A Movie A Day: SCARECROWS (1988)
If I were a crow I’d be somewhere else.
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with the next installment of A Movie A Day: Halloween 2010 edition!
[For the entirety of October I will be showcasing one horror film each day. Every film is pulled from my DVD shelf or streamed via Netflix Instant and will be one I haven’t seen. Unlike my A Movie A Day or A Movie A Week columns there won’t necessarily be connectors between each film, but you’ll more than likely see patterns emerge day to day.]
Holy shit what a horrible movie. Why didn’t you guys warn me this movie was so bad? I thought we were friends!
Friends don’t let friends watch Scarecrows. Put that on the poster.
Maybe if I watched this drunk with Patton Oswalt this would be a fantastic movie experience, but stone cold sober alone on my couch it was torturous.
I understand low budget filmmaking, I understand the constraints, but goddamnit if you want to make a movie at least understand how movies are made before you try. Easily 40% of this movie is ADRed (dialogue recorded after filming) and filled with such gems as “There’s a house over there” cut to a house. I’m glad they clarified that or else I would have been lost.
ADR is tricky, but when done well or even competently it’s fine. Here the filmmakers just didn’t give a shit. We’d hear a guy talk in a medium shot where his mouth clearly isn’t moving. Are we supposed to believe this is his inner narration?
But not giving a shit is pretty much this entire movie. The writer/director William Wesley didn’t give a shit about casting anyone that could act, he didn’t give a shit about following any logical through line, he didn’t give a shit about learning how to make a movie, he didn’t give a shit about ripping off Aliens at every possible opportunity.
It seems the only thing he did give a shit about was the gore effects, which usually is enough for me. I can sit through the worst Friday the 13th movie if the kills are clever enough, but here there’s just not enough to make it worth the insufferable dialogue and worst of the worst line delivery.
And really, there are only a couple of instances of interesting gore, most notably a facial prosthetic that has a person’s lips ripped away that pops up at the tail end of the movie.
Wanna know another brilliant thing that happens in this movie?
Okay, so the premise is a bunch of mercenaries steal $3 million in military payroll, hijack a plane, its pilot and his teenage daughter. We don’t see any of that, of course, because that would mean actually seeing something happen. That might be good filmmaking, so of course it’s not in this movie.
They’re betrayed by a character named Bert because apparently just going all the way and calling the backstabbing sleazeball character Burke was crossing the rip-off line for them. What Bert does is toss the money out of the plane and follows it down, parachuting away from the plane.
Smartly he tosses a grenade as his bon voyage before jumping out of the plane.
Unluckily for him, he picked the grenade with a 50 second timer. Don’t you hate it when you throw a grenade at someone and they have time to talk about it, let it roll away, talk about it some more and then the dumb one picks it up, not knowing what it is, holds it for a few seconds before it’s thrown safely away from the intended target?
I guess ACME made that particular grenade.
Back on the ground, Bert looks for the money and finds instead a ton of creepy Mexican scarecrows. He drives around a little bit, finds the money and is massacred by the scarecrows. In the meantime, the betrayed mercs land the airplane and show up in time to find scattered money, a shit-ton of scarecrows and a creepy abandoned house.
Trust me, the movie playing in your mind right now is a hundred times better than what is actually recorded. One of the lady mercs has a perm, okay? Secretary hair does not belong on a badass.
It really does feel like Wesley watched Aliens and thought he could do it, but with killer scarecrows. He takes the formula, complete with the survivors thinking they’re safe back on the plane and no wait! There’s one on the plane! If you wanted any proof that it takes skill to be a director watch this film and Aliens back to back. After you’re done hating life for sitting through Scarecrows you’ll say, “You know, Avatar had a lot of problems, but that James Cameron could be in a coma and direct a movie better than Scarecrows.”
Final Thoughts: I’m not hard to please, especially when it comes to ‘80s horror. But I need something, guys. I need a good performance, a fun actor, a passable script, clever and well-executed gore or, barring all that, something stupid and fun. Of all that, Scarecrows can only pull off being stupid. It is not fun or competent. Just a moldy turd.
