Scarecrow Slayer (2003)
By: Captain Red Eye on August 15, 2009  | 
DVD
Flashback Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 87 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: David Michael Latt
Starring: Tony Todd, Todd Rex
Screenplay: David Michael Latt
Country: USA
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
I recently laid out two dollars of my hard-earned for the promisingly titled Scarecrow Slayer, knowing full well it was courtesy of The Asylum and, furthermore, that the triumphs of modern cinema are generally not found in the bargain bins of discount variety gift emporiums. In my defence the film features some extremely effective cover art, the pictures on the reverse seemed menacing enough and the first line of the blurb reads 'While attempting to steal a creepy scarecrow from a farmer's field, Dave is shot and his soul is captured by the scarecrow, which quickly begins a murderous rampage...' Now who on earth could read that without wanting to watch the film in its entirety? For my part I simply had to find out how exactly the fiend came to possess the soul of the murdered fellow, what evil could possibly motivate a scarecrow to commit a mindless killing spree, how on earth such a monstrosity came to befoul an idyllic farming community in the first place, and so on. Sadly few of these questions were addressed satisfactorily (if you're too close to a scarecrow when you die then it can take your soul, but why? Why?!?), but this is perhaps of minor concern when discussing a film which one reviewer described as 'worthless... the worst movie I've seen in a long time.'

The Asylum, for those unfamiliar with the name, touts itself as being the largest independent film production company in America, once boasting that it could produce a full-length feature 'every three to four weeks.' Predominantly known for their 'tie-ins' (ie. rip-offs) of Hollywood blockbusters, they also aren't above the odd audacious marketing strategy. In 2007, for instance, they released a film about mechanoid invaders only two days before the North American release of Transformers. The title of The Asylum's effort? Transmorphers. Other releases include The Day the Earth Stopped and Snakes on a Train. A further claim made by director and founder David Michael Latt is that no Asylum film has ever failed to recoup its budget, usually around the $250,000 - $500,000 mark. This stubborn emphasis on speed and cost-effectiveness over quality has never been more evident than on Scarecrow Slayer.

Whilst maintaining a small, profitable production company in an industry renowned for its ruthlessness and massive losses is admirable, it's no secret that the myriad deficiencies present in The Asylum's releases do have a tendency of alienating even ardent fans of the B-movie horror genre. Sticklers for cogent narrative, competent acting, convincing special effects and an absence of mediocrity, for instance, may need to be restrained from gouging their own eyes out with a stick upon viewing Scarecrow Slayer.

That being said, the film is not without its (highly relative) merits. Candyman's Tony Todd puts in an enjoyable performance as the grief-stricken farmer struggling to come to terms with the death of his father at the evil scarecrow's hands, and the rest of the cast display varying degrees of ineptitude that will astonish and amuse all but the most hardened watcher of low-budget horror curios. The special effects are the most hilariously amateurish ever committed to DVD, and the cavalcade of plot inconsistencies quickly become irrelevant in a film where the head doctor of the world's emptiest hospital wanders around eating cookies, and the sole nurse is too busy reading to notice a scythe-wielding scarecrow wreaking havoc on her ward. Those capable of revelling in the film's shortfalls, however, may find this shambolic, wonderfully woeful addition to the ever-expanding Asylum oeuvre to be well worth their pocket change.
Video
Presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio and shot in digital, the picture quality is very good. Incidentally this is probably the only unqualified compliment one is capable of paying this film.
Audio
One English Dolby track, which is perfectly respectable. No further audio options on disc.
Extra Features
Nope. All that's on offer here is Scene Selection.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Probably worth spending two dollars on, unless you rigidly insist on some measure of quality in your viewing choices. For what it's worth I happened to quite enjoy this tat, though I probably won't be racing out in search of the sequel, Scarecrow Gone Wild, in which the straw-filled villain (presumably) travels to Spring Break in order to bare his breasts and do tequila slammers. Not a film that will take pride of place on many people's mantelpieces, but not so appallingly devoid of shonk value that it need be hidden at the bottom of the coal scuttle either.

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