Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming Soon: The Book

Hey there.

First, my apologies that I vanished for a while there. Out in the world, there's a thing called real life, and it got in the way.

Secondly, yes, I will be finishing the Children of the Corn series. And I'll also be going back and catching the last Romero "Dead" movie, which came out a few months ago.

But it won't be here.

Instead, I'll be going throught the blog, grabbing every last word, and turning it into a book. Though it'll more than likely be three books (or four, or five) by the time I'm done.

So if you're waiting for the exciting conclusion to The Children of the Corn, hold tight. It's coming, and at a low, low price.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror

Let’s talk direct-to-video sequels for a minute, here.

Most of these things should be both much better and much worse than they are. Worse because the budget is often something like one-tenth of the original.

Better, because they’re often made by the new and hungry, who are calling in every favor they have so that the movie will come out awesome, which will impress people, so their next movie has actual money and a theatrical release date behind it.

A decent hour of television around the time (1998) this movie came out probably cost somewhere around a million bucks. That’s per episode. But if I had to guess, I’d say most of these “Corn” movies probably came in at a cost of maybe a half-mil.

Perhaps less.

The thing is, though, V is a bit of an anomaly. It was written and directed by Ethan Wiley, who wrote the minor hit “House” in the 80s. And then went into a bit of a fallow period. Or at least, nothing he was trying to get made GOT made. If you check out his IMDB information, after he wrote “House II” in 1987, there’s nothing on his resume until this movie.

After that, there’s another 10-year gap before his next project.

So I have to imagine that the guy really, really, really wanted this one.

But there were, of course, some obstacles.

Let’s start with the previous movies. 1 and 2 kind of fit together, although the passage of time between the two movies horks things up a bit.

Then we’ve got III, which is tied to the previous movies in only the most tenuous of ways, but which still has a killer ending that could have led to a whole new offshoot for the series.

This led to IV, which doesn’t tie to III. Or as near as I can tell, to 2 or 1 either. Mostly because they forgot to even mention “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

Wouldn’t it be neat if our new friend Ethan decided to try to tie it all together?

Sure. Let’s give it a go.

Ethan gets one thing right, from the first moment. The movie starts in a corn field. We’re in a point-of-view shot, walking through the corn. Then we’re not anymore. Instead, we’re watching a hand crush a flower that is, I guess, in the corn field.

Now it’s night. Shot of the moon. Credits.

Still night, but back to the corn. A kid is walking through the corn. In the dark. So that we can barely see him. Plus the credits are still rolling.

The kid gets to a small fire pit located in the heart of the corn, while the credits remind us that this movie is TOTALLY based on a Stephen King story.

The kid approaches the fire, which, a couple of times, turns a little greenish. He gets within about a foot of the fire, and green sparks shoot out of it, flowing into the kid’s chest.

The kid falls over. The fire goes back to being a normal fire.

The kid opens his eyes. There’s green fire in them.

Now we’re looking at a house. It’s the middle of a rainstorm and a burn-in on the screen tells us that it’s one year later.

You know, is that an exact thing? Has it been exactly 365 days since the event we just had to sit through?

Regardless, we’re in POV-Cam mode again, approaching the house. And then, it’s just inside the house. It’s pretty dark in there, though no mention is made of saving electricity, or the power being out, or whatever.

Instead, a man and a woman talk about the fact that the man found one of their heifers with its throat slit by their property line. Third one this month. He mentions something about “kids” and “Luke’s place.”

Back to spooky-cam outside. There’s a thump inside the house. The man decides to “check it out.” With his shotgun. And a raincoat and rain-hat.

He walks for a second, and spots the kid we just met in the opening scene. The man asks what the kid is doing there. The kid says, “That corn field belongs to us.”

The kid lifts his hand, and the farmer is lifted up in the air, where he’s struck by a bunch of lightning. The kid drops him. He dead.

His wife, in the meantime, has run out into the rain. She stands there while more kids approach. They beat her to death. I guess she wasn’t worthy of being killed via magic. You’ve gotta earn that kind of death.

Then we’re somewhere else, by cracky. A bad road. And it’s day now. A guy and a girl are driving along in a convertible. He’s playing with an inflatable doll. You know the kind. They pull over, and he puts the doll on a road sign.