Currently in print on DVD: YES
Currently available on Netflix Instant: YES
Upcoming A Movie A Day Titles:
Sunday, October 31st: RAZORBACK (1984)
One more left! One day ‘til Halloween and I’ve yet to think of a costume or pick my BNAT application picture. I have a busy 30ish hours ahead of me, but rest assured Razorback will fit in there. See ya’ trick or treaters tomorrow!
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Previous AMAD 2010’s:
- Raw Meat (1972)
- Ghost Story (1981)
- Two on a Guillotine (1965)
- Tentacles (1977)
- Bad Ronald (1974)
- The Entity (1983)
- Doctor X (1932)
- The Return of Doctor X (1939)
- The Tenant (1976)
- Man in the Attic (1953)
- New Year’s Evil (1980)
- Prophecy (1979)
- The Other (1972)
- The Mummy (1959)
- The Gorgon (1964)
- Mad Love (1935)
- Repulsion (1965)
- The Church (1989)
- The Black Cat (1981)
- The Black Cat (1934)
- The Comedy of Terrors (1963)
- Dolls (1987)
- The Silent Scream (1980)
- Scream of Fear (1961)
- The Mephisto Waltz (1971)
- Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)
- The Evil (1978)
- The Devil-Doll (1936)
- Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
Click here for the full 215 movie run of A Movie A Day!
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Oct. 30, 2010, 9:11 p.m. CST
by King Conan
...that is all.
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:17 p.m. CST
by bat fastard
I second that emotion.
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:21 p.m. CST
You were warned!
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:29 p.m. CST
This movie should not have been watched by him or anyone. It would have been cool to have Dark Night of the Scarecrow be today's (Saturday's) entry, and then tomorrow's movie be something a little better than Razorback, which is at least better than Scarecrows.
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:39 p.m. CST
So go get fucked, Quint, you fucking loser. Go beat off to some Bob Zemeckis movies or something.
Oct. 30, 2010, 9:41 p.m. CST
that William Wesley, mops floors for a living now. Cool.
Oct. 30, 2010, 10:06 p.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
Now that we've nearly reached the conclusion of this month-long misfire:<P>1.) You seem to have confused obscure bad horror movies with the hidden gems of that genre. Yes, there is a bit of overlap between the two, but you've been much more off the mark than on it.<P>2.) I do believe Mr. Beaks smote you like Vlad The Impaler on a good day with his succinct and much more worthy Ten Under-Seen Horror Films column.<P>Stick to the Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day stuff, champ. Leave the actual insights to those with a measure of intelligence & articulation.
Oct. 30, 2010, 10:59 p.m. CST
I was surprised by the reaction to Scarecrows - I've always thought it was a very, very creepy little flick, with a very Twilight Zoney mood. Sure, the acting is kinda low-par, and it's all pretty cheap, but given it's limitations it really creates a spooky mood. Oh well, I have a soft spot The Video Dead too. That one's a backyard production if there ever was one, but the way the zombies have a chuckle amongst themselves when they kill someone - it's cute!
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:07 p.m. CST
...is good, but it's not a movie I'd pick to watch ON Halloween. Yes, it has a fantastic creature that kills people, and it has a couple Mad-Max-type-weirdo characters that up the creep factor, but not all horror movies = good Halloween movies. It's well made though, even though it doesn't have frequent scares and gore. What is does have is setting and atmosphere. Plus a cute blonde.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:09 p.m. CST
in my previous post
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:13 p.m. CST
To me it was meh, but watchably meh. Some of the dialogue had me cracking up. "Hey Bert, we're gonna hang you up like one of these scarecrows and stuff ya full of crow shit." It's cheesy 80s, but it certainly isn't the worst. You must've been having an overly-critical night. I actually watched this last night and came away all right.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:17 p.m. CST
Um, Beaks' article is totally different to start with. AMAD isn't about me telling you guys what good movies are out there, this is me experimenting by watching films I haven't seen. You might disagree with my opinions, but if you can't grasp the difference between the two columns that's your problem, not mine. And for the record, this "misfire" also turned me on to many good films, including Man in the Attic, Repulsion, Hammer's The Mummy, Mad Love, Lugosi and Karloff's The Black Cat, The Comedy of Terrors, Dolls, Dark Night of the Scarecrow and The Devil Doll. It's by no means a loss as an experience.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:34 p.m. CST
Seriously, look at the picture of the cover! Also: "ALIENS, but with killer scarecrows" sounds like the best movie ever. I'm crushed by the disappointment.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:50 p.m. CST
I don't think Quint at any time claimed to give us hidden gems of horror. To me this series was like finding a buttload of unlabelled VHS tapes in a Blockbuster backroom and going through them and being blown away by some and wanting to blow yourself up by others.<p> Thanks Quint, this series gave us the perfect theme and set of movies for our Halloween marathon. Can't believe I'd never seen Comedy of Terrors.
