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Film / Scarecrows

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Scarecrows is a 1988 horror film.

Following their robbery of the Camp Pendleton payroll, a group of ex-military personnel hijack a plane to bail to Mexico. They end up getting double-crossed by one of their own, who parachutes out of the plane with the money. The rest of the gang gives chase, and they all end up at some cornfields and a farmhouse where an extremely vicious and territorial group of scarecrows are prowling around.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Antagonist Title: The living scarecrows take top billing.
  • Anti-Villain: Corbin is arguably the most considerate of the robbers. When he decides to escape the cornfield, he takes Kellie with him.
    • Jack possibly. He comes off as just someone who's only along because Curry promised that he would be rich and isn't quite as nasty as the others.
  • Asshole Victim: Most of the bank robbers since they also took a pilot and his daughter hostage to get away. Lampshaded by an increasingly insane Curry thinking this situation is damnation for their crime of pulling the robbery. Averted with Corbin.
  • Badass Bandolier: Corbin wears a bandoleer of shells for his combat shotgun, which proves to be the most effective weapon against the scarecrows.
  • Batman Gambit: The scarecrows are very good at luring in potential prey.
    • As Curry starts losing it, Jack radios in to tell him that he's heading back to the farmhouse. This gets Curry to stay put rather than leave with the others.
    • One of the scarecrows lures Kellie in by mimicking the sound of her pet dog. This only fails because Corbin arrived in time.
    • They leave a trail of money to goad any greedy thief into stopping to pick it up. Roxanne falls for it.
  • Betrayal Insurance: A bit of a reversal from the usual pattern. After betraying his teammates and facing being killed, Bert tries to make a deal and says he already hid the money. Of course, a scarecrow finds him before the others do, so it's moot.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Kellie is nearly done in by a scarecrow, but Corbin shoots it. She later returns the favor before they get on the plane.
  • Body Horror: The things the scarecrows end up doing to their victims are not pretty to say the least.
  • Book Ends: The opening credits are interspersed over shots of scarecrows. As the end credits begin, it happens again.
  • Break the Cutie: Kellie constantly suffers throughout the movie: being kidnapped by violent thieves, seeing what became of her father, attacked by killer scarecrows, and reportedly in shock by the time the authorities find her.
  • Cash Lure: The scarecrows often use individual bills on the ground, and in the tree to both lure their victims into an ambush or to mock their greed which lead them to their doom.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: If Bert hadn't double crossed the others and stole the money for himself, then maybe the whole scarecrow situation would have been avoided. (For them at least.)
  • Creepy Crows: At least one can be spotted hanging around.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: One member's corpse is found stuffed with the heist money.
  • Dangerous Deserter: Bert after he tries to parachute out with all the money. The thieves are all ex-military, so they treat him as this. They want the money back, but they also promise to hunt him down and kill him for his betrayal.
  • Dark Is Evil: The film is set entirely at night and the scarecrows are downright horrifying.
    • The robbers are all dressed in black.
  • Dead All Along: Suffering Sanity Slippage, Curry's explanation for all this is that they didn't get away with their robbery; that they were shot down by the military and died. He tries to justify it by noting how the military somehow failed to land any hits, but the others are practically backing away from him.
  • Death by Materialism: Roxanne keeps going after the money even after realizing how dangerous the scarecrows are. Gets her killed brutally.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "I think this place is possessed by demonic demons." Immediately lampshaded.
  • Demonic Possession: Visual cues inside the house in the cornfield imply that the scarecrows were brought to life using unholy rituals. They also convert victims into one of their kind. Bert, Jack, and Al suffer this fate.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: It takes about 22 minutes for Bert to get attacked by a scarecrow and really get this ball rolling.
  • Divide and Conquer: The scarecrows actively try to split up the group in order to pick off members. It mostly works to a tee.
  • Downer Ending: Kellie is the only remaining survivor as the robbers and her father were killed. From the way she screams in the ending, it's clear that the events will haunt her for life.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Possibly. Kellie is alive but reportedly too traumatized to even talk about what happened, while everyone else is dead or turned into scarecrows. However, the news report (which we hear partly over images of scarecrows) mentions the authorities are still looking for the thieves and the money, suggesting they may find their way to the farm one day.
  • Evil Phone: Somehow, the scarecrows can intercept their walkie-talkies and mimic the robber's voices. Scarecrow Jack calls an insane Curry with a clearly-defunct telephone using this power.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The film opens on the hijacked plane in the late afternoon. It is dawn when the final showdown occurs. A news bulletin playing over the closing credits indicates that the plane touched down no more than an hour or so later.
  • Eye Scream: Al the pilot loses an eye when barbed wire is wrapped around his head posthumously.
  • Facial Horror: When Jack returns as a scarecrow, he has no lips.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Jack after becoming a scarecrow.
  • Final Girl: Kellie.
  • Fingore: A zombified Bert has his fingers accidentally bitten off.
    • Roxanne ends up accidentally tearing her fingers off when her hands get impaled into the ground with a pitchfork and she has to yank it free.
  • Gardening-Variety Weapon: One of the scarecrows wields a sickle as its weapon, and another uses a pitchfork.
