reason their way through a situation. Now, we know they're not stupid. They were able to successfully pull off their heist with no loss of life, hijack a plane, and make their way to safety. At least if one of them hadn't gotten ambitious on 'em, but that's not important. Reasoning skills would have come in handy at the point that they realize their weapons are useless. You know what I think I'd be afraid of if I was constructed entirely of burlap and straw? Here's a hint... FIRE. I'm being told that's not how hinting works. Fine, have it your way. But there's gas enough to run the generator for the farm house after all. So, siphon it out, make some torches, and break out the hot dogs cause these scarecrows are gonna get lit up like a joint at Cheech & Chong's place. And yet, this concept never occurs to them. For this reason, I feel it is our duty to invest more aggressively in our military machine. You may think you're self-sufficient, but the fact is you're wrong. In fact, you're so far from right that the light from "right" will take six billion years to reach you. Kinda seems like maybe it's not the scarecrow that should be heading to see the wizard with the hope of acquiring a brain. So anyway, we need these guys doing what they do, as well as they can do it. So quit being stingy an pony up.
For anyone that took that as a slight on our military, you're failing to recognize three very important things. One, it's a movie. Two, this is satire. And three, this is why no one calls you unless they want something.
The movie begins with a crew of military troops that've just knocked over the Camp Pendleton payroll office, kidnapped pilots, an ordered them to fly down to Culiacan, Mexico so they can live the good life an attend barbecues hosted by the resident drug lords. Unfortunately, one of 'em happens to be real good at math an realizes that the money splits much better one way an hucks a grenade inside the cabin as he bails out. Fortunately, it's one of those special grenades that doesn't go off until it's a safe distance from the important characters and the remaining soldiers make plans to give chase, find the guy, and give him the blanket party of a lifetime. Later that evening, Bert (the traitorous swine) wakes up hanging from his parachute in the only tree within a 500 yard radius. He makes his way to an abandoned farm house where he finds little more than a portrait of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hanging on the wall an decides to just commandeer the 1968 International sitting outside an make his way to freedom. On a dirt road, in the dark, with a plane following his every move. Before long, Curry, Jack, and a bald guy that looks a lot like Perry Saturn bail out an get on Bert's trail, which isn't too hard to find considering he's the only light for five miles. But before too long, Bert commits felony hit an run on a scarecrow an the scarecrow's buddies... well they don't get any kinda look on their faces cause their heads are constructed from onion sacks stuffed with alfalfa, but you can tell they're real mad. Shortly thereafter, Bert reaches a gate an has to get out to open it, only his truck goes kaput on him an since he doesn't have time to get it up on blocks an work out a diagnosis, he drags the cash out of the truck bed an starts using it to make a crop circle until his pursuers start sayin' mean things to him over their headsets an he gets this feeling like he's about to be mugged by a pack of children that wanna sacrifice him to the corn gods.
So he empties his clip into the darkness an within about 15 seconds worth of film he goes through three of the five stages of dealing with loss, culminating in bargaining. Only it's not his comrades that've been screwing with his head, it's a couple guys that look a lot like the one he mowed down back down the road a piece, an before he can get to acceptance an complete the cycle, they give him the stabbing of a lifetime. Meanwhile, Roxanne (the last soldier on board the plane) makes the father/daughter team of pilots land so she can rendezvous with the other jar heads at the farmhouse an figure out a way to wring Bert's wormy neck an still make it to Mexico before the feds that're hot on their trail catch up to 'em, an before all the drug mansions get bought up as vacation homes by American politicians. But when the three paratroopers begin making their way back to the farmhouse, they discover someone was courteous enough to kick the generator on in preparation for their arrival. So once the team has been assembled, Jack spots Bert's chute hanging from the nearby tree, an what looks like a trio of crosses that the KKK must've gotten too hammered to burn in effigy. Jack also thought he saw a scarecrow out in the corn making obscene gestures at him, but nobody ever takes Jack too seriously on account of him asking questions like "how are we gonna live in Mexico if we don't speak Spanish" after participating in a heist. So while Jack, Curry an Saturn wander around the field looking for sacks with dollar signs on them, the father portion of the pilot team is stuck sitting in the plane wondering how long he should wait before he starts eating himself, when a helicopter passes over. He thinks about signaling it, but then he remembers that the jar heads have his daughter an that they've already demonstrated a lack of understanding towards traitors, so he bails out of the plane an heads for the farmhouse, but it's not long before he starts hearing voices (if only they were telling him to burn things) an shortly thereafter he's hanging out on his own personal Jesus holder.
