Dave and Karl are two friends looking to join a fraternity and are given the initiation task of stealing a scarecrow from a nearby farm in order to join. However, when the farmer finds the friends moving the scarecrow, he shoots and kills Dave. But he doesn’t die and his soul is transferred into the scarecrow, bringing it to life. The scarecrow then sets about killing anyone who gets in the way of his quest to turn his former girlfriend into a fellow scarecrow so that they can be together forever.
Sequel in name only, Scarecrow Slayer is just as bad, if not worse in some respects, as the original and even the presence of legendary horror actor Tony Todd can’t save this one from the farmer’s bonfire. I’m not sure who deemed Scarecrow sequel-worthy – certainly the title character had potential to be scary if he hadn’t been totally the opposite by opening his mouth and spouting one-liners and doing all of those silly back flips and combos that he did in the original. Well he’s sort-of back in this one, be it a different scarecrow, and at least the kick ass cover art returns, easily the only part where a bit of talent was noted in the whole production (Todd aside).
Some films just don’t click right from the start and once the credits have rolled and the main story begins, you just know that Scarecrow Slayer is going to be one of those films. Fair enough there are the sub-plots about the college initiation and the story about the scarecrow killing Caleb’s father which kick us off. If only these sub-plots had been dragged out a little more and allowed to run separately for a little longer (or even if Todd was allowed to make more than an extended cameo), then maybe the scarecrow coming alive and killing everyone would have a little more impact. As it stands, these two mildly interesting sub-plots converge too quickly and the scarecrow is unleashed.
The revenge mission that the scarecrow sets out upon is wound up far too quickly and then what is left is a below-par slasher flick with a killer scarecrow slicing up his former friends. What made him so bitter and twisted towards them, since he was supposed to be a ‘good guy’ before he was shot dead? Why kill his best friend and his girlfriend’s mates? If he loves his girlfriend that much, why bother turning her into a scarecrow? It’s almost as if he’s killing people simply because he’s meant to be a killer scarecrow, not a friendly scarecrow. I can’t see any other reason behind it.
Thankfully, the acting across the board (Todd being the exception) is as abysmal as one would expect so when the scarecrow does kill off a few of the characters, you feel like it’s a mercy killing. The gore factor seems to have been toned down from the first flick too, with some cheesy-looking CGI gore moments substituting badly for true make-up effects (though some of the kills are a bit more elaborate overall). Even the scarecrow seems to have been photoshopped in to some scenes via some bad computer animation. He attacks a lot during the day too, totally ruining any sort of suspense or scares that a semi-lit scarecrow might have created in the dark, turning the character into something of a lost party-goer on his way to a fancy dress ball.
I’m still not sure why Tony Todd is in this. Granted he’s hardly the most famous actor in the world and would find more mainstream roles harder to come by. But….that voice! He’s got one of the most commanding, sinister voices I’ve ever heard from an actor so it’s a shame he’s so underused in cinema in general. But back on topic…..why? What did he do to deserve this? Is the family going hungry? Did the producer have incriminating photos of Tony? Did he sign the contract drunk? It’s a baffling choice but by default, Todd is the single best thing about the film. Even in his short role, he manages to lift the material way, way higher than it deserves to be (before it crashes down with a thud after his exit).
I think the worst thing about Scarecrow Slayer, and something that I’ve only found out since watching, is that it was made by The Asylum. You know – the ‘mega-monster’ specialists who bring the world ‘mockbusters’ for a fraction of the talent and budget of Hollywood blockbusters. Even when they’re not ripping off big blockbusters with rubbish like this, their low production values and general lack of interest in making decent films is evident.
Scarecrow Slayer is worse than the original but better in some respects i.e. the fact it had Tony Todd in it. I hear that they’re making another couple of sequels to this dire series. Move over Leprechaun because a new “worst franchise ever” has seemingly stepped in your first place spot.