Scarecrows are a fantastic, and perhaps overly obvious horror narrative tool. Anything that is supposed to be inanimate only to get up and walk around is a foundation of the horror cheap-scare. But this inanimate objecct has the added bonus of being humanoid in form with easy access to burlap sacks and pitchforks. It’s little surprise then, that in the age of direct to DVD and digital filmmaking that the scarecrow motif (like his other low-budget costumed cousins the vampire and the zombie) has been over-farmed to the extent whereby government regulation is needed. I point the pitchfork of blame at Psycho Scarecrow (2000), Scarecrow (2002), Scarecrow Killer (2002), Scarecrow Gone Wild (2004 – really?), Dark Harvest (2004), The Maize (2004), and Hallowed Ground (2007). That’s a lot of shit in seven corn filled years. Breath. So friends, take my hand, and allow Deadly Movies to lead you through the cornfield of crap and through to the golden plains of horror’s finest scarecrow crops.
5. Messengers 2: The Scarecrow (2009): A prequel to the decent enough 2007 Kirsten Stewart flick The Messengers. Nothing new but the period setting is decent enough and the leading man? Well that’s none other than The Walking Dead’s Darryl, Norman Reedus, readying his walking dead killing techniques. The scarecrow itself is probably the best of the other crap released in the 2000’s.
4. Night of the Scarecrow (1995): One of those 90’s horror movies that looks and feels like it was made a decade earlier (How the hell was Halloween 6 made in 1995?). It’s pretty much a Friday the 13th come A Nightmare on Elm Street rehash with a demonic scarecrow as the killer. It’s OK for what it is with a good poster and some nifty use of a sickle. Bonus points awarded for starring Stephen Root.
3. Kakashi (2001): Kakashi.., what a badass word for Scarecrow, it kind of sells itself with the tile alone. If The Wicker Man and The Ring had a baby it would be this decent J-Horror effort. Developed from an 80s Manga comic there’s some great visuals on display here that break up the monotony of the American killer scarecrow. Imagine if you will The Ring’s Sadako nailed to a cross and stuffed with straw and you’re on the right path.
2. Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981): He’s the Scarecrow we deserve, but not the one that makes number one. What a great movie, bat-shit crazy in places, with a great premise that sees a lynch mob killing a Of Mice and Men style Lennie who’s been wrongly accused of kiddie fiddling. Hiding out in a field disguised as a scarecrow the poor oaf is offed by Charles Durning and his boys who take fire-squad justice into their own hands. As sure as Japanese girls like to hold hands this village idiot is back for sweet revenge. Love the slack-jawed mask too.
1. Scarecrows (1986): Genuinely creepy in places the movie plunges both viewer and characters in pitch darkness where night vision goggles become a handy ally and budget saving plot device. The scarecrows themselves are well realised and there’s some good old 80s gory kills in there too. Like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz these burlap sacks only want a brain, and some lungs, and some small intestine. Read Deadly Movies full Scarecrows review here.