With Hellowe'en passed, and cursed comics tossed out, it's time for a new month and a new 13th.
This time it's something we get to go to a proper scary place...Rural Canada! Oooo!
Well it's scary if your scared of not having cellphone reception...Is that still an issue out there? Probably not going to be as friendly as in Little Mosque On The Prairie.
So let's get into Friday the 13th the Series once again...
,,,and the "Scarecrow".
And the title says it all. The team are out this time in search of a cursed scarecrow,
|"Yeah, I give the Scarecrow nightmares."|
The episode follows on from what we were seeing in "Tales of the Undead", where Jack was out of town, so it focuses on Micki and Ryan. This time Micki and Ryan are the ones out of town, and chasing down an item. Granted they explain that Jack is away chasing down a cursed feather in some exotic local. (Or, a place they could never afford to show on the show's budget.)
The search takes them out on a road trip. And that's a nice change of setting. It may have been awkward to take Jason Voorhees out of the woods and put him in New York, but taking these guys out of the city and putting them into the woods makes good watching.
Ryan had a good idea, and sent out mailers to try and get people around the country to contact them about the cursed items. They get one response about a scarecrow. It's in a small town called Riverdale. I expect to see Archie.
|Signed: Dorthy Gale|
The town isn't all hot rods and...I'll just get off the Archie kick, seeing as some people aren't big on mixing that with the macabre.
Riverdale has been having a troubling time. Most of the farmers are struggling. The crops are just not growing. Working the land is bringing hard times. Some are selling up and leaving. Some are just disappearing.
But there's a curse behind it all. In particular, there's Marge Longarcre behind it all.
She seems to be in control of the cursed item. A scarecrow. To use it, she attaches a picture of a local farmer, and off it goes.
The scarecrow is a creepy visage. A wrapped face. Tattered clothes. A cute neckerchief.
The picture seems to activate the scarecrow, and it makes a b-line to the person in the picture, and quickly dispatches them.
|"How come you never want to know how my night is going?"|
And the scarecrow doesn't like to tarry on it's duty.
Curiously, it has an odd ability to teleport. It doesn't move that fast, but when you close a door on it, and try to run, you tend to find the scarecrow in your path.
Really, it reminds me of horror movie killers like Jason Voorhees. It won't stop. It doesn't talk. And it somehow can out maneuver you at a casual pace.
Plus, it's a fun and creepy curse item that is nice to see in a show with the title Friday the 13th. It takes the unstoppable killing machine, and gives it a function and logic in the world of this series.
But that isn't even the end of it. Then Longacre approaches and takes the severed head away.
|"Tomato sauce. Why is everyone's head full of tomato sauce?"|
But why? What is the point of the heads?
(Also, the blood choice in this episode is bright red paint. It's very Hammer Horror.)
She seems happy though. She goes out to a scarecrow stand and welcomes a new morning. But what is at work?
|"She kicks the head and...Field goal!"|
Watching her welcome the morning almost puts me in mind of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. You could almost imagine that the killing brings about the new day. And that would be a cool story to tell. But that's not this story.
Instead, the killing ushers in good crops for a farm. (So this is more a Wicker Man scenario.)
Micki and Ryan make it into town and try to find the scarecrow. But the people who owned it claim that the scarecrow was lost in a cropfire. (And that's a lie seeing as cursed items are indestructible.) So they look around.
|"If either of us end up on that, Bryan Q. Miller may come after us."|
They are met by a hostile, and completely suspicious, Longacre. She then invites them to stay at her inn in Riverdale.
|"I hope you....sleep...well tonight."|
And she continues to be so creepy and suspicious for the rest of the episode. Somehow, no one catches on.
As the team check into the inn, Micki mentions that one person that they talked to seemed to have something more to tell them. (It was the wife of the man who had owned the scarecrow.) Longacre hears this, and sets the scarecrow after the woman, before she can talk.
|"I swear I keep having to pin pictures of your murder victims to your coat.|
You need to grow up!"
And off the scarecrow goes.
The woman makes a run for it, and tries to get to Micki and Ryan at the inn. But when she gets to the inn, she finds the scarecrow behind her. And....
Off with her head!
|Wait! I think she's trying to tell us something!|
Micki comes to the door at the wrong moment, and finds the head, and the scarecrow.
|Aw. Look who's ready for the Prom?|
But after she goes for help, the scarecrow is gone. Also, the head is to.
|"...Is straw a grass?"|
The local sheriff doesn't know what to make of it all. But he does find some straw in the hand of the dead woman.
Longacre isn't happy yet. She doesn't care for having outsiders around, and ones that may know about the scarecrow.
|"Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?"|
So she takes a local man, who has certain extreme emotional problems, and pushes him to attack Micki. (Also, this is the son of the murdered woman.)
Longacre dresses the young man up as the scarecrow, and puts him in place.
|[Obvious Yakety Sax joke.]|
So he tries to chase Micki down with a scythe. And the sheriff happens by and shoots him dead.
