Wednesday, May 27, 2015



Label: Scream Factory
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 83 Minutes
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
Video: HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: William Wesley
Cast: Ted Vernon, Victoria Christian, Kristina Sanborn, Michael David Simms, Richard Vidan

A group of mercenaries knock over the payroll office at Fort Pendelton, afterward they kidnap an airplane pilot and his daughter and force them to fly South towards Mexico. En route over rural Florida they are betrayed by one of their own who makes off with multi-million dollar loot. Now the irate mercenaries find themselves in rural Florida on the prowl for their missing money and to fuck-up their double-crossing teammate. On the ground they come across an abandoned farmhouse where there seems to have been some occult activity years earlier, which might explain why the scarecrows in the area are coming to life and killing the mercenaries one my one, turning them into more scarecrows in a variety of grisly ways.The group of mercenaries are armed to the teeth with weaponry and other cool techno gadget including night vision goggles and radio headsets which keep them in constant contact. They're tough guys all around but they're no match for the straw-stuffed supernatural force they encounter on this dark night. 

Scarecrows is quite a fun action-supernatural horror hybrid with a lot of creepy atmosphere, shot entirely at night the shadowy cinematography works wonders for this low-budget cheapie with scenes of darkened cornrows and creepy scarecrows  which more than once made my skin crawl. The gore is pretty good, we get some enjoyable blood and guts throughout. Severed heads, crucified corpses wrapped in barbwire and a body stuffed with cash are just a few of the morbid delights of Scarecrows. 

Our crew of crooks are tough guys through and through but we see them crumble a bit when confronted with murderous scarecrows, and rightfully so, these scarecrows are vicious and scary as shit! We don't get a ton of character development for anyone as the story takes place over the course of a few short hours, but we do get a feel for what type of people we are dealing with, they're crooks, but they're not the most awful people you could imagine, they have some honor about them. I thought the characters of the pilot and his daughter were extraneous to the story but at least the daughter was cute, and without her there wouldn't have been anyone to root for other than a group of money stealing crooks.  

Some comedy comes does through from time to time, not of the slapstick laugh out loud variety, but more along the lines of gallows humor, these guys are fighting for their lives against an absurd supernatural force, and that silliness is not lost on the filmmakers or the screenwriter, so you might find an uneasy chuckle or two to enjoy among the scenes of dread and tension. 

At the end of the day this is a film about creepy scarecrows stalking a group of crooks and murdering them one by one, turning them into twisted and bloody versions of scarecrows and that's a pretty bad ass premise. On top of that the movie is well paced and the special effects are top-notch, plus the mash-up of action and horror elements is fun, which at times made me think of Neil Marshall's awesome werewolf film Dog Soldiers, another film that pits a supernatural force against a small military squad. 

Audio/Video: Scarecrows looks pretty damn good on Blu-ray from Scream Factory, a nice HD upgrade with strong black levels which is a must as the film is shot almost entirely at night. The color timing is strong, skin tones are accurate and there's a pleasing amount of fine detail throughout with a modest amount of depth to the image.

Audio options include both English DTS-HD MA stereo and surround sound options, the surround mix is really enhanced the viewing experience, during the action scenes we get plenty of sub woofer action and during the creepier moments some nice use of the surrounds. Composer Terry Plumeri's creepy score sounds great, love the use of the oboe during a few of the score selections, it's not something you hear a whole lot of and it's effectively used, added a lot of atmosphere to the movie. 

Onto the bonus features we have a choice of two audio commentaries, one with director William Wesley And producer Cami Winikoff moderated by Rob Galluzo whom I know from the Killer POV Podcast, this is the one I enjoyed the most, with some great making-of anecdotes and a tale of a near tragic flight. 

The second commentary is with co-screenwriter Richard Jefferies, Director Of Photography Peter Deming And Composer Terry Plumeri moderated by Michael Felsher of Red Shirt Pictures and seems to be stitched together from a series of interviews, another one loaded with great making-of info, both are solid bonuses. 

There are also two new video interviews produced by the Red Shirt Pictures crew, the first being with Special Make-Up Effects Creator Norman Cabrera who recalls his hero worship of Rick Baker and the grassroots adventures making Scarecrows. This was his very first film at just eighteen years old, he speaks about the challenges of doing the effects on a low-budget feature, good stuff. 

The second is an interview with Actor Ted Vernon who briefly looks back at his career as a wrestler and a fighter and his movie career, plus his TV show South Beach Classics, but the meat of the interview focuses on Scarecrows and his experience on the four week shoot, portraying tough-guy Corbin who turns out to have a heart. Apparently the shoot plagued by mosquitoes and he hints at nearly coming to blows with director William Wesley. He also recalls working with the rest of the cast whom he seems fond of. Watch through to the end of the credits for some fun bonus interview bits. The last of the extras are storyboard comparisons, a gallery of behind-the-scenes stills, and a theatrical trailer plus a sleeve of reversible artwork. 

Special Features:
- New Audio Commentary With Co-screenwriter Richard Jefferies, Director Of Photography Peter Deming And Composer Terry Plumeri moderated by Michael Felsher of Red Shirt Pictures
- Audio Commentary With Director William Wesley And Producer Cami Winikoff moderated by Rob Galluzo of Killer POV Podcast 

- The Last Straw – An Interview With Special Make-Up Effects Creator Norman Cabrera (17 Mins)
- Cornfield Commando – An Interview With Actor Ted Vernon (9 Mins)
- Original Storyboards (4 Mins)
- Still Gallery (60 Images)
- Theatrical Trailer (2 Mins) 

Scarecrows holds up quite well, a tense and dread filled action-horror hybrid loaded with creepy atmosphere and scary looking scarecrows out for blood, fun stuff. After Dark Night of the Scarecrow this was one of the first killer scarecrow movies, and it is still one of the best of the bunch to this day. I don't think this one had a wide audience, so I am glad to see it on Blu-ray where it will maybe earn a few new fans, this one deserves a wider audience. A great presentation from Scream Factory with a solid audio and video presentation and a bunch of cool extras, highly recommended. 4/5