A few days ago, I spent a few quality hours with my child at the playground. Nearby, a kindergarten caught our attention due to its well-kept community garden. Dozens of crops were scattered in the garden yard, with fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and more, the work of the children and the garden staff. Amongst all this greenery, we saw a happy-looking scarecrow figure with cellophane decorations, a clown wig, and a smiling face. “Dad, what is it?” asked the girl. “It’s called a scarecrow. It’s supposed to scare birds,” I said in the authoritative voice of someone trying to be an expert on subjects he doesn’t know.
But the truth is that I needed to figure out how exactly this improvised scarecrow, which the children probably made during the creative time in kindergarten, would be able to do this job. “Maximum, he could give the birds a birthday party,” I said in a thoughtful voice, taking one last look at this not so scary scarecrow, ready to swear he was laughing at me.
Where Are All The Scarecrows Gone?
Outside the world of fictional horror dolls, there aren’t many dolls whose job is to scare. Scarecrow, however, does fulfill this condition. For those unfamiliar with agricultural fields and gardens, this large doll is supposed to scare away birds, crows, and other pests. The hope is that the doll’s appearance is enough to accomplish this task, but it seems it needs to be done more nowadays. The birds in the smartphone age are intelligent; they can get used to a scarecrow very quickly and understand that he is not threatening, so they can understand the part after a few days and ignore the scarecrow. There are different scary scarecrows ideas to maintain the scare effect for a more extended period; for example, scarecrows that make sounds, hold explosives that explode from time to time or are covered with films to create a movement effect that can create a more convincing figure. Today there are more common methods for keeping flying pests away, for example, crow figures or pigeons, spikes, electronic means, and more.
This sums up my information on keeping pigeons and flying pests away. We came here to talk about horror. Seemingly, in a character whose goal is to scare, with a lot of potential for cool and terrifying designs, some question arises: why exactly aren’t too many successful horror movies about scarecrows, or good scary scarecrows? And what scarecrow horror scenes have nevertheless been etched in our memory?
The World’s Famous Scarecrow Can Become Scary
Even those who are not actual movie buffs can point to some famous scarecrows, even if they are not necessarily scary. The straw man, who only wanted brains, is one of the characters most associated with “The Wizard of Oz.” Many do not know, but this is a series whose plots are much broader than the story we all know, and at the end, Dorothy and Toto return home. In the wide world of “The Wizard of Oz,” in his ten books, the scarecrow in his bright version becomes the governor of the city of Emerald and later also the Silver Island. There is also one book that only tells the stories of the scarecrow, which we must remember – he was a favorite of Dorothy’s heart.
If you recognize the potential for a horror film here, inspired by the wave of scary versions of fairy tales and familiar stories we have witnessed in recent years, it is no accident. The horror twist of “The Wizard of Oz” will also be reflected in the independent film “Gale – Stay Away From Oz”, whose trailer was released a few months ago. From the little we know till now, the film will deal with Dorothy’s granddaughter, who tries to investigate her grandmother’s past and realizes that something unnatural remains from the visit to the Land of Oz. There are some menacing Scarecrow pranks in the trailer, so it’s possible that scary scarecrows will be one of the horrors we’ll be dealing with in the film.
Scary Scarecrows From Books And Comics
A Childhood Memory: Goosebumps The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight
Outside the horror world, you’ll find some familiar scary scarecrow characters. I grew up on R. L. Stein’s “Goosebumps” books, and to this day, you can find several books from the series that I was addicted to during my childhood in my mother’s house, which we have since used as a storage-for-things-from-childhood-that-we-don’t-have-anywhere-to-put-but-neither-we-have-no-place-else-for-it.
One of the books I remember more from the series is “The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight,” maybe because of the cover, which immensely scared me at the time. Decades have passed since then, and chilling books are naturally quite hard to find in today’s stores. However, I still remember the main plot here: two children who visit their grandparents discover that they are behaving strangely (who knows, maybe this is where Father M. Night Shyamalan got the inspiration for “The visit”?) and especially horrified to discover that the scarecrows on the farm come to life at night.
Today it may be childish, even silly, but it did the work back then.
The Scarecrow Batman Comic
Unsurprisingly, the comic book world’s two biggest rivals, DC and Marvel, are introducing their scarecrows. In the “Batman” cinematic universe, the scarecrow is one of the greatest supervillains.
The scarecrow is the alter ego of a psychiatrist named Professor Jonathan Crane tries to explore his opponent’s fears and activate them in various ways based on many drugs and toxins. He uses this scary scarecrow mask to intensify the frightening effect created by drugs and also to prevent a situation in which he will be affected by them.
Even those not exposed to comic books must have been impressed by the creepy character played by Cillian Murphy in Christopher Nolan’s excellent trilogy.
And What About Marvel Scarecrow?
In the Marvel Universe, you’ll find other scarecrows. Marvel Scarecrow was one of the main adversaries of well-known characters in this super popular cinematic universe, for example, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Iron Man. Even in the world of “The Dark Knight,” “Doctor Strange, and others, there is a presence of “A Wicker Man.” However, it is more of a magical entity – a prison where they put people to be burned while alive – and not another ultimate villain character.
Speaking of straw men and horror films – it is impossible not to recommend the Scottish cult film “The Wicker Man” from 1973, in the center of which is a policeman (Christopher Lee, “Dracula”) who arrives on a Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a girl, and discovers a long line of cults and murderous rituals taking place there. In 2006, another version of the film was released, starring Nicolas Cage and Alan Burstyn. This version was so terrible that the original film director asked that it not be considered a remake.