The Sheriff thinks, and hopes, things are done.
While they are looking around, Ryan finds a young boy, the son of the last farmer the scarecrow killed. He tells them all about his father's murder. Ryan decides to keep an eye on the kid.
And Longacre will look after them all. She was smart to use and expend a pawn to keep everyone of her trail.
And she still isn't done! Longacre steals Micki's drivers license. (She really does not like her.)
Along the way, Ryan opens up about how his brother was hit and killed by a car when he was little. It affected him. Seeing the scared kid reminded him of his brother.
It's nice to get more of an understanding of the character here. It's a thing we've gotten in this and the previous episodes. It's the advantage of having two leads instead of three. You can delve into the characters better. And these last two shows do give you a sense of the fact he didn't have a pleasant childhood, but has tried to find the positive in life.
It helps give his characterization more depth. It's good to have, to balance out his sillier moments in some episodes.
|"...so I was written with the 38th most tragic backstory."|
Someone who isn't having a great day either is the man who's seen his wife, and now son, killed. He did have the scarecrow once, but somehow Longacre gained control of it.
With Longacre it's been harnessed to it's potential. When it's used to murder, you are blessed with bountiful crops. It has a nice Old Religion feel to it all.
Though how did she work it out? It seems this guy was largely clueless, but she...She has a knack. Then again, she also seems take mass murder in stride. The curse must have known she was the one to enact it.
And she proves her knack once again by beguiling a man threatening to shoot her, and then swinging a bale hook into his back.
Ryan continues to look around for the scarecrow, and this episode offers more creepy spots.
A room full of hanging scarecrows? Awesome.
|"Don't worry kids. At least it's not clowns."|
And a hanging dead guy to. That finishes the room.
|"Still not clowns, kid."|
Meanwhile, the scarecrow goes after Micki. And Longacre locks her in her bedroom with it.
It actually was in her bed, and then pops out from under the covers. Ah. Ms. Longacre does have a sense of humor.
|"Oh my god! Did I oversleep my murder spree?!"|
Downstairs, Longacre jumps the sheriff and stabs him. Then she puts a blade to the kid's neck.
And Ryan gets a cool moment. Seeing the kid in danger, he looses it and kick the blade away. He then begins fighting Longacre.
It might seem unimpressive to fight a smaller older woman. But this lady is scary!
Upstairs, Micki gets the wide swinging scarecrow to hack at the locked door, and then she pushes through the battered door to escape. (Smart.)
By the time she's downstairs, it seems like things are quieter there...Except the scarecrow is in front of her on the stairs. Damn, teleporting mass murdering...
Ryan jumps the scarecrow and tries to hold him.
|"Seriously, little buddy?"|
With some effort and struggle, Micki and Ryan get the picture off it's chest. And it's down!
But things aren't over yet! Longacre is back with a bigger blade. She stabs at the two, screaming. Now she's focused on Ryan though. She swings at him, knocking pictures of the walls.
One picture lands on the scarecrow, and in it's coat. The picture is of Longacre.
As Longacre prepares to slash Ryan, the scarecrow rises.
|"And do you know why I'm going to succeed? Because I've got a good head on..."|
And it takes it's last victim.
|"If this episode has affected you..."|
With that, the scarecrow is spent. Time to put it in the vault.
Ryan gets a little closure on his past. He says some good byes to the kid, and gives him an old baseball that he'd kept as a painful reminder of his brother.
|"Anyway, my dad threw it and told me to fetch it. When I got back my dad |
was gone, and I never saw him again."
But as they drive away, Micki is in a pondering mood.
What was the deal with taking all the heads? It wasn't necessary for the curse? Right?
So why take the head?
And off in the distance, the scarecrow stand falls. Is that an answer to the question? Is it just symbolism about the scarecrow leaving?
And I kind of like that. It leaves you unsettled on all the events.
Why were the heads being taken? It's a creepy unanswerable question.
Maybe Longacre was taking trophies. Maybe she was burying them by the old stand. ...And for some reason I can't get the movie Motel Hell out of my head.
This is such an enjoyable episode. The danger was visceral. We got a change of setting and it was made good use of. The small town and isolated farms were a treat. If they were in Riverdale looking for a pen or a doll it would be so wasted. The scarecrow belonged here.
As well the scarecrow felt like a good variation on the movie killers that helped spawn this show. When it would come to life it was a terror. A masked terror with a blade.
Longacre makes for a fun and scary villain. She's just full of menace. And by the end, you can jump when she runs out, a large knife waved in the air. Too bad she had to go.
Also it is hard not to see the value of these two person episodes/ These ones really help allow Micki and Ryan to grow some.
This is an example of the stronger places the show can go.
Now I have to remember if there are any good killer scarecrow movies to watch.
If you want to give the episode a creepy late night viewing...