REVIEW: SCARECROWD (2015, Melting Pictures)

Released in 2015, director George Nevada’s debut feature film Scarecrowd (aka The Musk) sees a poor farmer, Tony Maio (Farbrizio Occhipinti), head out to investigate a meteorite which has landed on his farm. Much like Men In Black (1997), curiosity kills the cat as the farmer approaches the meteorite without caution and is contaminated by the radioactive released by the spores turning him into a mutant maniac with a desire to kill.

At first glance you wouldn’t be wrong to think Scarecrowd is a straight-up slasher, but it is actually an interesting combination of different genres with unexpected results. The film occasionally treads down the path of cosmic horror (Lovecraftian), a heavy dose of sci-fi and body-horror but also occasionally throws in some erotic Euro sleaze a la Emmanuelle. However, at the heart of everything is a nostalgic throwback to 70’s & 80’s B-movie horror films with slow moving cat & mouse chase sequences and pulsating music.

Tony Maio disguises himself as a scarecrow to hide his deformities caused by Meteorite exposure and he embarks on a crazy killing rampage to satisfy his growing bloodlust. Scarecrowd turns into a killer scarecrow movie, ramping up the gore and serving an enjoyable throwback to 80’s slashers such as Scarecrows (1988) & Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981). There are plenty of inventive and original killing methods on display, some which are downright hilarious and popcorn worthy.

Much like the 80’s films it takes influence from, Scarecrowd is deliberately over the top and over-acted throughout. I guess this is the part which many critics will have the biggest gripe with but it is intentional and ensures the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is a fun movie and it strives to be entertaining. With Comic book style presentation similar to Creepshow (1982) and graphic violence in the tone of Don’t Go In The Woods (1981), there are some very interesting and well portrayed themes in amongst all the blood squirting and screaming. Vanity and outcast themes are very well written and portrayed.

Scarecrowd is an ambitious film which tries something different and hits the spot. The camera work is superb throughout with great lighting and visuals, switching between neon and Infrared for a trippy viewing experience. The practical effects are brilliant with plenty of moments which will cause your jaw to drop to the floor. The catchy synth soundtrack by Antony Coia is hook driven and holds the atmosphere well for the whole journey.

As a fan of 80’s cult horror I really enjoyed Scarecrowd for its ambition and slapstick style. It managed to tick all the boxes for what makes a throwback film work and it left me wanting to see more.

Score: 4/5

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