Elsewhere, Curry, Larry, an Moe come across Bert's abandoned pickup an think they spot him sitting in the front seat, but they succeed only in triggering everyone's hay fever when they blast straw all over the dash board. So with that lead turning out to be a bust, they head back to the tree where Bert's pack is hanging, only when they try to cut the pack loose Curry ends up looking like Sissy Spacek in the prom sequence of Carrie an they all head back to the house before Curry whips out his telekinesis an starts torching the place. But when they arrive back at the farmhouse, Bert walks in an they pound the tar outta him for awhile trying to get information outta him until he finally gets chatty enough to show 'em his autopsy scar, an pretty quick he starts kickin' the crap outta everyone within reach until they're able to separate his head from his shoulders. Seems vital organs aren't as vital as physicians would have us believe. In fact, Bert hasn't got any left at all, he is, however, stuffed with Benjamins. While all this is happening, the daughter portion of the pilot team makes a run for it, but she doesn't get far before she runs into Dad who's still doin' his Jesus impression an by that time Saturn catches up with her an hauls her butt back to the house. She's lucky he doesn't use the Death Valley Driver on her for a stunt like this. It's dangerous out here an he knows it. Back at the farmhouse, the platoon would really benefit from a money laundering service, cause most of it's got Bert's viscera pasted onto it, an that's actually best case scenario cause a pretty good portion of the bills have also been shredded by small arms fire. But that's okay, cause one of the lost money bags has sprung a leak outside an there's dead presidents all over the place. So despite having seen a moving scarecrow, a zombie ATM, and Dad muttering something about "forgive them father, for they know not what they do" from a cross, they still head outside an begin gathering it up.
So naturally, Jack wanders off by himself an a scarecrow comes along an cracks him with the uppercut of doom, a la Little Mac, an then starts sawin' his hand off til the screaming gets real obnoxious an it has to stab 'em in the face so it can hear itself think. But Curry hears the squealing an comes to the rescue, only Jack pops up an goes scarecrow on him an starts tryin' to shave off his five o' clock shadow with a sickle. Curry fires a few rounds into it as he backs off far enough to regroup with the others an he starts tellin' everyone his crazy theory about demonic demons takin' over the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's bodies an how they're gonna get Nebraska Hand Saw Massacred cause their bullets are useless. Then Curry starts hearing Jack on the radio, only nobody else can an he sends them away for makin' him feel like a paranoid schizophrenic. So on the way back to the plane, Roxanne gets distracted by more money on the ground, Kellie (the daughter) starts hearing her dog barking an runs off, an it's all Saturn can do to ignore the images of the ECW Heavyweight Championship plaguing his mind as he's left to try to get the women to pull their heads outta their asses. So after Roxanne gets pitchforked, Saturn is just able to get Kellie's head together an get her through the fence standing between them an the plane before Ray Bolger an company catch up to him an start makin' mincemeat pie outta his leg. But then she starts feelin' like a real ingrate an heads back an has to go Rambo on the scarecrows an get Saturn outta there. But back at the farmhouse, the phone starts ringin' an the voice tells Curry to go take a look in the fridge, where he finds Bert's severed head makin' prank phone calls until Jack shows up an Bert's body starts goin' all Evil Dead on Curry an he has to lock himself up so Jack can't get inside an start asking him more stupid questions like, "if a scarecrow falls off his cross an there's no one around, how does he get nailed back up?" We'll cut it here to keep the ending from being spoiled like so much unharvested corn.
