STREAM QUEEN: a killer harvest season

From scarecrows to masked Halloween killers, I’m always up for a marathon of movies celebrating my favorite time of year, and this one gave me a few to add to the complete holiday horror list. But are these four worth watching?

CARVER (2015)

This little indie is your basic Halloween party slasher with a fun holiday setup. It all begins when an unfriendly competition between kids entering a pumpkin carving competition ends in tragedy.

Gets my vote for a cool way to start a Halloween slasher.

15 years later, a bunch of teens is preparing for a Halloween party. But beforehand, they each find a carved pumpkin on their steps.

Soon, they begin to suspect the impossible…someone is back for revenge. That doesn’t stop them from having the party anyway!

It’s your typical formula as kids are slashed left and right, but certain things standout. There’s a virtual clone of Laurie’s piano theme from Halloween whenever a girl is walking alone. There’s a high body count. The killer is a festive pumpkin head grim reaper.

Every kill consists of a slash of one part of the body that results in a geyser of blood. There’s a funny dance montage at the party. The boys in the group are adorable.

And finally, there’s quite an indulgent back story by the killer at the end of the film.

THE HARVESTERS (2017)

I feel like I can’t really give an opinion about this film as a horror movie, because it just doesn’t feel like one to me. Instead of thrills and chills, it’s mostly an investigation drama with way too much talking.

A reporter who returns to her hometown on Halloween ends up embroiled in a series of missing person cases.

Starting with the opener, there are a few creepy moments that could have set the tone for a horror film with some great scares.

Unfortunately, the movie opts not to focus on the evil that has come to town or on the victims being terrorized, but instead on the people affected by the disappearances.

It just didn’t hold my attention, which isn’t surprising considering a masked figure doesn’t appear until 65 minutes in.

The highlight for me was delicious Adam Hampton of Gremlin. His flavor knows no bounds.

SCARECROWS (2017)

This one delivers a somewhat original concept in the realm of scarecrow movies…although it does sort of remind me of the film Husk.

It begins with two guys and two girls looking for a watering hole near a cornfield. It’s subtly silly as they go on their journey, the kids add to the charm, the movie is obsessed with blow jobs, and the hot boy shows off his ass.

It’s so refreshing to see a horror movie mimicking the days of over-sexed slashers.

Prepare for a shift in tone halfway through the film. Suddenly, it becomes all chases and torture porn!

The kids are soon divided, conquered, and dragged to the lair of a farmer with a scythe.

While the torture isn’t excessively graphic, the screams of the kids fill in the blanks viciously.

Plus, the final girl gets a long, suspenseful, and atmospheric chase through the cornfield. I was definitely entertained throughout.

CURSE OF THE SCARECROW (2018)

Sometimes an indie director gets a chain of projects going that intrigues me, even if there’s nothing groundbreaking presented. That’s the case with Louisa Warren, who delivers another basic scarecrow slasher, but has a series of follow-ups on the way—including crossovers of her own series.

The legend of the scarecrow presented at the beginning of this film is fun because it taps into an old school gothic story vibe, even if the plot takes place in present day.

A young woman who is convinced she saw her parents slaughtered by a scarecrow as a child is brought back to the farm where it happened by her therapist for a session that, well…goes horribly wrong.

Naturally the plot is an excuse to have young people running around a barn being chased by a killer scarecrow, and that’s fine with me. The kills are the best part, because the plot isn’t particularly engrossing, and there’s nothing to really love about the characters. They’re just sort of there because movies need characters.

The kills are effective, delivering chills, suspense, atmosphere, eerie music, and chases. Just don’t expect any blood. This is not a gore flick at all. But despite its drawbacks, I still want to check out the upcoming movies in the series.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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