Friday Midnight Movie, ‘Scarecrows’ (1988)
Don’t you just love those movies you just happen across? The ones you had absolutely no idea existed. They weren’t recommended to you, you didn’t read about them in a magazine or online; they just pop up from somewhere. On TV one night when you cant sleep, on the shelf of the video store, or in a clearance basket of a petrol station. For me it was the latter, I first stumbled across Scarecrows whilst filling up my car at a countryside petrol station in Mid Wales and, whilst I didn’t buy it there-and-then, the cover art stayed with me, and within weeks I had tracked it down online and made a purchase. And what a great little sleeper this is, very creepy, tense, and at times genuinely scary.
A group of high tech robbers have pulled off a big heist and made their getaway in a military plane when one of the gang opts for mutiny and parachutes off with the cash causing the remaining bandits (and two hostages) to make an unscheduled landing amongst the rural pastures below. The adage that crime doesn’t pay is rammed home here as the criminals find themselves on farmland inhabited by possessed scarecrows who practice the Atkins Diet with some vigour. Like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz these chaps too only want a brain, and some lungs, and some small intestine, and maybe an eyeball or two.
The joy of this film comes in the pitch darkness in which it’s presented. Both characters and audience are plunged into the black of the cornfields where the night vision goggles become a handy ally. Props also go to the design of the scarecrows themselves whose expressionless emotionless faces will fill you with dread when you attempt to go to bed afterwards. A great little find.
Like terror in the fields? Try Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003), Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981), and if your really desperate try Night of the Scarecrow (1995)