MOVIE: Scarecrows (1988)

This is another one of Final Girl’s Film Club selections, so be sure to head over to her site to see what she had to say about it (as well as all the other Film Club writers!). I have to say, I didn’t think a movie could possibly top The Manitou, last month’s pick, when it came to hilariously bad dialogue, but this movie totally put up its dukes for the win.

The film opens with a group of bad guys — ex-military, naturally — who have hijacked a plane and are making a getaway after stealing the Camp Pendleton payroll (which for some bizarre reason they seem to think means they’ve robbed the Army — Camp Pendleton is a Marine Corps base, y’all). At first, things seem to be working out pretty well. They’ve got a pilot and his sexy young daughter at gunpoint flying them wherever they want to go, after all. But then, curses! One of their own guys tosses on a parachute, grabs the money, lobs a grenade onto the floor, and jumps out the door.

Now, of course, in a world where gravity and physics reign, he’d be dead, as they’ve just gotten done telling us they’re “flying under the radar,” and just as he jumps out, we get a shot of the plane flying about as low to the ground as you can go and still be considered “in the air” (uh, not to mention the fact that grenade sure took a conveniently long time to actually explode).

But, my peoples, this is a movie about scarecrows that come to life and kill for procreation, and I’m pretty sure the same rules that apply to us are not going to apply here.

Anyway, long story short, the guy who bails with the dough lands (safely!) in a field covered with creepy looking scarecrows. The rest of the team quickly jump out after him, and soon the ground is covered in ex-military bad guys chasing each other through the corn in the dark, periodically pausing to say things to each other like, “I think this place is possessed by demonic demons!” (really, is there ever any other kind?) or “Now you’ve gone too far, dirtball!”

Eventually, the group finds Bert, the guy who bailed out with the money, but he’s, uh, not quite himself anymore. They drag him up to the vacant farmhouse, where they theorize he’s taken drugs so that he’ll survive their beating, tricking them into leaving him for dead without finding where he’s stashed the money.

Hah! As though THESE guys would be that dumb!

When they go to wallop Bert’s impertinent insides, though, they find he doesn’t actually have any anymore. Bert quickly starts fighting back, so the group lops his head off with a machete and are surprised to find he’s been stuffed full of money and straw. Well, wait, I guess “surprised” isn’t quite the word for it. In fact, they actually seem to take that information somewhat in stride. Their assumption? That someone evil has cut Bert open and packed him full of their stolen money to taunt them. Of course, how Deadbert then managed to fight back, they choose not to speculate on — can’t really say I blame them on that one, personally.

As the group continues their search for the bags of money, they are knocked off one by one by the evil undead scarecrows, teaching us horror movie viewers once again just how little crime actually pays. By the end of the movie, we’re down to only two survivors (not counting the cute doggy, of course — what “demonic demon” movie would be complete without an adorable puppy, after all?). Luckily, one of them is the pilot’s daughter, and she and the last remaining robber hop back in the airplane and take off. Unluckily, also on board is the pilot, who isn’t exactly dear ol’ Dad anymore.

This movie is actually surprisingly entertaining, all things considered. It’s suspenseful enough, has lots of shots of big biceps in tight short-sleeves (which is a sight I never mind admiring for 90 minutes) and, in my lame opinion, it works off a fairly original idea — it’s a nice twist on the classic zombie story, really, where the dead rise to make more dead. Only this time, instead of eating braaaaaaains, they eat straw.

And the occasional uncooked ear of corn (mrrruh?).

Meh, I’ve seen worse. And I bet Final Girl has too.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Horror
Cast: Ted Vernon, Michael David Simms, Richard Vidan, Kristina Sanborn

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4 Responses to “MOVIE: Scarecrows (1988)”

  1. Corey Says:

    nice catch. i never noticed that he jumped out of a plane which was about 100 feet off the ground…

    also… “Deadbert.”

    lol. 🙂

  2. Trip Says:

    This movie was made in 1988, so it’s been long enough.

    One word: REMAKE!

    Directed by M. Night Shymalan of course, and perhaps the twist could be that the scarecrows are actually a revenge metaphor for the slow decline of middle America, and the ex-military criminals could be led by Bruce Willis, representing inept corporate pillagers via subprime lending, hence the money/straw stuffing, and maybe as a result of flying through a freak lightning storm, the farm they land on is actually in 1892 Pennsylvania and…

    I mean, seriously. Could that premise be any worse than the one that resulted in this thing getting made? Someone out there thought it was such a good idea that they put up significant financing for it.

    Best country ever. At least there was a puppy.

  3. megwood Says:

    Oh, totally! If they’re going to do a remake of “Prom Night,” clearly no classic horror movie is sacred.

    Of course, by “classic,” I actually mean, “ridiculously silly.”

  4. Liz Says:

    Trip, you’re insane – but I LOVE it! I think your ideas for the remake are great, and I’m looking forward to it! Meg, I also loved “Deadbert,” and enjoyed your whole write-up.

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