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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Scarecrows(1988)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: William Wesley

Starring:
Ted Vernon/Corbin
Michael David Simms/Curry
Richard Vidan/Jack
Victoria Christian/Kellie
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Five crooks who just bagged a heist and taken two hostages with them wind up in a field filled with scarecrows. The snag is that the scarecrows eventually come to life and they have this nasty habit of cutting folks open to then stuff them with straw. Gotta love them Scarecrows!
THE LOWDOWN
Damn, Damn, Damn, Dammit! I got the “R” version again. I first saw "Scarecrows" a loooong time ago and it was the uber-sliced up “R” version. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to find the uncut print (which I hear is very graphic) to be able to judge the film on its full merit. Alas, it took me everything just to find this “R” version today, yet alone find the un-MPAAA-tarnished version. So I guess I’ll have to review the butchered cut of this fine flick. Fuck me man…DAMN YOU MPAA!!

I can just imagine how effective this low budget movie is with the gore intact because even without the red gravy on the meat, it worked pretty damn well. "Scarecrows" is one spooky looking movie, with the field setting being bathed in dark atmosphere and the titular scarecrows themselves being incredibly bone-chilling. Finally, somebody took the scarecrow figure and interpreted it the RIGHT way to serve a horror movie! You see, you don’t need $80 million bucks to make an effect goosebump-inducing! All you need is some materials and a strong dose of imagination. Every time the camera would frame these damn Crow-Men in close ups and keep on them for a few beats, I’d get a severe case of the heebie-jeebies. CREEPY!

The flick itself was of the "old school" horror variety where suspense and buildup were emphasized upon. If you need action by frame one, you’ll be disappointed. Think "Night of the Living Dead", but with scarecrows. The physical shenanigans really started to kick in at about an hour in, but that was fine by me. The movie had me by the throat the whole way with its subtle horror ingredients, its twists and the whacked-out situation at hand. The momentum just kept increasing and increasing, until the pussy was let out of the sack and the eerie scarecrows ran amuck. Since this is the cut version, I didn’t get to see all the horrible things the beasties did to the human beings (mostly off-screen), but I still have to respect the morbid ideas behind the kills. When slicing somebody open to fill their bodies with straw usually comes up at a party, I’m always the first one cheering and pouring beer on my head in approval. GREAT IDEA!

On the downside, the movie’s mix of age and low budget sometimes made it feel dated, but I let that go. The film’s biggest flaws though were the ho-hum characters and their stupid ass moves. First off, apart from take-charge, badass Curry (played by Simms) everybody else had me counting road kill. Second of all, I don’t know about you guys, but if I first see a scarecrow roar at me through my rifle scope, then witness a man crucified on a cross, tied with barb wires, followed up with my comrade being stuffed with money and straw...I wouldn’t stick around the area to pocket stolen dough afterwards. I’d be out of dodge quicker than you can say: “The MPAA can kiss my ass!” Lastly, one sequence that was intended to be horrific wound up being hilariously tacky…yes…the talking head. Okay…whatever man.

But overall, "Scarecrows" was a strong show. This is more than just a killer scarecrow movie, it’s a morality tale (having to do with greed), it’s a ghost story and yes...it’s a freakin' murdering scarecrows movie! Take out the straw and the dough, it's time to stuff Jack Valenti till he freakin' pukes straw out of his damn nostrils, ears, mouth and ass! Now that’s an evening!
GORE
This cut version offered off-screen stabbings, a pitchfork in the hand, scarecrows cutting peeps up (not bloody), stabbings in the leg, blood pouring on a guys head and mangled living dead dudes.
ACTING
Ted Vernon (Corbin) did what he had to do and did it fine. Michael David Simms (Curry) was my favorite of the lot, the man had presence and the acting chops to back that up. Richard Vidan (Jack) did ok, nothing to do back flips over. Victoria Christian (Kellie) didn’t always sell me, nice cans though.
T & A
Nathing, but lots of straw. Even the scarecrows kept their clothes on…damn prudes!
DIRECTING
Wesley infused the film with a wooing dark atmosphere that had me at frame one and didn’t let up till the end. He also used slow motion well and handled his suspense scenes like a champ. What happened to this guy? "Route 666" was such a disappointment! He needs another shot at the genre.
SOUNDTRACK
We get a chilling score by Terry Plumeri that had the hairs on my arm tingling.
BOTTOM LINE
"Scarecrows" just charmed the return of the living shit out of me with its simple, yet effective, premise, its frightening scarecrows, its morbid ideas and its intoxicating dread-filled feel. Sure, the human characters weren’t all that, but I was able to cope with them. See this one on a dark stormy night and if you can, see the uncut version. I hear it delivers the gory candy.
BULL'S EYE
Richard Jefferies wrote the screenplay to "Scarecrows". He also penned "The Vagrant" and the upcoming haunted house flick "Cold Creek Manor".

William Wesley also directed the sub-par "Route 666".
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