Scarecrows (1988) [Blu-ray]


Director William Wesley’s “Scarecrows” is the epitome of a good idea given a poor execution. “Scarecrows” is one of the many scary scarecrow movies that have become a sub-genre onto themselves in the horror genre, and director Wesley paints his tale like an EC Comics story. Though I can think of plenty more films about scarecrows with a better delivery of its concept; particularly “Dark Night of the Scarecrow.”

The premise is very simple for “Scarecrows.” A group of commandos have pulled off a heist stealing almost five million dollars and have hijacked a plan holding the pilot, his daughter, and their lovable dog Daxie. When one of the commandoes double crosses the team and steals the money, the group land in an abandoned farm inhabited by scarecrows to seek out the money. Before long it’s a game of cat and mouse between the commandoes and the scarecrows as they use the bases of greed to lure in their victims. Much of “Scarecrows” is laughable, from the editing right down to the sound design, while the performances are on par with Joe Pilato. I rarely see an entire cast ham it up, but lo and behold, “Scarecrow” is filled with over the top performances.

Wesley’s film isn’t a complete waste of time, as it manages to pull off some interesting and unnerving shots, including the still shots of the scarecrows whom seem to be communicating with one another, and the final shot of a teammate transformed in to a scarecrow/zombie. “Scarecrows” would be a great comeuppance tale, if it bothered to explore the half hearted themes and sub-plots. Was the only female team member gay? What happened to the trio of men that owned the farm? Were they Satanists that sacrificed themselves over to their land? Has anyone else ever dwelled in to the farm land? Do they seek out bad people, or literally anyone? And why did the director feel it necessary to turn dog Daxie in to a cannibal at the last moment? “Scarecrows” really can be a terrifying movie if it wanted to, but it’s bogged down by under developed characters and really terrible delivery of a concept.

The Blu-Ray from Scream Factory offers up The Last Straw with Norman Cabrera, a sixteen minute feature about Norman Carbrera’s work on the special effects of the film. There’s also an interview with star Ted Vernon. To boot there are original storyboards, a still gallery, the theatrical trailer and two full length audio commentaries. The first features Director William Wesley and Producer Cami Winikoff, while the second offers interviews as commentary with Co-Screenwriter Richard Jefferies, DP Peter Deming and Composer Terry Plumeri.