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Peer J. Oppenheimer
David Anthony Smith
A group of drunk teenagers accidently set free the spirit of a warlock, which possesses a scarecrow. The scarecrow goes on a bloody rampage killing the descendents of the men who had killed the warlock a century before. A newcomer and the daughter of the mayor try to stop it before it is too late and the warlock can reincarnate... Written by
Parca Mortem <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Overlooked Slasher Film, Better Than You Would Expect
A group of drunk teenagers accidentally set free the spirit of a warlock, which possesses a scarecrow and terrorizes the small farming community of Hanford.
Mike Mayo says the film "is nicely photographed with a few bloody good touches". I think this is pretty spot on. The movie really does look pretty sharp, particularly for an independent film, and the gore is respectable. Any horror fan should eat it right up. The special effects, for the most part, were above and beyond what you might expect.
Lead actress Elizabeth Barondes was likable. I do not recall ever seeing her in anything else (although she did the remake of "Not of This Earth" the same year), but she deserved to be a bigger star. Apparently too late now, as she has moved on to become an interior designer. The rest of the cast is good, too, and fans of "Dodgeball" or "Office Space" will appreciate Stephen Root in the role of a sheriff.
Of particular interest to me was the "orgy" scene. Filmed in crisp sepia, with plenty of throbbing and corpulent flesh. These are not all beautiful people, but they are animalistic, and I think director Jeff Burr really did himself a favor by including this scene, pushing the boundaries of the film just a bit further.
Burr, in general, deserves respect. Sadly, this film is probably overshadowed by the similarly named "Dark Night of the Scarecrow". But they are both good films and have their own sensibilities. This one is much darker, much more gory. Burr's career is one horror sequel after another, which he does fine at, but his best work shines through in his original pieces like this one and "From a Whisper to a Scream".
As of 2012, Olive Films has finally released this movie on to DVD and Blu-Ray for the first time. I have not seen their version, but I hope it is cleaned up nice and has a special feature or two. The Netflix streaming version is full frame and somewhat fuzzy, suggesting a VHS transfer. I know this film does not have the fan following of other mid-1990s horror films, but perhaps with the Netflix exposure more people will push the right people to give this film a decent release.
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