One of the most likeable aspects of Scream Factory is that they wear their fandom on their sleeve while doing their work. Their choices of titles show they are true children of the ’80s, a fact reflect in their releases of titles like Terrorvision, Halloween III and Motel Hell. They aren’t afraid to go deep into the recesses of ’80s horror to give an overlooked title some love – and that aspect of the label’s personality is on display in their release of cult gem Scarecrows.
Things start off with a good transfer. It captures the frequent night exterior photography and the muted color palette well, keeping the details nice and crisp. Both 2.0 stereo and 5.1 remix lossless stereo tracks are provided. The 5.1 track was listened to for this review and does a nice job of weaving Terry Plumeri’s creepy score and a few fun directional sound effects through the rear speakers.
Scream Factory has also put in an impressive effort with the extras for this small but cult-beloved title. First up are two commentary tracks. The first pairs director William Wesley and producer Cami Winikoff with moderator Robert Galluzzo. The two filmmakers have plenty of stories to share about the shoot, including some great stories about actor/financier Ted Vernon, some war stories about the physical rigors of the swamp-based shoot (poisonous mosquitos were a particular issue) and the challenges in getting the final cut together. It’s a relaxed, conversational track the gets a nice boost from the rapport between Wesley and Winikoff.
The other track was masterminded by extras producer Michael Felsher and compiles three interviews into a track-length composite. The three subjects are screenwriter Richard Jefferies, cinematographer Peter Deming and composer Terry Plumeri. It’s a full of great stories, including a funny account of how Jefferies got his screenwriting job on this film, Deming discussing the challenges of shooting a horror film and Plumeri going deep into the compositional specifics of how he put together the film’s soundtrack. Felsher keeps them all primed with good questions and gets neat side-stories about their other credits.
Next up are a pair of interview featurettes. The first offers over 16 minutes with FX designer Norman Cabrera. He looks back with fondness at this first gig as a makeup effects professional, which found him learning on the job at age 18. He also provides some interesting details into how he created the scarecrow makeup and the detailed gore FX for a key scene. The other interview is devoted to Ted Vernon, the colorful financier who also acted in the film. He’s genuinely grateful over the film’s following and looks back with great fondness at the production, though he admits to knocking heads with the director sometimes. He also tells a funny story about blowing up a portable toilet(!).
The extras are rounded out by a set of storyboards, a still gallery and a trailer. The storyboards are presented via an animated gallery that runs just under four minutes and they have a fun comic-book style. The still gallery focuses on behind-the-scenes images, including plenty of FX details with a grinning Cabrera nearby. The trailer is a fun rollercoaster of a spot that leans heavily on the film’s unique monsters.
In short, this is another solid Scream Factory release that will please ’80s horror fans. If that’s your horror sweet spot, this a nice, comprehensive release worth picking up.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Scarecrows, click here.