  • Genius Loci: The farmland itself may be this, or it may be the influence of the scarecrows. When the robbers enter the area, things start to go active, but once they all leave everything suddenly becomes inactive once again as if it's going back to sleep.
  • Greed: All of the thieves are motivated by claiming their spoils, but particular examples are Bert, (who got this whole mess going by wanting it all for himself) and Roxanne (who is absolutely insistent on getting the money despite killer scarecrows hunting them).
  • Grenade Hot Potato: Bert tosses a grenade into the plane when he bails out with the cash. The other robbers scramble for it and pass it from one to another before throwing it out of the plane.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Scarecrow Bert has a sloppily-stitched cut on his torso stuffed with the money that the robbers stole.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Corbin blows up along with Kellie's resurrected father to save Kellie.
  • Immune to Bullets: Despite riddling a torso with tons of bullets, it had to take a neck chop with a machete to incapacitate a resurrected Bert.
  • Indian Burial Ground: The farmhouse with its apparent dark history of black magic, is essentially this.
  • In the Back: Over the radio, one of the thieves tells Bert to turn around so he can have the pleasure of shooting him in the back.
  • Ironic Echo: One of the scarecrows' mind games. They mimic the things that the people on the farm said after killing them in order to freak the remaining living people out.
  • It Won't Turn Off: In an odd inversion of how the trope usually works, Bert steals a truck and drives off in it. When the truck stalls, Bert thinks it has flooded and pops the bonnet. When he looks inside, he discovers that the truck doesn't have an engine.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Curry is going nuts by this point, but he rightfully points out that if Kellie walks off alone, the scarecrows will kill her.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: After seeing what became of her father, Kellie goes back to the thieves. She loathes them, but she recognizes something much worse is out there.
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: At the end of the film, Cigar Chomper Corbin is on the plane and fleeing the farm: the danger seemingly over. He lights a cigar and the flare of his match reveals an undead Al the pilot lurking the shadows over his shoulder.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: The plot takes place at the haunted cornfield because Bert betrays the rest of his team by parachuting off the plane with the stolen cash. The robbers have no choice but to land to get their money back.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: No concrete explanation is offered as to why the scarecrows are alive, though some of the criminals have theories after seeing the remaining pictures and belongings in the farmhouse. It may suggest that the owners were dabbling in black magic, and after they died (or left the area), whatever spells they cast remained on the land.
  • Off with His Head!: The resurrected Bert gets his head sliced off.
  • Oh, Crap!: While on lookout on the roof, Jack suddenly spots a scarecrow through his scope.
  • One-Word Title: Scarecrows
  • Our Zombies Are Different: These are resurrected by a Satanic curse, and are Immune to Bullets but can be killed by explosives. They maintain their intelligence for a brief period after death, and can impersonate the voices of their victims' loved ones.
  • Parachute in a Tree: Bert double-crosses the rest of the gang and bails out of the plane with $3.5 million in stolen loot. However, he misjudges his landing and winds up hanging from a tree with the cash on the ground in the creepy old farm. And that's where his problems really start.
  • Pet the Dog: Roxanne tries to comfort Kellie after they find her father dead understandably she's not receptive though later she is.
  • Rain of Blood: The robbers find a parachute tangled in a tree that they think contains the stolen money. Jack climbs the tree to cut the money down, but when he slices open the chute, it is instead full of blood which drenches Curry on the ground.
  • Rule of Scary: The film is more or less fueled by it since it's never explained how the scarecrows are alive and what their powers are.
  • Sanity Slippage: Curry loses it, aided no doubt by the scarecrows playing mind games with him.
  • Sinister Scythe: One of the scarecrows wields a sickle as its personal weapon.
  • Skewed Priorities: As their problems get worse, Curry is content to try waiting in the house in the hopes the scarecrows will retreat from the daylight. Roxanne still wants to risk finding the lost money, and he calls her on this.
  • Taking You with Me: During the final battle, a mortally wounded Corbin pulls the pin on a grenade and bearhugs one of the undead; blowing both of them up.
  • Technopath: The scarecrows seem to have this, given the above mentioned influence of the phones and walkie-talkies, and apparent control of the farm's generator. Also, one of their mind games is allowing Bert to briefly make a break for it in a truck, only for him to find after it breaks down that it doesn't even have an engine.
  • Token Good Teammate: Of the thieves, Jack comes across as very friendly towards his comrades and offers Kellie some food. Also, Corbin is actively protecting Kellie rather than simply trying to save himself, even telling her to run when the scarecrows corner him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kellie is willing to take her chances alone in the dark on the grounds that she's not one of the thieves and did nothing to offend the scarecrows. This is after seeing what became of her father, so Curry is right to tell her what a bad idea that is.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bert ripping off his fellow thieves causes them to touch down and head into this creepy farm.
  • Villain Protagonist: The majority of the characters with the exception of Kellie and her dad are bank robbers who kidnapped the two because they needed a plane. (Plus they killed at least five MPs and wounded several others.) Some of the robbers have Anti-Villain shades, others don't.
  • Voice Changeling: The scarecrows can imitate the friends of their potential victims to lure them into ambushes, mostly over the radio.