‘Death reaps what you sow…’
Dark Harvest is a 1992 American horror feature film written and directed by James I. Nicholson (story writer for Prison Planet). The movie stars David Zyler, Jamee Natella and Debbie O’Der.
A broken down van strands a group of college students in the middle of the desert. Forced to hike their way out, they unwittingly enter a sacred Native American burial ground…
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Dark Harvest is a plodding tale in which a bunch of campers finding themselves stranded in a desert where killer scarecrows are on the loose. As with many a film of this sort, it takes forever for the killer scarecrows to actually show up (a pre-credit sequence aside), and instead we are forced to watch a gaggle of bad actors battling unsuccessfully against the sound of the desert wind – no post-production dubbing here! – to deliver clumsy dialogue and attempt to flesh out their thinly-drawn characters.
At one point, a couple of redneck rapists turn up to terrorise a pair of women, a plot point that comes out of nowhere and is then rapidly forgotten. Or perhaps my attention wandered and an explanation of their presence slipped by me. When the scarecrows finally show up, their murderous rampage is a lacklustre, relatively bloodless affair, and the film eventually fizzles out as if director James L. Nicholson simply ran out of ideas. There are, frankly, better killer scarecrow films out there.
David Flint, HORRORPEDIA
“Visibly cheap, with horrendous audio issues and charming, albeit shoddy effects work, Dark Harvest is a mess of a movie that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But there’s something really enjoyable about watching evil scarecrows hunting down unlikable characters and attacking them with farming equipment.” Blair Hoyle, Cinema Slasher
“Dark Harvest is a bad film, filled with amateur-level talent in every department… and yet, for some strange reason I did not hate it with every fiber of my being. Maybe that’s because killer scarecrow movies are far and few between, so you take what you get.” Anthony Arrigo, Dread Central
“Shot on what appears to be a camcorder with no windscreen on the microphone, this one has a few cheap thrills in addition to the occasional splash of gore like a sex scene in a chicken coop, stilted acting class performances galore, a greasy gun-toting hillbilly, and lines like “You’re supposed to be our damn guide! You can’t get lost!” Nathaniel Thomson, Mondo Digital
“You’d imagine the splatter to finally steal the show here, but that’s not quite the case: instead, the real highlights involve a hilarious payoff to the engaged couple’s prolonged bickering, and a cave excursion that holds an impromptu bullshit mythology to explain the scarecrows. To the end, Dark Harvest is delightful in ways you’re not likely to expect given the premise.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!
” …if low budget camcorder epics are your thing, you’ll find a lot to like here. Underneath the dialogue that you can’t quite understand is a pretty cool homemade score and the movie offers up lots of quality boobs and cheapjack gore. The killer scarecrows themselves are pretty rubbery looking but atmospheric and creepy in their own low budget way.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!
On May 30, 2017, Intervision Picture Corp. released the film on DVD double-billed with Escapes
- Patti Negri Remembers Dark Harvest
- Dan Weiss Remembers Dark Harvest Via Video Skype
- Distributor Tom Naygrow on David Steensland, Writer/Director of Escapes
Paul Moore’s 2004 film Dark Harvest appears to be a loose remake.
Image credits: Mondo Digital
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