*. It’s a given that most horror franchises go downhill, and go downhill fast. You can probably count the exceptions to this rule with the fingers on one hand. But most of them do, at least, get off to a somewhat promising start. The first Friday the 13th was OK. The Children of the Corn movies were a long tail of trash, but the original wasn’t bad. The first Leprechaun wasn’t . . . terrible.
*. There have been, as of this writing, three Scarecrow movies (this one was followed quickly by Scarecrow Slayer and Scarecrow Gone Wild), qualifying it as a mini-franchise. This is the first, and it is terrible. When a franchise starts off at the level of the later Children of the Corn entries then you have to wonder why they’re even bothering.
*. The opening credits take a long time to run through, as they throw everyone’s name up there. This establishes what will be a pattern. Despite being a short film (under 90 minutes) there is a lot of filler, from musical cues to cutaways of clouds. Among the many names that get splashed on screen someone may recognize Tiffany Shepis as the last girl. She’s a bit of a scream queen in these low-budget thrillers. The only other name that stuck out, because it comes up three times (for visual effects, make-up, and second unit director), was Anthony C. Ferrante. He’s the guy behind the Sharknado franchise, which he moved on to ten years after this. That’s right, he went on to Sharknado, which was a step up.
*. The story here has a high school loser named Lester who gets killed by the redneck jerk who’s banging his trailer-trash mom. Somehow Lester’s soul transfers into a scarecrow, which then comes to life and starts killing people off in ways that are very quick and uninteresting.
*. The only thing I liked is the appearance of the Scarecrow himself. He does look good. But he has a stupid voice when he probably shouldn’t have been talking at all (he doesn’t in the next movie) and he delivers a lot of stupid lines. When he kills Lester’s mean teacher he says “How’s that for a pop quiz?” When he kills someone else with a shovel he says “Can you dig it?” I don’t think this is supposed to be clever, but rather to make us laugh at how dumb it is.
*. Another aspect of the Scarecrow I couldn’t quite figure out is his penchant for doing gymnastic leaps and somersaults every chance he gets. At one point he even does a whole tumbling roll down the street. I’m not sure why, since this doesn’t strike me as something scarecrows are known for, or that Lester might have been practicing in his spare time. I guess it livens things up a bit though.
*. Well, it was apparently shot in eight days and couldn’t have cost very much. I don’t think there’s much to say about it other than to acknowledge the fact that it exists.