Okay, so this one's actually pretty good. It's what some people might call a "gem", which usually implies that it's something hitherto undiscovered, that nobody seems to know about. Not literally "nobody" of course, but you get the idea. And there's a lot of truth to that, because you seldom hear anyone make mention of this movie when discussing horror titles, and it does in fact have pretty high production values. It borrows liberally from The Evil Dead, but so what? If you're gonna borrow, borrow from the best. The only real problem the movie has is that it doesn't have any backstory. You do find out who the scarecrows are, but not how they ended up that way, and that's a problem. Particularly with a movie that only runs 1:23, two minutes of exposition would boost the overall rating by about 5%, and still leave it with a short run time. Other than that, there really aren't any other problems. A couple logic errors on the part of the characters, some day for night shots with the plane, but really, how does one shoot a plane at night exactly? Kinda have to do it the way it was done. Or just not have the shots, which was probably the way to go. Or only do shots from inside the plane. Anyway, not many flaws here at all. And most surprising of all with a movie so lacking in flaws is that the same guy directed, wrote, produced, and edited the movie. He wasn't the only writer/producer, but he worked on all four stages of the production, and the movie didn't come out badly. It's almost universally a red flag when you see the same person's name plastered on a movie as much as Wesley's name is stuck on this one. Although the truly terrible movies also tend to star that person as well, which is not the case here. So Wesley really defies the statistics, for having his hands on so much of the production side, and still managing to make a decent movie. Something I really don't understand is how, after a movie this decent, virtually everyone involved really didn't go on to do much else. For some of the cast it's the only thing they were ever in, for others, a few other jobs here an there, but nobody really broke out. The director, Wesley, didn't do hardly anything afterwards. It's like they all got blackballed. Maybe they stuck too many guys in costumes up on crosses an the church put a voodoo curse on 'em, who knows. It's a shame.
So, upon closer dissection, the plot is okay, in the sense that, the lack of backstory really bothers me and would upgrade it from fair to good if it were just present. What is present, is interesting, and not completely unlike Quentin Tarantino's From Dusk Till Dawn. Briefly, you've got a group that pulls off a heist and is heading for Mexico. It's also similar in that it starts out as a crime/action movie that turns into a horror movie, granted, it makes the transition far more quickly than From Dusk Till Dawn. And all the characters, ultimately, are essentially a lot like George Clooney's character, in that, they're really not horrible human beings, they don't take pleasure in harming people, and when it comes right down to it, they do everything in their power to protect their innocent hostages when the shit hits the fan. I'll also grant that Scarecrows lacks a Quentin Tarantino character that's just the opposite of all those things, but really, the similarities are fairly numerous. So anyway, the plot's decent. The acting is decent as well. Not astounding, just decent. Nobody really stands out, but nor does anyone weigh it down. Perfectly acceptable. The special effects are really good, such as they are. I realize you may be wondering how someone could possibly make a scarecrow that doesn't look realistic. Well you've obviously never seen The Wizard of Oz. Seriously though, the scarecrows need to have a menacing look about them, and I think they were able to pull that off. There isn't a great deal of gore to speak of, but what there is looks good. You've got a sawed off hand, a gaping vertical slit in a chest, a severed head, and of course, the scarecrows always have actors inside costumes that know how not to look like idiots. That's all you need. Good special effects. The setting is great, and while I wouldn't say a setting like this would be anywhere near difficult to find, it's authentic. A somewhat run-down farmhouse near a corn field. Difficult to do wrong, but critical nonetheless. The soundtrack is another high point. The soundtrack contributes suspense any time it's playing, and in a movie that has a certain degree of humor written into it, that makes it all the more important. You really don't want the humor overpowering the atmosphere and detracting from the sequence. At least not in a seriously written horror movie. Overall, it's got a few problems, but it's a very underrated, enjoyable horror movie that's 10x better than anything being made today. Check it out.