Oct. 30, 2010, 11:55 p.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
Answer me this: Why is it that I can surf the web (using Internet Explorer 8) without incident, but as soon as I log in HERE (w/IE8), when I then jump to the next site or next window... my antivirus software displays a popup window telling me there is a "virus detected" each time I shift sites or open a new window? At first I thought it was the negative result of an untoward website or a porn website, zinging my computer. The first time it happened, I did a Windows error check for the entire C drive (which takes about 90 minutes), and that solved the problem.<P>Then I decided to see if my suspicions were correct. I changed my Internet Explorer homepage to www.aintitcool.com, surfed there and ONLY there... and sure enough it happened again; those antivirus popups showed up on 3 consecutive occasions. No ACTUAL virus... just those annoying popups everytime I later switched websites or opened a new window. Case closed. Suffice to say, I now come to this site (and log in) using a browser other than Internet Explorer.<P>WHAT THE FUCK, man? Is it not enough for you guys to ban someone who you judge as out of line?... or do you feel the need to go a step further, and try to fuck up their PC? What kind of underhanded bullshit is THAT? Answer THAT question, OK?
Oct. 31, 2010, 12:03 a.m. CST
I hate to disagree ...but I've always liked Scarecrows.
Oct. 31, 2010, 12:11 a.m. CST
with food. Did you just dry swallow another handful? Go get the stomach pump. I said get the stomach pump, bitch!
Oct. 31, 2010, 12:12 a.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
... and you'd better Goddamn well hope the state of Texas doesn't have any anti-malware legislation in place.
Oct. 31, 2010, 12:58 a.m. CST
by Rex Carsalot
Could you just fuck off or something? The column is a good read, and it's WAY better than that stupid list Beak put together. Quint actually discusses what works and doesn't. "Smote"? I can't believe I have to share my air with you.
Oct. 31, 2010, 1 a.m. CST
by Rex Carsalot
I didn't read your actual stupid post up there - and now that I have, it's clear that you're simply a crazy person and not to be taken seriously.
Oct. 31, 2010, 1:02 a.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
Fine. Guess whose attorney will be getting a call on Monday morning?
Quint can only help you with Scarecrow advice. If you're frightened that the Scarecrows may harm you in your sleep, please continue posting here. Quint cannot help you with your computer issues. Quint, as far as I know, did not manufacture your computer nor sell it to you. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/launching-internet-explorer-8-for-the-first-time.html
"Thanks for calling our law offices. If you're calling because you've recently been frightened by Scarecrows press one now. If you can currently see Scarecrows in you yard, home or in fact anywhere on your property, press 2 now. If you can no longer use simple applications on your home PC because of a Scarecrow-based internet rage please press 3 now."
Oct. 31, 2010, 1:21 a.m. CST
Scarecrows rules. I recently watched both this and Aliens and have no idea where the comparison comes from. But I would easily rank Scarecrows way, way, way, can't say way enough, way over that over-rated idiocy that is Aliens.
Oct. 31, 2010, 1:34 a.m. CST
by frank cotton
could be you're just an asshole, and this is KARMA
Oct. 31, 2010, 3:23 a.m. CST
Wow, you caught us. I can't believe the game is finally up after nearly 15 years of sneakily sending viruses to our readers. That's where the real money is, not in actually keeping people coming to the site. We're being paid by Russian commie space aliens to slow your computer down so it's easier for them to read your brainwaves. And we would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you! You're a hero! Hope you're happy with yourself. I gotta go break the news to Comrade Xxyxlmwxswy. She-him-it isn't going to be happy that you've figured out their master plan...
