Tuesday, March 25, 2008

FGFC: Scarecrows

Here we go again! This time 'round Stacie has chosen "Scarecrows" as the FGFC pick. "Scarecrows" is a flick from '88 and as we know I'm all about trying to reclaim the 80's. Other than the year I wasn't actually sure how excited I was about the flick though, I've never seen an actual scarecrow flick before. Though as I understand it there is at least a bit of a sub genre dedicated to them so I was hopeful going in. Plus ya know it does have an awesome tag line "They Only Want A Brain ... Yours.

The Basics: Extended Edition

A small but greedy paramilitary group has robbed a military base and walked away with 3.5 million dollars, a hefty sum! Actually they didn't walk away they flew away with the help of a pilot and his daughter whom they have kidnapped. Things were going pretty smoothly until one of the group, Bert (B.J. Turner), decides that $3.5 split amongst the group was good, but $3.5 split one way was better (math!). So he set a little smoke bomb, tossed a grenade (which blew up awesome by the way), and parachuted out with the cash. A logical if not well thought out plan if you ask me.

So Bert makes his landing, in a tree first then onto the ground. He stands up, gets his orientation about him and goes off to find where the money landed, but not before getting a bit of a jump when he turns to see up on a cross a big ugly scarecrow! As Bert walks off we hear that the Scarecrow can mimic peoples voices. Meanwhile back on the plane the group is trying to find out where Bert is headed with their ill gotten booty when they notice and start heading towards a house in the area. A couple of them parachute out to follow Bert while the plane makes a few rounds to keep track of him and then finds a field to make a landing.

Bert makes it to the house, gets the key to the truck outside, confederate front plate and all, and heads out to snag the cash and make an escape. He also runs over a scarecrow. Soon enough the truck stops working and Bert heads out on his own dragging the money with him. All the while he has his headset on so the rest of the team can sass him while he escapes...or is it the team? Starting freak out Bert takes off leaving most of the money behind he runs into a grouping of scarecrows up on their crosses and really gets scared he even goes so far as to try and give the money back (he thinks that Curry (Michael David Simms) and Jack (Richard Vidan) from the group have him surrounded). And then it happens, a real live (or at least animated) scarecrow jumps out and thrusts it's hand into berts stomach killing him.

Not knowing that Bert is dead the rest of the team from the plane heads out towards the house to meet up with the members currently there, leaving behind only the pilot, the apparent leader, Roxanne (Kristina Sanborn), even takes Kellie (Victoria Christian) the pilots daughter with them (so he won't bolt on them). By searching the house they realize that the people who lived there previously were weird, "into devil worship or somethin'!"

Of course as soon as everybody is out of sight the pilot takes off on his own only to be fooled and taken out by the scarecrows fairly quickly.

Back to our group out looking for Bert, they find his parachute up in a tree looking as if it is holding something. Jack reluctantly climbs the tree to cut it open but when he does poor Curry standing below is covered in the blood that was inside. While they are on their way back Bert suddenly appears at the house startling Roxanne.

So they are administering a good old fashioned beating to Bert. All they want to know is where the money is but he ain't talkin! Curry gets a little angry, rips open Bert's shirt revealing the wound that his insides were removed from which is now stuffed with straw and cash. Bert isn't happy about the reveal and starts fighting back, strongly not even gunshots at point blank range stop him. Luckily Corbin figures out that decapitation and dismemberment will slow him down a bit!

While everyone is busy realizing that the money stuffed inside of Bert wasn't the entire amount Kellie is busy attempting to escape. She may have gotten away if she hadn't of been distracted by the sight of her father dead and strung up like a scarecrow, this gives Corbin time to catch her and bring her back.

They notice out the window that it looks like the wind has blown some money out that they can claim. Well to them it looks like the wind blew it out, to me it looks an awful lot like a trail was left. A trail to death!

While picking up this trail wind blown miracle Jack finds his missing harmonica (he'd been missing it ever so) unfortunately the reunion wasn't long lived as the money does in fact lead to death as another scarecrow knocks Jack out and chops his hand off placing it upon it's own wrist. The Jack wristed scarecrow then chases after a very unhappy Curry who makes a run for it and eventually makes his way back to the group to warn them.