We leave the happy couple, and meet four new people in ANOTHER vehicle. Well, five, if you count Kurt, the dead guy in the urn. There are two guys in the car, and two girls, but we don’t get a name for any of them. Even the subtitles don’t give you a clue. So let’s move on.

We’re back with the man and woman, who stop to put yet ANOTHER doll up pointing where the other car is supposed to go. This has to be the most expensive way to give directions ever.

The guy looks away from the girl for a second, and when he looks back, she’s gone. Did I mention that we had another corn-POV shot of the girl just before that? We did.

The dude wanders around, looking for his lady. He walks right by a sign that says No Trespassing. Ah, and there she is. She’s just taking some corn from inside the field. Never mind that there’s plenty right at the edge. And that they don’t seem to be headed anywhere that they can actually use the corn.

The music is getting ominous, and she sees kids running through the corn. She yells to the dude. He yells to her. Yet, they don’t hear each other. As we all know, corn is a natural sound barrier.

Finally, a random kid we’ve never seen before cuts her up with a small scythe and she dies.

Dude walks through the corn and sees a clearing. His dead lady and a few kids are there.

Possessed kid comes out of the corn and admonishes the killer kid for killing. The dude runs. Two other kids catch him and kill him. Killer kid also has a whack at the dude.

We’re 13 minutes into the movie, and four people are dead and one is possessed. Not bad.

Now it’s time for a shot of the gas pump that the dude was attaching the inflatable doll of love to. The doll is gone.

Back to the other car. The people in it are all lost, because there are no dolls to guide them. Until the “lost” doll suddenly appears in their windshield.

There’s screaming and swerving.

The car goes into a ditch.

Everyone tumbles out. Kurt is out of his urn and onto his ex-girlfriend. Otherwise, everyone is okay.

Ex-girlfriend smells something funny, and wonders what it is. Possessed kid comes out of the corn and says it’s none of their business. The kid tells them that they don’t have a phone, they’re on private property, and town’s about a mile “that way.”

Conversation over, the kid and his backup leave.

Our “heroes” get their stuff out of the car and head to town.

In town, the heroes find Kurt’s favorite dive bar, and head in for a beer.

Ex-girlfriend goes to wash up.

I’m gonna go bonkers if I don’t throw names on these people, so….

The driver is named Greg. Other dude is named Tyrus. Ex-girlfriend is Kir. And Other girl is named Allison.

There, I just gave you more than both the movie and the subtitles have offered you up to this point. You’re welcome.

Greg asks the bartender for beer. Allison asks for a tow truck. It seems that the truck is out of commission.

They also ask about their friends, but the bartender says they haven’t seen them. The bartender, by the by, it played by Kane Hodder, who is best known as Jason is a handful of the Friday the 13th movies. Mostly the ones that no one is actually a fan of.

Even more funny? He had a small role in “House IV.” This makes the horror movie circle complete.

Greg, already bored by talking about their missing friends, tells the bartender that the town smells like burnt popcorn. This allows some other dude in the bar to babble on about how a corn silo exploded, and how they can burn for months.

The silo is located on Lucas Enright’s farm. It seems he’s a “queer duck” who keeps to himself. Him and his smattering of “adopted children” who work on the farm. They’re also religious nuts who worship “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

Dude, wipe your mouth. You got some exposition barf on yourself.

Allison picks up on the “He Who Walks” bit. She seems to know something. Kir and Tyrus come back to the bar, and Allison says they should go. Near as I can tell, they don’t even pay for their drinks.

They get outside, and a local cop asks if they’re lost. They tell him about their car, and he says he can’t help. Also, if they run, they can just make it to the bus. Only they don’t. So they walk back to the car.

They get there. It’s on fire.

This makes Greg more sad than his dead friend’s ashes flying all over.

Allison says she thought she saw a house down the road – she’s thinking there might be a phone they can use.

Um… er…

Who are they going to call? The cops? Dude clearly wasn’t all that interested in their plight. Their friend? This is a time before cell phones were prevalent. I swear, this woman is bonkers.

Whatever. They walk. They get to the house. It appears to be deserted. In fact, it is deserted, since it belonged to the man and woman who were killed in the first five minutes of the movie. Not that the director makes it easy to figure this out, since he manages to shoot the house in the most generic way possible, and include no helpful hints as to who the house belonged to.