Burning the nest man is an integral part of mass festivals, for example – of course – Burning Man Festival. You can find various references to the wicker man in culture, such as a song by Iron Maiden dedicated to him and Radiohead’s music video for Burn The Witch, which shows the story of the wicker man in stop-motion animation.
And you should never miss an opportunity to share a Radiohead song:
Horror Movies About Scarecrows
Are you looking for a horror movie where the main villain is a scary scarecrow? You can find quite a few such films, but from our impression, it is primarily B-movies whose quality is problematic, to say the least. In 2007, “The Messengers” was released, starring Kirsten Stewart, and was a great success with revenues of approximately 55 million dollars worldwide.
What many need to learn is that the script for this movie was supposed to feature a rancher who puts up a scarecrow and very quickly discovers that people around him are starting to die. Ultimately, the script was changed entirely, and the story with the scarecrow became the sequel, or the prequel: “Messengers 2 – The Scarecrow” from 2009. It was no longer commercially screened, perhaps because it had a low budget, didn’t include any well-known actors, and received terrible reviews. But hey, at least there was a scary scarecrow here.
Scarecrows were the main villains and the source of evil in several other horror films, including:
Dark Night Of The Scarecrow (1981)
A group of brats attacks and kills An elderly and mentally challenged man disguised as a scarecrow. They try to get out of the crime they committed and are pretty successful until a scarecrow who’s dressed the same starts murdering them.
Here, the “heroes” are mercenaries who hijack a plane and have to make an emergency landing in a cornfield. In the field, you guessed it, monstrous scarecrows await them.
Night of the Scarecrow (1995)
A story centered around foolish teenagers who accidentally release the spirit of a deceased wizard. The magician enters the scarecrow and begins a murderous journey of the descendants of those who caused his death in what seems like a somewhat scarecrow version of “Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Dark Harvest (2004)
According to IMDB, the writer of these lines is on the exclusive list of fewer than 1,000 people who have seen and rated this terrible film. Once again, a scarecrow decides to murder the family members, whose only sin (seemingly) is that they inherited the farm where he lives. Our sin is that we sat down to watch this movie.
Five friends go on a camping trip, but a flock of crows (how surprising) hits their car, and they find shelter in an abandoned farm. Or not so abandoned because it turns out that murderous and scary scarecrows inhabit it.
Remember Lacey Chabert from “Party Of Five” and “Mean Girls,” who was quite a sex symbol in the early 2000s? So it turns out that in 2013 she starred in a sleazy horror movie that looks pretty bad but has the potential to be one of those bad movies that are fun. The story is about six students in detention before the municipal scarecrow festival. They encounter some scarecrow entity.
If It’s Looks Like A Scarecrow, It Can Be Something Else
Along with this, you will find some more familiar characters that resemble a scarecrow or at least are some version of a scary scarecrow. If you’ve seen Jeepers Creepers – and we mainly mean the impressive first film and not the mediocre sequel, the bad third film, and the terrible and terrible fourth film that you should never watch – you probably know that the creeper is a mysterious creature. In some scenes, this is a monstrous, flying demon who pretends to be a scarecrow. Here is a memorable Jeepers Creepers scarecrow scene, even if not very successful, from the second film in the series in which he attacks a family in a field:
Trick R Treat is a 2008 anthology horror film that has since gained something of a cult status. The character that connects the stories
It is that of Sam, a kind of boy with orange pajamas and a jute sack on his head who punishes people who do not observe the holiday customs. Although we don’t recall referring to the character as a scarecrow but rather a demon, there is no doubt that his design (which is a source of not only fantastic costumes but also dolls and other merchandise) is primarily influenced by scarecrows.
Memorable Scenes Of Scary Scarecrows
The good thing is you don't have to make whole horror movies about scarecrows to create some good scares. A Few scenes can be enough:
Annabelle Creation Scarecrow Scene
Continuing with the cinematic universe of "The Conjuring." One of the most vital points of the most successful horror franchise of all time is its ability to build creepy, supporting mini villains. Sometimes it ends in a spin-off or thoughts about such, and sometimes - in "just" a scene that manages to be very effective. We mean, of course, the compelling and quite surprising scarecrow scene in the movie "Annabelle: Creation," which, in our opinion, is one of the most successful in this very well-made film.
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Harold The Scarecrow Scene
We continue with "Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark" from 2009. The beloved film is a horror anthology, combining several short stories with a connecting line. The first short story centers on Harold, an oversized scarecrow with long hair and stitches on his face and body. Harold wears a long-sleeved plaid button-down shirt and jeans, but those clothes will only stay on him for a little while longer.
After Harold The Scarecrow chases after poor Tommy (one of the family members in her house he lives) and kills him, we find out what happened to Tommy. Without giving away too many spoilers, we'll say that he's gone, and Harold the Scarecrow is now wearing his clothes.
Pearl - Dancing (And Much More) With A Scarecrow
The excellent "Pearl," with an even more excellent Mia Goth, can easily be seen as a horror version of "The Wizard of Oz," with direct or indirect references to each of the main characters. One of the most memorable and quoted scenes is when Pearl bursts into a sensual dance with a scary scarecrow and even performs sexual acts with him. There were actors for whom such a dance would have been enough to win an Oscar nomination, but since this is a horror film, it didn't happen.
So will we see more scarecrow movies, or at least characters that scare birds, crows, and horror movie lovers? Not sure, as it befits a doll disappearing from our world. Until that happens, we hope that in the next kindergarten we visit, there will be toddlers who have already been exposed to horror movies and will be able to design realy scary scarecrows. That's what they're supposed to learn in kindergarten, isn't it?