This is the month of October, which is why there are so many horror movies around the corner, and many revolve around Halloween. It’s one festival that is actively associated with the macabre, especially in movies, and yet there is always a demand for such flicks. They are fun and become even more entertaining with friends. Dark Harvest is another entertaining film revolving around this particular festival, although the timeline has been shifted to the 1960s, and even the world of this film is retro-dystopian in nature. The meaning of this film is quite layered, and once viewed through the socio-political lens of America, the film reveals a lot more than just a monster who is killing teenagers. There is an underpinning to the mass control of the population of Illinois during the Cold War period. Now, that is not explicitly mentioned in the film, but the way the town is set up with its ‘rules,’ it is not much of a stretch to draw that conclusion.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
In 1962, Jim Shepherds participated in the ‘Run’ and won it, thus becoming a town hero, at least for that year. His prize was a ticket out of town in a brand-new Cadillac. You see, people couldn’t simply go out of town as and when they pleased. If they did, they would be outlaws, as they deserted their duty to protect this town from Sawtooth Jack. Jim, the eldest son of the Shepherd household, had left the town, managing to secure a comfortable lifestyle for his parents and brother Richie. Nobody knew where he went, but he left his brother with a desperate feeling. Halloween was around the corner, and Richie wanted to achieve the same feat as his brother, even though it was against the rules. He was being provoked by his nemesis at school, and his friends wanted him in the Run. Richie had something to prove, and this was the only opportunity to do it. There were even some questions about whether Sawtooth Jack was really a monster or just another human dressed in a pale white costume with a pumpkin on his head. The night finally came, and Richie learned a few secrets about the ritual Run and his brother’s whereabouts.
Why Was It Necessary To stop Sawtooth Jack From Reaching The Church?
The town’s harvest was looked after by the authority known as the Harvest Guild. Its members were unknown, although there was a man who came out every year to hand out the winning amount to the victorious fella. Sawtooth Jack was the perennial nemesis of the town’s crop supply. It came every year and made a Run towards the church. The reason is unclear. Perhaps he wanted to challenge God himself or break people’s faith in him. The people had managed to stop the monster from reaching the church every single year, but nine years ago, they faltered, and the results were catastrophic. A black dust enveloped the town and destroyed the harvest. The police chief, Jerry Ricks, ensured that such mistakes never happened again. So, the job of killing the monster was given to the teenage boys of the town. It was mandatory, and everybody had to participate—except the sibling of the winner of the past year’s Run. Sawtooth killed several on its way, which is why the gravity of the matter was explained to this year’s batch by Ricks himself. Richie was itching to break the rule and kill Sawtooth Jack.
What Was Kelly’s Secret?
Richie wasn’t allowed to participate by his father. But he broke the rule. Even girls weren’t allowed to venture out and participate in the hunt, but Kelly and Richie had similar attitudes when it came to authority. Kelly was treated like an outcast in the town. Being a person of color, she wasn’t invited to events, and given that she was an orphan, she had low status, and nobody gave her the time of day. There were several rumors about her, which ultimately affected Richie, even though he liked her. They met during the Run, when Richie’s friends had been decapitated by the monster. Richie was afraid and created a pact with Kelly to stick together and finish Sawtooth Jack together. In one of the only quiet moments they got, Richie asked her about the rumors that were floating around and if there was any truth to them. Kelly was rumored to have burned down someone’s farm, and it turned out to be true. Richie wasn’t turned off by this revelation. The town deserved to be punished for its attitude toward her.
Why Didn’t Richie Shoot Sawtooth Jack? How Did Richie Become A Monster?
The boys were made to go hungry for three days. This was a way of awakening a gluttonous urge in them that would make them kill Sawtooth and eat its heart, which contained delicacies. There was pandemonium across town and the boys attacked local owners just to eat candy. Such mayhem was the result of this absurd ritual, and no one questioned the story around it. Richie and Kelly were sticking together, but people around them were getting killed. Richie decided to get a gun, which was the easiest way to kill Sawtooth Jack, even though guns wasn’t allowed. All these arbitrary rules had been conjured up by the Harvester’s Guild, and no one questioned their authority. It took free-spirited people like Richie and Kelly to think about the whole thing for a minute. Kelly’s love for arson became an asset, and they diverted everybody’s attention by bombing several places. They got a gun, and Richie even got a clear shot at the monster, but he didn’t shoot. He had noticed something that changed his perception of the Run.
When Richie saw the monster up close, he seemed to be wearing jeans and a belt that bore a striking resemblance to one that his brother had. They both survived, and Richie took Kelly to his place, where he forced his mother to tell the truth. Richie had been receiving postcards and letters from Jim, but he figured out that it was all a charade being played on him by his mother. She couldn’t confess that to him but committed suicide, asking Richie to put an end to the whole thing. Richie understood that the winners of the Run never got to leave town. In fact, they were turned into the Sawtooth Jack for the next year. This metamorphosis happened over time, and a man acted as its guardian at the cornfield. The monster everybody was trying to kill was his own brother Jim, who had been transformed into Sawtooth Jack. This explains why Richie’s father didn’t want him to participate, as if he won, Police Chief Ricks would have to bury him in the cornfield for the metamorphosis. Ultimately, the worst fate was realized. People gathered around Sawtooth, and Ricks handed Richie’s nemesis, Riley Blake, a gun to shoot Sawtooth. Seeing his brother Jim in pain after getting shot, Richie relieved him of the pain by killing him.
During Dark Harvest‘s ending, Richie was the new winner, and there was a whole show put up by the Harvester’s Guild to honor him. But Richie’s plan was clear. He had to escape, as he knew Ricks would be after him. Kelly accompanied him, but Ricks was too quick. He got Richie near the burial site, and it became clear that all the past winners were buried there as part of the sacrificial ritual. Richie killed Ricks but had no inkling about the farmer hiding in the dark. He came out of nowhere and completed the burial. Kelly was the only one to leave town. Richie went through the metamorphosis and became Sawtooth Jack, but this time, the process wasn’t complete. Richie’s father was still alive, and after losing his family, he had only one purpose: to burn the entire place to the ground and put an end to the absurd contest where young members of a family had to be sacrificed, all because of the fear of losing the crops. Maybe the member of the Harvesters Guild created the monster himself to create heroes. This whole concept had bamboozled the town; they were shell-shocked to question the guild’s authority. Richie might take his revenge and find the truth about the guild and its members.