Director – William Wesley
Cast – Ted Vernon, Michael David Simms, Richard Vidan, Kristina Sanborn, Victoria Christian, David James Campbell, B. J. Turner, Dax Vernon
Release Year – 1988
Reviewed by John of the Dead
If there is one horror sub-genre I have always loved and always WILL love, it is the scarecrow sub-genre. For starters, just any mediocre looking scarecrow is creepy enough to give anyone the willies if they were to come face to face with one in real life. Nowadays these scarecrow films are not given to us very often, and I really cannot complain because most of them this millennia are horrendously bad. The 70s and 80s, however, gave us some great scarecrow films, and Scarecrows is one of them. Very underrated yet a true gem to watch, I really do love this film.
Scarecrows follows a group of highly trained criminals who rob the Camp Pendleton payroll of 3.5 million dollars and hijack a cargo plane, forcing a father and his young daughter to take them to Mexico. Along the way one of the criminals gets greedy and parachutes off of the plane with the money in tow. The criminals force the father to land the plane in a nearby field with an abandoned farmhouse, and the search is on for the backstabber. Little do they know, the land they are on belongs to a sect of scarecrows under a voodoo spell who take much joy in turning human beings into scarecrows themselves…literally.
I was iffy at first as to whether or not I would enjoy this one. While I love these types of films, from the get-go I did not feel I would get as much scarecrow action as I wanted to see, but I was dead wrong. After the usual development leading to the abandoned farmhouse we get some of the most awesome scarecrow footage I have seen to date. I loved the look of the scarecrows, and their creepy and well executed mannerisms worked very well in setting up a creepy mood and atmosphere.
Direction-wise I must applaud director William Wesley for giving us some sweet looking scarecrows who had no inhibitions giving us some brutal deaths. We usually do not see such gory deaths in scarecrow films, so I loved that touch in this film. When I mentioned that the scarecrows literally turned their victims into scarecrows themselves…I meant it. You can imagine just how sweet and horrifying that is with just a little bit of imagination on your part. The sets and scenery used in this film were perfect for what this film aimed to do, and it was well executed by Mr. Wesley. The dark and gloomy cinematography and atmosphere helped provide some good spooks and the fact that the entire film takes place in one night helped move the story quickly and also helped provide the dark atmosphere I enjoyed so much. Bravo to William Wesley and screenwriter William Jefferies(Cold Creek Manor) for that one.
Story-wise this flick is simple, and I prefer it that way. We do get a unique twist to this scarecrow story in that the scarecrows turn their victims into scarecrows themselves, and the voodoo element was interesting and a nice touch. Much conflict comes at the hands of the characters, who refuse to believe that scarecrows are hunting them down until it is too late. We get a bit of social-commentary over how some will go to desperate measures over acquiring money illegally, and continue to do so even when faced with certain death. This was made even more awesome when the scarecrows decided to fill their victims with the very money they were seeking so vigilantly, instead of straw. Yes, I found that VERY awesome.
Overall, this is an awesome scarecrow film that gives us some pretty creepy scarecrow action along with some great kills and other fun elements to go with it. I recommend this film if you are into the scarecrow flicks or would like to see what the fuss is about over these types of films.