Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Holocaust: Scarecrows (William Wesley, 1988)

I'd never heard of this cracking little film until just before watching it, and I'm assuming its seeming obscurity may have something to do with a lack of availability, although I might be wrong. Essentially, it's sort of like Predator meets Reservoir Dogs, with demonically possessed scarecrows taking the place of the alien hunter, and thieving paramilitary mercenaries instead of stylishly suited crooks. 

Like many other effective low budget horror pics, it's both taut and lean in its execution, single minded in its intent to terrify, and boasts a wonderfully intimate sense of place (which soon becomes appropriately claustrophobic). 

As I've only just seen the film for the first time (and in the wee hours as well), there's not a great deal more I can add at present. From what I remember though, I'd say that the cast were all very competent, portraying characters who were refreshingly three-dimensional. The eponymous straw-men are perhaps the creepiest I've seen on screen and are pure nightmare fuel. Personally though - and this is my only criticism of an otherwise excellent movie - I'd say that the scarecrows seem less frightening when they actually start moving about and wreaking bloody havoc, but that might just be me. I think maybe they could have staged these splatter set-pieces a bit more effectively, but as I've implied, my memory of some of the film is still slightly hazy, so will need to re-watch it before I make my mind up on this apparent issue. 

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