Movie Review – Dark Harvest (1992) / Escapes (1986) Double Feature

Dark Harvest / Escapes Double Feature
Dark Harvest
Directed by James I. Nicholson
Escapes
Directed by David Steensland
Courtesy of Intervision Picture Corp. & CAV Distribution
Original Year(s) of Release: 1992 / 1986
DVD Release Date: May 30, 2017

If you’re a fan of B-grade entertainment like me, then the fine folks at Intervision and CAV have a double whammy for us today!

DARK HARVEST and ESCAPES are two titles you’ve probably never heard of before, however you needn’t be familiar with them to enjoy their low-budget goodness. DARK HARVEST is chocked full of corny effects and questionable character decisions, while ESCAPES is an anthology with offerings not quite in the vein of CREEPSHOW or TALES FROM THE CRYPT. But regardless, these two gems are worthy of your attention, and both offer entertainment value to a degree.

If you are not familiar with DARK HARVEST, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of

Dark Harvest: It’s stranded tourists vs. killer scarecrows in this early 90s SOV rarity. They planned on a relaxing horseback ride through the desert… They didn’t plan on engine trouble, long-winded campfire stories, deranged hillbillies with a shotgun, and a dangerous trek over cursed terrain. But the real terror begins when they discover that the creepy scarecrow overlooking their campsite has mysteriously disappeared from his cross.

Escapes: Matthew Wilson didn’t order ESCAPES, but when a mysterious mail carrier delivers a VHS to his door, he pops it in his top-loader, not knowing what real life danger lurks inside the magnetic tape. Concluding his run of portmanteau chillers (TALES OF TERROR, TWICE TOLD TALES, THE MONSTER CLUB, FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM), horror legend Vincent Price presents these six bizarre tales of the uncanny.

I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, but DARK HARVEST is one of those films that is so-bad-it’s-good. It’s very low budget, the acting is cheesy, and the story almost makes no sense at times…but they are all a part of the film’s charm. On the flipside, ESCAPES is a fairly well made collection of horror shorts that offer a variety of chills.

DARK HARVEST appears to have been shot on a VHS camcorder. The film quality is very poor, although it’s not very distracting for some reason. Perhaps because I expected it to be so. ESCAPES, on the other hand, is shot pretty well and looks more professional.

The acting in DARK HARVEST is exactly what you expect it to be, while its companion offers more quality. Likewise, the special effects are of comparable worth. Neither of these attributes should dissuade you from seeing the films, though. Just know what you’re going into in advance.

I guess the biggest problem I have with DARK HARVEST is the story. It’s a mishmash of bad decisions and a somewhat confusing plot. There are a few things inferred that would have been better off just point blank explained. But still, you have to love this movie for what it is: schlocky horror.

This DARK HARVEST / ESCAPES double feature is definitely a win for me, and I recommend adding it to your library soon. You can’t beat Vincent Price’s voice, so that in itself is enough of a reason to own this. But the anthology pieces are nice, too. And you can’t look past the cruddy fun that DARK HARVEST offers, either. This DVD is available now, so make a note!

MSB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *