Scarecrows

God damn you, demonic demons!
★★
☆☆☆
Released: 
1988
Director: 
William Wesley
Starring: 
Ted Vernon, Michael David Simms, Richard Vidan, Kristina Sanborn, Victoria Christian
The Setup: 
Criminals parachute into cornfield stalked by murderous scarecrows.
Discussion: 

This was included on the same one-dollar DVD as the short and charming Garden of the Dead [“Death was the only living thing!”], making this set an entertainment value! We open with a shot of some creepy, eerily lifelike scarecrows. Our scene then shifts to the sky, where a plane containing a group of criminals, their two hostages and the hostages’ dog. The hostages are father and daughter, the daughter being Kelly. The criminals have gotten away with some sort of crime and have a big package of money.

So one of the criminals, Burt, dumps the money out of the plane and then jumps out after it! The criminals scream. He gets ensnared in a tree and hangs there for a while, saying its “his lucky night,” before cutting himself down. He then hunts around for the money, getting creeped out by the many aforementioned scarecrows.

Burt makes it to this abandoned farmhouse [there’s always an abandoned farmhouse] and explores inside. There is a flyswatter prominently placed on the wall—so prominent that you ask “Why is that so prominent?” Then Burt looks around and when he returns, the flyswatter has been replaced with a key. Ah, that’s why it was so prominent. I can’t even remember what the key eventually opens. Something sinister, surely.

Meanwhile, on the wing, the criminals are going to parachute out and come after Burt. They include Corbin, this hot, bald, bearded, cigar-chompin’ dude doing his best tough-guy routine. Obviously I went straight to IMDb and looked this guy up, only to find that he is a renown Florida personality and former prizefighter who now owns a car dealership! This was his only film. Also on hand are angry criminal Jack and sassy blonde criminal Roxanne.

So Corbin parachutes out of the plane WITH his cigar in his mouth. He smokes a particularly well-wrapped brand, as the cigar is completely intact upon landing, despite the high winds encountered during his freefall. Jack lands also. There is then this long and weird scene in which they are chasing after Burt, taunting him over the radio. It’s weird because despite the fact that there is money scattered everywhere, and Burt periodically finds bags of money, they also act like there is just one location for the money, and the people in the plane identify the location of the money, although it is the black of night and scattered all over an unlit cornfield. The people on the plane—traveling overhead at high speed—are also able to point out Burt’s location to the people on the ground, relaying information about his movements and the location of the money. It’s quite odd. Which is not to mention the fact that the shots are quickly switching from night to day to night to day, to the point where one is constantly thinking “okay, it’s the next day now… oh, it’s not. Okay, NOW it’s the next day…”

Meanwhile, Burt is getting wigged out by all those creepy scarecrows. He is hearing the voices of his angry co-criminals over the radio, and it seems to be the voices of the scarecrows themselves. He has picked up a few bills, approximately 1/365th of their total take, and says to the scarecrows “Want the money? Take it!” Uh, dude, that is not “THE money,” that is a few bills. You’ll also note that Burt does not move his mouth when he is talking. Anyway, soon enough a scarecrow comes to life and stabs him.

SPOILERS > > >
So the criminal crew find the farmhouse while the plane lands, and they all assemble there. One of them says “I feel like this place is possessed by demonic demons!” After finding a blood-filled money bag, Burt stops by to visit the house! He has a huge wound, but is still a’walkin, like a zombie, and attacks the others. One of them bites off his fingers and spits them out! He is finally beheaded and the film shoots into extreme gore territory [if it weren’t so photographically dark] when Corbin inserts a sword into the neck stump of the decapitated body and splits the entire torso open! Grrr-OSS!

Well, soon Kelly’s dad has been crucified—she gets over it quickly—and her little doggie is missing. I have a note now: “Jack finds harmonica - gets knife in mouth.” I can’t even sort out who all the generic guys are except for Corbin, but one of them opines that the three farmers in the pic in the farmhouse have become the scarecrows—what he bases this on I do not know—and speculates that “They’re gonna pick us off one by one—just like crows on the fuckin’ line!” Well, at least he has some evidence for that statement. Then another of them speculates that they got away with the money “too easy,” and / or perhaps they are dead and in some sort of purgatory. That is patrolled by murderous scarecrows. Surely the passages of the bible that refer to murderous scarecrows have been relegated to the controversial expurgated texts.

Anyway, so Corbin, Kelly and Roxanne all make a run for it, leaving generic dude #4.2 at home, but soon Roxanne Roxanne gets separated and finds a few stray bills. And you know all about mankind’s greed, so she ignores the warning blaring in her ear and keeps gathering bills and eventually dies a horrible death. Then Corbin is trying to shimmy under a fence when a Scarecrow takes a shine to his legs while Kelly is on her way to the plane. Then Kelly realizes that with him gone, she’ll have no cigar love daddy, so she goes back and blows the head off of several scarecrows, which seems to be just the ticket.

Meanwhile, dude at the homestead is having a little severed head trouble in the fridge, then gets visited by Jack, who, as it turns out, no longer has any cheeks of lips. This, however, does not impede his ability to form fully-rounded vowels. I gotta compile a whole list of movie ideas about science.

Meanwhile, back at the plane, Kelly is taking command. She must have taken a few flying lessons from dad pre-crucifixion, as she has that birdy up in the air in no time. Passengers are advised to check for any stray zombie scarecrows that may have shaken loose during takeoff, and soon Corbin is finding a knife in his… somewhere. The scarecrow comes up and sticks the knife through Kelly’s wrist—completely clearing up her carpal tunnel!—but then Corbin pulls the thing away and blows himself and it up with a grenade. This is stupid, as there’s a huge open door a few feet away and they could just chuck the scarecrow out, but Corbin saw Armageddon that once and was just really moved by Bruce Willis’ sacrifice. Anyway it would seem that having a grenade explode aboard a mid-sized aircraft is really no big deal. You’ll notice how casual the dog is about having a bloody attack and explosion take place just a few feet away.

Anyway, we end by hearing some news report that says all the crooks were killed and that Kelly flew all night in a state of deep shock. The end!
< < < SPOILERS END

Well, it’s about as much as you could expect for a movie that cost $0.50. It was reasonably suspenseful and fun, although it’s hard to keep the characters straight and to glean anything but the barest outline of what’s going on. And we never have the slightest idea why the scarecrows are doing what they do, aside from the theories that they’re the farmers or that this is a scarecrow-patrolled purgatory. Or you know, could be they’re just demonic demons.

Should you watch it: 

You could do worse when looking for silly horror crap, but whether you find this movie or some other silly horror crap makes little difference.

Comments

You should know Vernon was the lead of an obscure 80's wrestling film called 'Hammerhead Jones', that, along with 'Zardoz', pretty much kick-started my puberty.

It was never released in the US, but it turned up on cable all the time.

Ah yes, a short perusal of YouTube shows me that a movie like Hammerhead Jones to be entirely puberty-worthy! There is a clip of the climax that shows him, taking off his belt, close-up of speedo, close up of him staring at the camera, close up of hairy body, close-up of him staring... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwtOdLdn1hU

It's a cruel twist of fate that even pro wrestling is unsexy now... I liked it better when they all had personas and wore fetish outfits.

I MUST find that movie now!!! Thanks for letting me know. I personally found Zardoz too un-sexy for me, although Connery looked amazing. My puberty started with the 6 Million Dollar Man and Buck Rogers in their tight pants and open shirts...

Oh man, 2:19 in that clip. That takes me back. I miss going Frame By Frame on VHS to capture the perfect moment. I remember hoping I'd grow up to look like that, and, strangely enough, I did.

Give us a heads up if you find the movie, but I think you'd have to track it down on tape. I had it recorded but threw it out years back, stupidly thinking 70's and 80's macho meathead types would always be in movies.

I never thought the future would end up more sexually-repressed and politically-correct. I feel like Buck Rogers, Death Race 2000 and Logan's Run promised far more than reality delivered.

PS I'm going on vacation til 7/20 so no replies or comments posted til then...

Well, I had a very similar experience with frame-by-framing the VHS tapes and all! On the old version of this site I used to have a feature called "Random Movie Hunks" which was when suddenly some hot biker or trucker would be in a crowd shot or something, hahaha. Yes, 2:19 is a point where one might, um, "Pause to reflect," shall we say?