The plot goes something like this...stop me if you've heard this one before. A group of unappealing college students go on an archaeological dig out in the desert despite warnings about the bad mojo that would ensue if they should dig up any sacred Indian artifacts. The students dig up the artifacts and bad mojo ensues. Specifically, one of the students- the jock- becomes possessed by the spirit of the Indian warrior Black Claw and proceeds to kill all of his friends. The end.
It sounds better than it is, really...Scalps isn't good enough to be good and isn't consistently bad enough to be bad. There's this little Indian head that pops up in odd places, though- in bowls, in campfires- that did liven things up a bit.
The largest problem, I think, is the pacing. The movie is short- roughly 80 minutes- but the first 45 or so are incredibly dull. There go the unappealing college students driving in their giant station wagon! There they go walking up a hill! There they are- wow- talking! When the jock finally gets possessed and you think things are gonna actually start happening in the movie, he immediately proceeds to rape his girlfriend in an extended sequence. As the first real bit of violence in the movie, it sort of sets a tone...a scuzzy tone. I can't say I'm exactly a big fan of rape sequences, but that's just me.
After the girlfriend has been raped and killed, the rest of the gang are dispatched rather quickly. The kills alternate between realistically graphic and gory (the raped girlfriend gets scalped) and laughably fake (in one decapitation sequence, the head starts to fall off before the victim is hit).
Eventually the jock is killed off and only the trippy dippy hippy chick DJ is left. She's possessed and ready for action- action promised in the credits: COMING SOON! SCALPS II: THE RETURN OF DJ...a movie that never came to be. Given the bad taste Scalps left in my mouth, that's probably for the best. I give it 3 out of 10 well, I said something about its.