This is the old story of five dope-smoking screwups in a convertible who go into the woods to party and become squirrel meat. First the car breaks down. (Shades of "Texas Chain Saw Massacre"). Then they decide to walk across the spooky cornfield. (Shades of "Children of the Corn"). Then they're startled by a larger-than-life scarecrow. (Shades of "Pumpkinhead.") Then they decide to roast weenies and listen to excruciatingly off-key love songs composed by the hunky Eric. (Shades of every slasher flick made in the eighties.) And finally Eric gets in a fight with the nerdy Floyd, Floyd slinks off into the cornfield and dies, and when they find his body, there's only one thing to do:
Stuff it inside the scarecrow so nobody will know.
And, oh yeah, one more thing: hollow out a giant pumpkin and put it over his head. The cops will never expect that one.
Pretty soon we've got fairly predictable Spam-in-a-cabin, with the ax-wielding Floyd picking them off one by one with some kind of goofy European disco music welded onto the soundtrack like an annoying appendage.
Writer/director Steve Galler got a good-looking cast together, but the acting is so ragged you don't always know what's going on. He spent about 200 bucks on the actual scarecrow monster. Then he framed the whole thing with a couple of cops back in the city trying to piece together what happened from a tape that the girl who organized the outing left behind. Mostly the cops argue with each other about the "manpower shortage" that prevents them from doing their jobs.
It does, however, satisfy the first rule of drive-in moviemaking: Anyone can die at any moment.
Good enough for a third feature on a Tuesday night.
Five dead bodies.
One high-rise death plunge.
One whupass fight.
Scarecrow electrocution, with exploding head.
Multiple ax to the stomach.
Ax through the cab of a pickup.
Exploding house, with fireball.
Gratuitous weenie-roasting, with a love song that would make any demonic cornfield seek revenge.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Tracey Rankin, as the lead porkchop who says "The cornfield protects those who protect it";
Michael Upmalis, as the orphan misfit who tells the creepy stories about the dead farmer;
Doug Miller, as the whiny bully Eric, for screaming "It wasn't my fault!" and destroying the car battery;
Lee Ann Simms, as the supporting porkchop, who screams "We forgot the guitar!" in the middle of the escape;
Tim Vince, as the jaded cop who says "Save the speeches for the cadets at the academy, Jones!";
and Joe Parro, as the sensitive detective in a nifty suit who says "Stuff it, Hammond, or else!"
One and a half stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
© Copyright 2001 United Press International and Joe Bob Briggs
"Psycho Scarecrow" is available on video