Monday, June 16, 2014

Scarecrows


***


You know, Scarecrows isn’t too bad a little 80s chiller if the viewer can look past the plentiful implausibilities and accept the supernatural as the reason behind them. The use of Satanism/witchcraft is the means behind how the scarecrows attack and murder a group of greedy, barely-likable para-military thieves who robbed 3.5 million dollars and now must gather up the money once one of their own flees out the plane they commandeered by forcing a father pilot and daughter to fly them out of harm’s way. Bert is the one responsible for taking off with the loot, but he runs afoul of the scarecrows and they disembowel him, stuffing him with straw and a bit of the cash his party stole. Once the military gang land the plane and disembark, the scarecrows are waiting for them as well. The scarecrows can manipulate their quarry by speaking in the voices of those they trust, as if they can read human minds! A farmhouse where a trio of farmers/hunters used to live named the Fowlers is where the soldiers attempt to hole up for safety, but Curry, the leader of the gang, believes the murdered Jack is meeting up with him. We see the lust for the money and the belief that voices of those the characters trust (including a dog even at one point) places them in danger. Before you know it, the scarecrows have butchered almost the entire cast (using farming tools mostly) with the daughter of the pilot and Corbin (one of the group; perhaps the sole member with any real humanity) trying to stay alive and get to the plane. Curry seals his fate by expecting Jack (killed while blowing away into his harmonica) to arrive at the farmhouse so they can reunite, with the scarecrows planning a grim surprise for him. The scarecrows are creepy, the farmland quite eerie (the film takes place almost entirely at night), and the farmhouse decrepit (it’s clear that the Fowlers have been dead for quite a spell) and spooky, so plenty of atmosphere available providing Scarecrows with much to enjoy. I can say that the film can viewed probably two ways: its plot’s illogic could be seen as a bit too stupid to take seriously (a vehicle found on the farm runs without an engine as Bert drives it for a bit until it stalls; Bert’s severed head, placed in the refrigerator talks to Curry; Jack’s corpse, his mouth gone with only a lot of teeth showing as the rest of the face is covered by those night goggles, showing up to scare the shit out of Curry; the ability of the dead bodies of the cast to be able to move, talk, and kill after the Fowler scarecrows gut and make human scarecrows out of them) or as a supernatural spookshow where the scarecrows are alive and active thanks to a peculiar alchemy, not only killing their victims but turning them into controlled zombies. Good music by Terry Plumeri does encourage further chills and adds menace to the scarecrows. I think the decision to shoot this film as a night of hell for a bunch of foul-mouthed lowlifes wanting their money but unable to secure it thanks to murderous scarecrows was the right choice. Because the soldiers are real dicks, their fates against the scarecrows won't be met with any sort of sympathy. In fact, I can only figure that part of this film's appeal will be to applaud the gruesome ways the scarecrows kill them. Again, if you are to watch this with a degree of satisfaction I would recommend not dwelling on the plot developments with any real scrutiny. If this is to work its spell, I imagine horror fans will have to go with it…the inability to do so will not lead to a rewarding experience. The first time I watched this, the plot did bother me quite a bit. I dwelled on the ridiculous plot developments and missed out on the good stuff. But the previous film was a VHS, less than spectacular copy. The MGM release cleaned up the film and with subtitles and clear view of the effective gore and ominous scarecrows (the night scenes are richer and there’s a lot more visibility which helps a significant deal), Scarecrows wasn’t near the difficult experience. This go-around, I was able to jones to the compelling elements that have won the movie a cult following. So what you are looking for will dictate the film’s impact…that’s the norm with any movie, though, isn’t it?

 http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/89405425371/scarecrows
 http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/89408094496/scarecrows-2nd-set
 http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/89408183771/scarecrows-set-3

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