Oct. 31, 2010, 3:52 a.m. CST
...what kind of a cunt are you rocco? love this column to death quint. xmas movie a day? pretty please with a cherry on top.
Oct. 31, 2010, 5:36 a.m. CST
I mean ... voluntarily?
Oct. 31, 2010, 7:20 a.m. CST
Don't bait the talkback mongotards. Its not nice. It's cruel. They're confused to begin with. Oh, by-the-way, love the movie a day thing. Always fun.
Oct. 31, 2010, 7:41 a.m. CST
by Motoko Kusanagi
Btw, I still use Netscape 3.0
Oct. 31, 2010, 8:26 a.m. CST
...then I have a bridge to sell you. <p> Who let the fucking paranoid nutjobs in here?
Oct. 31, 2010, 8:44 a.m. CST
"Scarecrows" has to be one of the worst horror movies I've ever seen. One of the main problems is that it's so damn boring. One would expect a film about mercenaries trapped in an old barn with some killer scarecrows to be somewhat interesting, but it's not. I'm surprised you didn't turn it off like you did with "The Video Dead", because "Scarescrows" is pretty boring compared to that film.
Oct. 31, 2010, 9:29 a.m. CST
Nice article Quint. I'll be avoiding that one. As for Rocco...why don't you go and play with yer alphabet soup or something? Ten year old moron!
Oct. 31, 2010, 10:02 a.m. CST
One listen to his cackling laugh will scare the bejesus out of you. This other stuff is just crap.
Oct. 31, 2010, 10:09 a.m. CST
Seriously, this is a great horror flick...William Wesley deserved more shots at directing.
Oct. 31, 2010, 11:09 a.m. CST
by Cosmo Nautilus
But the hero AICN needs. Our dork knight.
Oct. 31, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST
by Harry Weinstein
But VIDEO DEAD doesn't? Pffft.
Oct. 31, 2010, 11:38 a.m. CST
Not quite as godawful as you make it out to be, but far less than it could've been. Interesting premise and atmosphere for days, but it takes more than that to make a good horror movie. Good music score, though.
Oct. 31, 2010, 12:18 p.m. CST
those saying this film isn't quite as bad as Quint makes it out to be. I watched this as a kid when it first came out and then just a few years ago managed to find a copy and rewatch it, hoping it was a creepy as I remembered. It actually isn't half bad (though I'll admit there is a lot of bad). Kind of dark and creepy despite the low budget and missteps. <p>Quint, I have absolutely no idea where you're getting the crazy Aliens comparison from.
Oct. 31, 2010, 12:19 p.m. CST
blurs the line between troll and someone too moronic to even be a troll.
Oct. 31, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST
I posted something about this movie and how it is deceptive in what it is really about. Saw this a couple years ago and yeah it is bad. I couldn't remember how bad it was, but reading your review has brought back memories of strong disappointment in this movie. It's just so poorly made.
Oct. 31, 2010, 1:28 p.m. CST
...Check out this short of mine! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AvrRxWZP3E
Oct. 31, 2010, 1:44 p.m. CST
He also shot, among other things, Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, and Evil Dead II. I guess they can't all be winners. ;-)
Oct. 31, 2010, 2:28 p.m. CST
Then it would be indeed awful.
Oct. 31, 2010, 2:39 p.m. CST
by Ambush Bug
I haven't watched the movie in a long time, but I remember watching it as a kid and being creeped out by it. I think a lot of the stuff not in the movie was done so because of budget limitations. I seem to remember reading an article in Fangoria about it. I always remembered it as a creepy little film. Perfect pairing with Dark Night of the Scarecrow, though I'd watch it prior to watching that one, not after.
