There is some typical scarecrow slashing to be had in this trio of films I checked out on Prime and Tubi, but each one definitely has its own unique aspects, including a taxidermy cult, Amityville, and a gay spin!
What a relief to stumble upon something so refreshingly different than all the cookie cutter horror that hits the mainstream these days. C.O.R.N. is the kind of out there stuff that leaves commenters online saying generic shit like “worst movie ever”.
The movie reminds me of the kind of anything goes horror of the late 80s that was too absurd to comprehend if you took the time to actually think about it. Back then we didn’t want to think about it. We just wanted an experience that fucked us up by forcing the main characters into trippy, weird situations from which there seemed to be no escape.
The opening scene has perfect horror atmosphere as some girls have fun in a haunted maze at night…before one is dragged down to a lair to get a little scarecrow treatment.
Next we meet a teen brother and sister traveling with a family friend through a rural area when their car breaks down. The family friend tells them to wait in the car while he walks back to the nearest town for help.
Once alone, the siblings immediately get out and enter a nearby cornfield. The boy makes lots of scarecrow jokes. They encounter and befriend another teen.
It’s not Christmas, but do you see what I see?
They go to a party where the kids seem way too cool to live in the middle of bumfuck. Not trying to be a jerk here, but are there actually trendy kids in bumfuck? Hell, there’s even a Black girl. Are there Black people in bumfuck?
Not for long, because of course the Black girl is the first to get snatched when they all go to the haunted maze together.
The movie wanders into head-scratching territory when the main kids stay overnight, and we can’t help but wonder what happened to their M.I.A. family friend. Next day, they go out to party again and walk right into the thick of the plot—a secret society of “taxidermists”. Yay! And…eek!
It’s almost like backwoods horror with sophisticated folk running the show instead of inbreeds as the kids try to uncrash this horror party.
I kind of adored the film, even if there is a little slowdown in the middle that could have been tightened up to help with temporary pacing issues.
AMITYVILLE SCARECROW (2021)
There are so many scarecrow slashers out there, do these indie filmmakers really think they need to slap the name Amityville on their title to garner an audience?
I totally watched this movie because it had the word Amityville in the title.
Okay, so there’s more to it than that. I love watching bogus “Amityville” movies to see how much of an effort they make to in any way connect the story to the Amityville canon. I also love me some scarecrow slashers.
I can now say the endless efforts to make this simple, fun slasher an Amityville movie is a distraction, especially for someone like me who grew up in the U.S. on Long Island where Amityville is located, yet half the actors in this Amityville film have British accents. Yeah, they weave that into their Amityville backstory, but it was too much of a stretch.
Anyway, the opener sets the scene, with a couple having sex in a conveniently located trailer home in a cornfield at night, only to be mistaken for crows by a creepy scarecrow with a scythe. However, this is like a PG-13 slasher, so there’s nothing in the way of gore. But there is a nice beefy man bod.
Then two estranged sisters arrive with their families. Various conversations give us an Amityville backstory that flirts with aspects of the DeFeo case while changing the name, then breaks off into how the property was sold and is now owned by these two sisters. One wants to sell it because she doesn’t want to have anything to do with the other sister, who wants to bury the hatchet and work together to do something productive with the land.
There’s even some talk around a campfire about the stories of the Amityville evil escaping and how it could jump into objects like toys. It’s always nice to see these Amityville movies relying on the Amityville: The Evil Escapes book from decades ago to justify their movies. Author John G. Jones deserves major royalties.
Anyway, none of it matters. The scarecrow comes to life and starts going after the family. It’s all in the darkness of night, and it’s all about bringing the families back together to fight for their lives. The best part for me is when the scarecrow busts into the trailer home and the sisters start beating it up with pots and pans.
SCARECROW COUNTY (2019)
If you don’t like indie films without high production value or professional actors, you might as well just steer clear of this little scarecrow slasher. However, it gives us something we don’t get every day in scarecrow slashers—a gay scarecrow killer! Yes!
Indeed, Scarecrow County gets an honorary spot on the homo horror movies page.
As rough as it is around the edges, for a simple scarecrow slasher that runs a lean 75 minutes long, the film explores the challenges of small town life for those who are different, and how the privileged “ruling class” stays in power and protects its own. I’m pretty sure if this were a polished project that had a bunch of money thrown at it for production, it would be getting a whole lot of recognition for its social themes.
There are two very edgy sisters, neither conforming to the usual standards of femininity, which is cool. One works at a library, the other is agoraphobic and just stays inside drawing comics of a gothic character that talks to her. She also has a very Lena Dunham vibe going on.
When a woman cleaning out her family home drops off some books to donate, a drunk guy in the library makes reference to her deceased gay brother and she isn’t very happy. Uh-oh.
The library girl then finds the brother’s diary in the box of books and begins reading it.
Meanwhile, the scarecrow starts killing people off left and right. Wahoo! The kills are standard and there’s no gore, but the setup shots, atmosphere and lighting are perfectly 1980s horror in style, especially closer to the end of the film.
The denouement is a funny little surprise, if not a little cheesy in how it’s presented. In fact, it’s quite campy, which is sort of apropos in an indie horror movie about a gay killer scarecrow.
The most confusing part of the film for me is that although no holiday is referenced as far as I can recall and it is about a scarecrow, which immediately puts me in the autumn mindset, near the end of the film the agoraphobic sister opens her door and there are Christmas decorations adorning the front of her house! What the heck? Maybe she was just too afraid to go outside to remove them the previous December?