Back in the house Curry loses his mind and refuses to leave, Roxanne is still concerned about collecting the cash, Corbin is worried, and Kellie doesn't think the things are after her. Eventually they agree to make a break for the plane all except for Curry who is going to stay behind because he believes Jack is fine and is headed back to them.

On the way back Roxanne is distracted by another line of money while Kellie is distracted by what she believes is the sound of her dog barking off in the distance somewhere. Roxanne is then further distracted by grisly death. Corbin convinces Kellie that there is no dog out here only the scarecrows messing with her head so off to the plane they run.

Corbin and Kellie are almost free when Corbin gets a knife to the leg. In a quite noble move for a killer/thief he tells Kellie to make a run for it and save her self which she almost does. But at the last minute she decides to try and be helpful for once, comes back, finds Corbin's very large gun and takes care of biddness.

While all of that is going on Curry, still at the house, hears the phone ringing. He answers to a heavy breather with a few uncomfortable words. A door swings open behind him revealing a burlap sack, inside is the still alive head of Bert! That was bad enough, but not nearly as bad as the surprise entering the house. It's Jack! Jack has definitely seen better days, but then again so has Curry seeing as how Jack knifes him (oops sorry about the pun). Then the old scarecrows all seem to go back to resting.

Kellie and Corbin are about to make their big escape, Kellie fires up the plane engines and starts takeoff while Corbin enjoys himself a cigar. Well he was enjoying it until the pilot, Kellie's dad, now a scarecrow himself shows up, attacks Corbin and starts making his way towards Kellie. A brief scuffle ensues, Kellie uses some tricky flying to keep her dad off balance long enough for Corbin to regain consciousness and fight back. He does so with a holy hand grenade* which requires that he also sacrifice himself. While Kellie looks on in horror. In the aftermath Kellie, in shock flies the plane on while her dog disturbingly goes into the back and snacks on the remains...


I mentioned in the past that my intention was to actually watch this one during my marathon on the 18th but I had to push it back. When I was going to watch it I realized being awake for nearly 48 hours really wasn't the optimal time to watch something I was going to have to write about, so I put it off. Plus I would have been putting it in directly after "The Haunting" (which fucking rocked!!) and I knew that there way no way it could hold up to that at all.

So like I said earlier I really wasn't sure what to expect going in, what I didn't expect was to very honestly not knowing exactly what to think as soon as the movie was over. There was a lot of campy coolness in there to be sure. At the same time there was some really confusing stuff.

I may be in the minority here but I was totally fine with the minimalist explanation of why the scarecrows existed. Just enough to understand and not enough to be convoluted

I really liked the idea during the first half of the movie where everyone was connected through the headsets so even when Bert was running around on his own there was commentary and interaction. I thought it worked really well especially as it mixed into the confusion with the messages from the scarecrows. That really made Bert's last moments much more intense.

One of the things that took me out of things a bit was the inconsistency of peoples moods. I suppose it could have been planned that way to show the severity of the situations but a lot of it just didn't make sense. A perfect example is when Kellie is brought back to the house after seeing her father she immediately attacks Roxanne and calls her a murderer and says that they all killed her father. Then in the next scene all of a sudden she is hugging Roxanne (her kidnapper) for comfort.

There were a few other small inconsistencies as well but most of them a lot smaller and less distracting so they are more nit picky than anything so they were easier to ignore. Except for another kind of annoying one that happened in the ending. First off I'll say that the ending to me was much better before the final radio narration. We didn't need as much closure as they gave us. Cutting away from Kellie and her feasting dog would have been a fantastically disturbing note to end on. Instead they told us exactly what happened, the plane landed and the first rescue party was mauled by the dog. Then they discovered Kellie strapped into her seat in shock. So...why didn't the dog attack Kellie? If the implication was that eating the dead scarecrow had somehow infected or maddened the dog why would he leave her be?


I enjoyed my time with "Scarecrows." I really did, but not so much that I plan on going out of my way to spend more time with it. Though I really liked a lot of the concept behind it though so the sub-genre does intrigue me. And like I said there were things that I thought were really top notch, that headset idea really floored me.

We had our time and now we move on to bigger and better. It's not you Scarecrows, it's me.

Crap, now that I've mentioned it I really want to watch "The Haunting" again, I wish I hadn't returned it....

Oh well, until next time this is me saying Mahalo

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