BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Scarecrows (1988) - Blu-ray Review

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Scarecrows (1988) - Blu-ray Review

4 stars

Scarecrows, written and directed by William Wesley, is positive proof that, yes, 19-year-olds can create effective special effects and creature designs. Originally filmed in 1985 but released in 1988, this supernatural horror film involving bank-robbing mercenaries up against some scary-ass scarecrows in a dark field continues to fuel my nightmares.

For the longest time, Scarecrows was my go-to film on VHS. The atmosphere is one of dread and the field surrounding the dilapidated house the bank robbers take refuge in certainly doesn’t help alleviate the sense of doom. Scream Factory, never easing up on their horror offerings, rescues this one from the burn pile and stuffs it with some extra goodies for its debut on blu-ray.

You wouldn’t think that Florida could double as a cornfield but, with limited resources and virtually no budget, you’d be amazed at what a team of dedicated filmmakers - with fire in their bellies – can create. Filmed near the everglades, Scarecrows is a movie about a bank robbing double-cross that combines Evil Dead isolation with some gnarly-looking killers that, at one time, were human. What happened to them is something we can only speculate about because Scarecrows doesn’t provide the answer, making it effectively scarier.

Starring Ted Vernon and Michael David Simms, the heist – involving a kidnapping of an airplane pilot and his daughter, goes all sorts of wrong when one of the war criminals takes the cool three million for himself and jumps from their hijacked plane, leaving the rest of the group with a live grenade to deal with. He lands, in all possible places, right on the edge of a very dark and lonely field shadowed with scarecrows. He thinks he has it made.

When the rest of his pissed off posse joins him on the ground, they too are in for a surprise. The field and its abandoned farmhouse are anything but abandoned. As they search for their rogue member and the money, they soon discover that the scarecrows are alive and very, very deadly. When the movie’s credits refer to its cast as crows, you know what’s in store. Blood and guts and some gruesome kills from hay-stuffed killers who can’t be stopped.

The scarecrows – expertly designed by Norman Cabrera (who talks at length about the movie in the special features portion of Scream Factory’s release) – are gruesome and terrifying as they stuff their human victims with the stolen money and begin to repair themselves with severed human body parts. The location is used and abused in ways only small-scale films know how to do. Everything is confined to a house and its surrounding field of doom. There really is no escape for these criminals.

Scarecrows, while always maintaining a cult status, will never be accepted by the mainstream audiences and I’m all right with that. This is a little gem that keeps giving as the passion of its filmmaking team continues to register with me. This is a darling film that is as honest about its intentions as it is honest about its gore. It hides nothing. It can be fun and over-the-top at times and then rear an ugly head and leave your shorts stained brown. It is unrelenting terror and its low-budget fineness.  

The lo-fi terror of Scarecrows, especially if you are a fan of 1976’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown or 1981’s Dark Night of the Scarecrow, really is a horror treat worth sampling again.

Scarecrows (1988) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
83 mins
Director
: William Wesley
Writer:
William Wesley
Cast:
Ted Vernon, Michael David Simms, Richard Vidan
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Trespassers will be mutilated.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Turn around Bert, I wanna shoot you in the back!"
Official Site:
Release Date:
No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 2, 2015
Synopsis: Five people heist the Camp Pendleton payroll, kidnap a pilot and his daughter, who are forced to fly them to Mexico. Enroute a double cross has one of the thieves parachute with the loot

Scarecrows (1988) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 2, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factory with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1, Scarecrows serves up a delicious platter of strong shadows, crisp colors and the constant sweetness of director of photography Peter Deming’s visual flair. There is no dirt and no debris throughout the presentation which is a marvel unto itself. The dynamic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 really opens up the field and offers a great experience at home with this release.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by Director William Wesley and Producer Cami Winikoff, the first feature length commentary is, at once, interesting and important if you are at all interested in film. This is not to be missed and offers so much more than just a reminiscence of how the film was made. The second one, provided by Co-Screenwriter Richard Jefferies, DP Peter Deming and Composer Terry Plumeri, is actually a series of interviews compiled into a feature commentary but it works well.

Special Features:

Scream Factory continues to WOW! its viewers with two new interviews: one featuring (as mentioned in the review) Norman Cabrera and the other featuring actor Ted Vernon. While the one with Vernon is significantly less interesting than Cabrera’s, it’s great that Scream Factory – under its Red Shirt Pictures moniker – takes the time and the effort to put these supplemental items together. Also included are stills, storyboards, and the film’s original trailer.

  • The Last Straw with Norman Cabrera (17 min)
  • Cornfield Commando with Ted Vernon (9 min)
  • Original Storyboards (4 min)
  • Still Gallery (5 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer

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