For the last time: stay away from abandoned farmhouses.

scarecrows.jpgI love horror movies, good or bad, but I haven’t talked about too many of them on this blog so far. Today I start on the road to change that, with some motivation from the awesome horror blog Final Girl and the monthly Film Club hosted by its writer, Stacie Ponder. Her pick this month: Scarecrows (1988). I got Chelsea to watch it with me last week, here’s how it went.

Scarecrows is the type of horror movie that follows a reference to the song “Pennies From Heaven” with a guy getting a load of entrails dumped on him from a tree. It’s the kind of movie where, coming across a corpse that’s been hollowed out and stuffed with money, a character first thinks that this person died from eating money. It’s that sort of movie. And it’s pretty damn entertaining.

With no time wasted messing about, we jump into the film as a band of ambitious crooks have robbed a bank, hijacked a local pilot and his daughter, and are making their way to Mexico with their money and hostages. But one member of the crew, Bert, is just a bit more ambitious and stupid than the rest, and he tosses the money out of the plane and parachutes after it. Right next to a field that is crawling with undead scarecrow monsters. Isn’t that always the way?

The fact that there is a creepy picture of three people hanging in the farmhouse (prominently shown to us approximately nineteen times) clearly means that those people became the scarecrows. Why or how is neither here nor there. Even the characters in the film, without insistent camera angles and sound cues to help them, know just from that one little picture that this is exactly what has happened. Were they evil in life? They must have been, just take a look at that sepia tone! Are they out for some sort of revenge? Who gives a crap! They’re creepy, and they’ve got machetes. That’s all we need to know.

I’d say overall Scarecrows is 83 minutes of reasonably successful horror movie. There were several moments when both Chelsea and I yelled because of the grossness, creepiness, or startlingness of what was going on. There were other parts that were entertaining in a different way, in that so-bad-it’s-great kind of way (“He ate the money” is sure to be a new catchphrase around these parts). The acting was enjoyably cheesy. The atmosphere was pretty effective, even though the fact that it was pitch black by the farmhouse and dawn by the plane for the entire movie was more than a little distracting (I understand a low budget movie like this has to work with what they have, but sheesh. They flash back and forth between those two locales a lot).

Watching Scarecrows did make me want to dig into some more horror. Awhile ago I bought a set of DVDs titled “Great Horror Classics” that cost ten bucks for 16 movies. Yep, 16 movies, on four discs, all with glorious titles like The Sound of Horror and Night of the Blood Beast. The only one I’ve gotten around to watching was Don’t Look in the Basement!, which, despite poorly preserved picture quality that makes my camera phone look like James Cameron’s equipment, was a pretty sweet movie and obviously wins the award for best title of all time. Now that I’ve been reminded how much I’ve been neglecting horror lately, anyone for a screening of Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory?


7 Responses to “For the last time: stay away from abandoned farmhouses.”

  1. 1 Chelsea March 24, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Here are some of the highlights of the film for me:

    -One of the scenes titled “A Savage Beating”. And it was! I especially enjoyed when the one guy bit off Bert’s fingers and they kept moving.
    -The dead pilot/walking dead scarecrow that cawed before he attacked.
    -How the writers don’t even attempt to explain what’s going on and how none of the characters seem to care either.
    -How they fall for the scarecrows obvious traps every single time. Examples: the “dog” barking on the way to the plane (I think they used this trick three times), the money that suddenly appeared in the tree outside the farmhouse (“The wind must have blown it here!”), etc.
    -Even though Brandi already mentioned this, “He ate the money!” was hands down the best line in any cheesy horror movie I’ve ever seen.

    And I’m so in for whenever you want to watch ANY of those movies in the set.

  2. 2 Emily March 24, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Hey, if we find a VCR somewhere, we can watch “Body Parts” and “The Morning After,” which I won at a lame trivia competition in Olympia. I have a VCR, but it weighs approximately 203984034985 lbs and may not work. Whaddya think?

  3. 3 Chelsea March 24, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I just read Final Girl’s blog and I forgot about another one of my favorite lines: “demonic demons”

    And I have a VCR, Emily! We should do bad horror movie night at my house because I’m moving soon and no one is ever going to visit me again since I’ll be living with my parents.

  4. 4 Wes Fierce March 24, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    This is my favorite review put up by the FG film club. I think I lol’d all the way through it, for reals. “It’s the kind of movie where, coming across a corpse that’s been hollowed out and stuffed with money, a character first thinks that this person died from eating money.”

  5. 5 Corey March 24, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    “Were they evil in life? They must have been, just take a look at that sepia tone!” Lol. :)

    And, just based on the title, I’ve got to see Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory now.

  6. 6 Brando March 25, 2008 at 7:33 am

    I truly think that unless you are an established AWESEOM horror film maker, you need to tell us why the hell the monsters are roaming the earth. Romero made it work in his “..Living Dead” works because a) he is a genius, and 2) he is aestablished. The only reason i watch horror films is for the story…and know, stay with me on this one…

    i don’t praticularly like horror films – they give me the heebee-jeebees – but i do love seeing the progression, or the origin of some evil mastermind, monster, or crazy french chick with a giant barb wire mace. not telling us why the scarecrow zombies are there is horror for horror’s sake, and that cheapens the experience. I want to know why, and relate with the monster, understand it’s thirst for blood (and a belly full of money….delicous money….and a good cure for AIDS)

    The importance in a good back story (or story in general) is why films like Hostel and the Saw quad-tology, and games like the Silent Hill series (god i do love thoese creepy creepy games) work so well, because they tell you (eventually) what the hell is going on, so you can at least learn something…

    – Don’t go to eastern Europe, no matter how hot and sleezy the chicks are
    – Don’t mess wth puppets
    – Don’t live in peaceful towns that are in weird cluts with pissed off demons

    and of course, as Brandi mentioned, don’t go into abandoned barns


  7. 7 Aaron April 9, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    You should lookup Cinnemassacre on youtube. Its done by the same guy that does the angry video game nerd on (which i’m hooked on) The guys name is James and he is a fan of two things, crappy video games and horror. He did this thing in october called 30 days of fright or something and he went through all the best and well known movies from noseferatu to the slasher films of the late 90’s. I added all the ones I havent seen to my netflix queue as each day revealed more trivia and titles. Many of them are great just in the sense of seeing how horror has adapted and grown over time. It was a good starter list to see the classics.

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