Scarecrow Gone Wild

First there came “Scarecrow” (2002), then there was “Scarecrow Slayer” (2003), and now in 2004 York Entertainment brings us the final (hopefully) flick in their Scarecrow trilogy, “Scarecrow Gone Wild.” No I’m not kidding, the name of the movie is really Scarecrow Gone Wild. York Entertainment dropped the crew from the two previous films and brought on Brian Katkin (of Slaughterhouse Studios) to not only direct but also write this piece of trash. If you’ve ever seen Slaughterhouse Studios then you are unfortunately familiar with Katkin’s style. And don’t worry; he manages to do even worse this time around. At least Slaughterhouse Studios had camp-value and exorbitant amounts of nudity going for it, this movie has neither.

Now I don’t know whether it’s a lack of creativity, money, or both; but Katkin has yet to provide his viewers with even one quality on-screen kill. In this movie there were at least four people strangled by our slow-moving yet omnipresent scarecrow and all the rest of the roughly 10 total kills were off-screen or cut in and out faster than the 6 frames of porno inherent in every Disney film. One of the strangled even managed to die in only 3 seconds amidst so much chaos Katkin hoped I wouldn’t notice, neat huh? In the most original kill we’re given, a guitar-wielding jock is run-through by a volleyball pole turned javelin. The problem though is the victim is literally fine one frame and completely impaled the following. No motion, no sense of time, just instant shish kajock. I’m reminded of some stop-motion film I did in seventh grade, oh and I was terrible by the way. Katkin’s overuse of first-person camera angles really got on my nerves too. You know a film is really bad when even the random nudity (of which there wasn’t enough of) doesn’t stop you from checking your watch every 2 minutes. Even worse, the director’s attempt at creating a dramatic plot only managed to bring this movie down further. Bad actors combined with roles that require some depth is a bad idea.

I suppose I ended up watching this movie mainly because of a name that, unfortunately, was not meant to imply our friendly neighborhood scarecrow was running amuck amidst truckloads of horny coeds. Or was it? There was a one-line comment I read on IMDB before seeing SGW that simply read, “Scarecrow at the beach.” I wonder if the movie had a more accurate title would even less people have seen it? It’s doubtful I would have. The sad part about that one-liner is that it’s basically a plot summary. Spoiler warning: if read the following paragraph you will save yourself one and a half hours of your life.

An unpopular, new college student becomes a psychotic scarecrow because of juvenile hazing from a bunch of jocks who promised their coach no hazing would take place. “Break your word, invite the devil,” said the coach. Of course, his sagely advice was completely ignored otherwise we’d have had no movie. The scarecrow goes to the beach and kills everyone except for our hero and heroine, the coach and the hero’s friend. His killing is cut short when the scarecrow fades away because the new kid regains consciousness (they’re connected, don’t you get it?) in an under-construction, yet still fully functional, medical facility. Imagine my surprise when the seemingly happy ending ends up being a rouse. The scarecrow’s spirit (I’ll come back to this) still resides inside the new kid and he kills off our hero’s friend as well as the coach. With worse special effects than a 13-year-old film student could have created given a 5-year-old Macintosh and 30 minutes, our final confrontation leads to the hero becoming a martyr in order to release the evil spirit from his friend.

The whole premise of this movie was that the scarecrow comes to life and kills things when it catches the distraught soul of a nearby victim of tragedy. The movie opened with a summary of the scarecrow legend, which the hazing was based around, that is expanded upon later in the movie by the coach. He tells us that years ago a student was killed during some hazing and buried underneath the scarecrow, which came to life and killed all those involved except the coach who we find out was one of the jocks. Just when the film almost got interesting the coach turned around and entered into a melee with the approaching scarecrow, I should have saw that coming. First off, if the new kid never died how did the scarecrow get his soul? Second, why did the scarecrow stop killing and let the coach live. The coach himself says the scarecrow is eternal and stops at nothing to get revenge. Finally, if the scarecrow has no soul of its own, which we can assume because it needs someone else’s soul to come to life, how the hell does its “spirit” end up entering the kid when he wakes up? And even if that is plausible why does it then wait three weeks to emerge and when doing so grant the boy superhuman strength. Katkin tries to transform the scarecrow from a physical terror into more of a metaphysical demon by the ending, and he really fails miserably.

In short, if your internet is down and the only way you can see a 40-year-old nurse or a 20-year-old coed topless is by watching this movie then go ahead and watch it. But use caution, and only view the necessary scenes otherwise you might become severely enraged and commit heinous acts of off-screen carnage upon your DVD player.

Official Score