Oct. 31, 2010, 4:25 p.m. CST
by hank quinlan
I saw this as a freshman in highschool,twenty years ago. It actually wasn't that bad of a premise. But it wasn't a great movie then. Killer scarecrows. Not the worst idea. But i was excited to see it on this list. I think it's sad so many horror movies are just plain terrible. They don't have to be great, just fun. Carpenter's early work shows you don't need a lot of money. Just a smart cool script and a little talent with the camera. But then again, those are always in short supply.
Oct. 31, 2010, 4:33 p.m. CST
I read this column all month and there was not ONE family comedy on here! What are you hiding? I mean, the point of your column "A Movie A Day" is to watch a movie a day, right? I find it hard to believe that you failed (chose?) to ignore a whole genre over 4 weeks. Explain THAT, Quint!
Oct. 31, 2010, 4:37 p.m. CST
furthermore, i'm asking you to CEASE and desist in your involvement in the research and development of metallic headgear. patents ARE pending. and violation of Article XIV of the US Patent office demands you allow political and corporate competitors access to your precious bodily fluids.
Oct. 31, 2010, 7:17 p.m. CST
by The Reluctant Austinite
This review was a little over the top for a B-movie 80s rental flick. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought Massawyrm wrote it. The condescending tone of crtical superiority isn't what I usually read on this site, as Quint uncharacteristicly lashed out at the director as if he made the worst possible product with this concept. It just isn't THAT bad. It does have atmosphere and scary scarecrows.
Oct. 31, 2010, 8:26 p.m. CST
Agree about it bring an Aliens rip off, except set in a farm. With crap scarecrows. Makes a great triple-bill wigh Pumpkenhead & Blood Beach.
Oct. 31, 2010, 10:32 p.m. CST
so bummed you disliked 'scarecrows' so much. I thought it was pretty cool for what it was. It would have benefitted with a slightly larger budget, sure; but I had a good time when I saw it. Damn...
Oct. 31, 2010, 10:43 p.m. CST
by frank cotton
i remembered watching a flick with the word 'scarecrow' in it. after mucking about a bit, trying to remember the title, i finally gave up and consulted THE LIST (2664). i remembered liking what i saw, and after reading the review, was suprised to see that the film in question was indeed SCARECROWS. can't believe it came out in '88. can't remember shit! now i have to watch it again. so the best i can do now is give it a thumbs up (pending).
Nov. 1, 2010, 2:49 a.m. CST
Back in the VHS days...watching a pirate Uncut copy from Dubai (or something) this movie rocked! Guess it doesn´t work in DVD quality! Have to pop in my 6 year old (Unopened)copy tonight to see for myself!
Nov. 1, 2010, 8:15 a.m. CST
by Sailor Rip
"Trust me, the movie playing in your mind right now is a hundred times better than what is actually recorded." <p> I was actually thinking "This doesn't sound too bad." then got to this sentence.
Nov. 1, 2010, 3:05 p.m. CST
Your comment assures that I will never ever take any movie recommendations from you. Quint is dead on re: Scarecrows, and anyone who dismisses Aliens as "over-rated idiocy" (in favor of friggin' Scarecrows, no less) has demonstrated himself to have pretty poor taste in film.
Nov. 1, 2010, 7:01 p.m. CST
Nov. 1, 2010, 7:25 p.m. CST
I actually really loved this movie, i think it's genuinley creepy . Part of it's charm is you never really find out whats going on, and what it is they are apart from they are ( or were ) some kind of satanists. Even the little things like the car keys hanging up on the wall, whn they werent there a min ago, or the truck not having an engine, but still drove . Great little creepy touches. Alo the extended shots of scarecrows , just hanging there and all you hear is the wind blowing. Good stuff. Yes it's very 80's and doesnt have a lot of cash behind it. But i love it. Video dead is also awesome
Nov. 1, 2010, 11:06 p.m. CST
Firefox w/AdBLock and BitDefender. They're your friends
Nov. 2, 2010, 3:04 a.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
Thanks for the tip; I'll check it out ASAP.<P>And to those of you who think I'm a nutjob or a conspiracy theorist: you must be awfully Goddamn naive. My IP number isn't the first one to be targeted, and it won't be the last. Some of the admins on this website aren't exactly unbiased or ethical, in case you haven't figured that out yet.
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