Scarecrows (1988) Blu-ray


I checked Fangoria’s index and it appears they never covered this movie. Gorezone #7 (May 1989) did in a two-page article, and then a full retrospective was done in issue #267 (2007) of Fangoria, but I do have a memory of first coming upon this movie in the pages of Fangoria. Obviously it was about something else, I just can’t remember what, the movie was mentioned and a creepy photo of one of the scarecrows accompanied it. It was that photo that made me remember it. I’m not a particular fan of ‘killer scarecrow’ flicks, though I’ve seen my share of them, and none really made an impression until I saw this movie here, and that didn’t happen until it first hit DVD in 2007, probably to coincide with Fang’s lengthy retrospective.

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The movie focuses on this group of military thieves, Curry (Michael David Simms), Jack (Richard Vidan ), Corbin (Ted Vernon), Roxanne (Kristina Sanborn ) and Bert (B.J. Turner), who have just robbed Camp Pendleton and made their getaway in a cargo plane piloted by this guy, Al (David James Campbell) and his daughter, Kellie (Victoria Christian).

Everything’s going as planned until Bert decides to double-cross everyone, kick the money out of the plane and parachute down to get it. Curry and Jack follow, while Roxanne is in charge of getting her prisoners to land somewhere. This isn’t your typical killer scarecrow flick, which is probably why I love it so much. Bert has the bad luck of landing in this field that’s part of this dead family’s property. The Fowlers, there are three of them, a father and two grown sons, judging by the family photo on the wall of their long abandoned home, and how they became undead scarecrows is never revealed. It’s the ambiguity of the evil that really makes this film work. Not only do the thieves have to contend with the physical scarecrows, which have got some really creepy visages, but also the mind games these three play on them; these things have the ability to mimic voices of loved ones, and friends, in an attempt to lure you deeper into their field and woods where they will eventually gut you and if so inclined take one of your hands to sew onto their own missing stump. Plainly put the property of the Fowlers is haunted and Bert triggers their rampage. Actually, I think anyone venturing onto their property would trigger their rampage.

The thieves just want their money, so the Fowlers also use that to tempt them into situations where they are vulnerable and can be easily gutted. The gutted are then sent out as scarecrows to kill. Curry is the most memorable of these characters and has a theory as to what may be happening to them. He thinks their shoot-out with the MP’s at Pendleton didn’t go as planned, that maybe they were all killed and what’s happening to them isn’t real. Purgatory? Hell? We the viewer never truly knows, nor do any of the characters. What we do know is that Kellie, and her dog, are the sole survivors, so that may put an end to Curry’s Twilight Zone theory. Not all the thieves are douchebags. In fact most are relatable. Curry is the only one who treads the douche line, but damn that man is entertaining to watch, especially when he gets enraged and curses.

The house the thieves hole up, and the former home of the Fowlers, is a creepy abode. Kudos to whomever discovered that location.

Back on June 2nd Scream Factory (Shout! Factory’s horror sub-label) upgraded and released Scarecrows on blu-ray.

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 English: DTS-HD Master Audio—English subs only

Transfer looked very much improved over MGM’s 2007 DVD. That DVD was also unrated and despite the R-rating slapped on the back of this new blu-ray this is still the same unrated version as the DVD.

Extras include…

  • Audio Commentary with Director William Wesley and Producer Cami Winikoff
  • Audio Commentary with Co-Screenwriter Richard Jefferies, DP Peter Deming and Composer Terry Plumeri
  • The Last Straw with Norman Cabrera (16:35)
  • Cornfield Commando with Ted Vernon (8:46)
  • Original Storyboards
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

This is one of those rare movies that never got aired in my area back in the day, which is why I never knew it existed for a long time. I don’t know why but the instant I found out about it I just knew that whenever I eventually saw it I would love it, and I’ll be damned that’s exactly what happened, so this blu-ray upgrade is great addition to my collection, which will go not on my Scream Factory shelf in one of my DVD towers but on the Rural Horror shelf along with Pumpkinhead, The Final Terror, Just Before Dawn, The Demon’s Rook, The Burrowers, Jeeper Creepers 2, Pighunt and The Cabin In The Woods.


About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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