When I said "keeps it simple", I meant "No really, wicked simple": a group of ex-military folk rob Camp Pendleton, kidnap a pilot and his daughter, and force said pilot to fly them to Mexico where they can enjoy their millions as they see fit. Problem is, the greedy get greedier (isn't that always the problem?) and the double-crossings begin.
Bert (BJ Turner) decides he wants the money all to himself, tosses a grenade in the plane, and jumps. Luckily for his robber cohorts, the grenade takes about 15 minutes to actually explode- long enough for someone to toss it out of the plane. Said cohorts land the plane and begin tracking Bert and the money; problem number two is, they've all managed to land in the spookiest cornfield ever- a cornfield chock full of homicidal scarecrows who are all ready to make with the chop-chop, the poke-poke, and the stuff-stuff (isn't that always problem number two?).
That's David James Campbell on the right, flyin' that plane
high on cocaine. The only films on his resume are Scarecrows and Killer Workout...clearly, he's got the best resume EVER.
And that, my friends, is pretty much that. By the time the opening credits have finished rolling, the plot is out of the way. The remaining 80-odd minutes are all about scares and atmosphere as the bad guys run around in the dark, eat raw corn, and meet the business end of various pointy things wielded by perhaps the most frightening-looking scarecrows ever committed to celluloid (and yes, I'm counting Dark Night of the Scarecrow here...while that's undoubtedly a superior film, these straw dudes fucking rocked my face off).
What I like is that writer/director William Wesley doesn't get...you know, bogged down in details and explanations here. The scarecrows simply are- they're simply alive and mean. They simply want to make more scarecrows out of their victims, simply because. Simple, simple, simple. How do the dead, freshly stuffed with straw, get up and walk around? Bah, who knows? How are the scarecrows able to mimic voices in order to lure their victims out into the darkness? Pfft, whatevs. Scarecrows is meant to be a fun, scary ride- and it is.
This film looks like it had a budget of about $1.98, but that buck-ninety-eight is stretched to its limit. I've already mentioned how great the scarecrows look (seriously, this movie would have left me super damaged if I'd seen it as a kid), but I've got to give a shout out to the kill effects as well. There's not a ton of gore, but there certainly are a ton of wince-inducing moments: Wesley knows exactly where to poke a bitch to get the maximum cringe factor from the audience. Calves are repeatedly stabbed, hands are sawed off slowly, fingers are bitten off...man, someone gets stabbed in the fucking face! I watched this one alone and I was still embarrassed about the faces I was making in reaction to the on-screen carnage.
As much as I enjoyed Scarecrows (and I really did enjoy this movie, despite its shortcomings and occasionally odd dialogue ("demonic demons", anyone?)- I think its cult following is well-deserved), though, I kind of feel like we had our moment together and that's that. I'm sure I'll bust it out again at some point in the future, but I can't say I felt that super special spark that's going to put Scarecrows on my short list of forever awesome. You know, it's kind of like you have a little too much to drink with a friend some Friday night and then Saturday morning you're all "Well, that was fun and stuff, but it's not like we're dating now or anything".
Or something like that.
Give it up for the Film Club Coolies!
Aphorisms and Ectoplasm
The Horror Section
Meg's Boyfriends in the News
The Film School Dropout
Look Back In Anger
Evil On Two Legs
The Cemetery Scene