Movie of the Week: Scarecrows (1988)

Summer’s here and the time is right for killing in the fields. 

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As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am fascinated by scarecrows.  They are creepy, and I like ’em.  I hope to one day write a great scarecrow story (or at least a good one…one that doesn’t all-out suck).  I am not aware of a lot of scarecrow literature, I’m certain it’s in short supply.  I do know that when it comes to good scarecrow movies, they are much like good Bigfoot movies– in short supply (don’t get me started on mummy movies).  Believe me, I’ve searched, I’ve watched and I’ve been disappointed.  For those interested, I’ve only found three great ones.  This week, in the spirit of the season, I want to recommend one of them.

Scarecrows begins with five combat-trained criminals stealing three million dollars from a military base. For their getaway, they highjack an airplane and keep the pilot and his daughter as hostages. The plan is to head for freedom in Mexico where the gang can divvy up the loot and live lives of luxury, potentially. The flaw in that plan is Bert, who, evidently, has no honor for his fellow thieves. He is a Benedict Arnold and takes the money all for himself, then parachutes out of the plane, à la D. B. Cooper.

The rest of the gang, though, will not let a little something like three million dollars be so easily lost. They don’t care if it did fly out of the plane in the middle of the night, they want their money back. They also want to get their hands on Bert and make him pay for being such a not so nice thief. Some of them parachute after Bert while the others wait for the plane to land.

When Bert floats to the earth, he finds himself on an abandoned farm. There’s an old house, some graves and some rather fearsome looking scarecrows watching over all of it. For as long as the place seems to have been abandoned, there is a truck which still works and Bert takes it to find where the trunk of money landed. What he discovers when the truck stops working is that it doesn’t have anything under the hood and has been operating under supernatural means much like the scarecrow that comes alive and kills him.

Once everybody else is on the ground, it’s a hunt for Bert. They find him, but he’s been stuffed with money. Now they have two concerns: finding the rest of the money (it’s three million dollars after all) and surviving whatever took care of Bert for them.

Scarecrows is one of the horror gems I discovered long ago with my brother and our cousins. It’s just a cool movie; an eerie cat and mouse game between people stuck in the country and the scarecrows, animated by the spirits of the former farmers who lived there, hellbent on killing the trespassers. What could a person not love about this movie?