Allison votes that they stay there for the night, and catch the bus in the morning. They go in, and somehow locate a lamp. Which they light.

Other things they find in the house: The beds are all fully made, the water is still on, and the pantry has food in it. Including fruit cocktail and Smeat. Which might be a Spam joke.

Also found? Beer.

The group eats. They blabber about the fact that Kurt died in a bungee-jumping accident, and Allison refuses to drink a beer. Turns out Allison found a suicide note. She hid it before anyone could find it. Which begs the question: How do you commit suicide while bungee jumping? Do you tip the person tying you up to do a bad job?

This makes Kir mad. Or sad. Some combination of the two. Tyrus puts her in bed, and he’s about the leave, but she says she doesn’t want to be alone. And she kisses him. You can tell she’s into it because she’s breathing. Not heavy or anything, but she’s definitely converting oxygen to carbon dioxide.

Outside, Greg does something that resembles confronting Allison about Kurt’s suicide note. Allison would rather talk about her brother. It seems her dad was a mean drunk, and as soon as she could, she moved out. Dad got worse, and took it out on her brother, Jacob. So he ran away, when he was about 14.

The last thing he said to Allison was that he was devoting his life to “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

Night falls further. Evil-POV-cam stalks around the house while everyone sleeps.

Allison wakes up because she hears a noise. So does Kir, who’s lying in bed with Tyrus. She grabs the sheet and walks to the window. She opens the curtain. Someone is outside.

She screams and falls back. Allison comes in, and Kir says there was a man at the window. Allison says she’s going to go get Greg, and be right back. She does not comment on the naked people who clearly had man-woman relations. Or just cuddled.

Outside, Allison and Greg shine a flashlight they found somewhere around in the dark. Allison finds a muddy handprint on the side of the house.

They hear a noise, and head away from the house. They don’t bother to tell their friends where they’re going.

Eventually, they find some kind of machine. Allison sees blood on some corn in the machine. Corn falls away, and there’s their dead female friend. This makes Allison sad. Oh. And there’s the dude.

The next day, the sheriff shows up, and he and a deputy throw the dead bodies in the back of the sheriff’s truck. Here’s a question: How did they CALL the sheriff? Is the phone still working? If so, why did none of them call, say, their PARENTS or some other FRIENDS about a ride home?

The four teens (are they teens?) confront the sheriff, who accuses them of (I think) getting drunk and playing with farm equipment, which somehow ended with their two friends dead.

Rather than, say, arrest them for accidental death, or public intoxication, or squatting, he just demands they all get out of town on the 8 AM bus.

Of course, town is a mile away, and it’s really light outside, so I guess that means they get an extra day to bum around.

Or not. The guys start to walk away, and Allison says she’s staying. She wants to find out what’s up with her brother. Greg also wants to stay. Tyrus doesn’t, really.

But he hangs out anyway.

I’m sure we’re supposed to infer some sort of friendship dynamic here, but you got me what it is. I don’t know if he’s staying there for Allison, or if he’s staying there because Kir wants to stay (she doesn’t say anything).


The foursome walk to the other farm, and confront possessed kid. Allison says she wants to talk to her brother. Possessed kid says he brother doesn’t want to see her. She asks if they should get the police involved. The kid says no, and leads the way.

They go to the house. Allison heads in. The rest of them are blocked from entrance.

Greg feels uncomfortable, and decides to wander off so Tyrus and Kir can talk. Tyrus tells Kir it wasn’t just a one night stand for him. Kir says it was for her. Then she wanders off. Not forcefully, or with acting, or anything. More like she thought she saw a cute squirrel and wanted to check it out.

Possessed kid takes Allison to Enright. Enright says that the people in town think he’s nuts. But no. All that happened was, he found a baby left to die in the corn, and took the kid in and raised him as his own. Then his corn exploded, and the fire “guided” a bunch of lost, abused children to him. So that he could care for him and teach them to worship “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

And with that, the movie abandons all pretense of having anything to do with any of the other movies. Just for a start, we have an adult leader. This guy should be mega-dead by now.

Allison says she wants to see her brother. Enright says to go ahead, as they have no secrets. The possessed kid, whose name is Ezekiel, is charged with taking Allison to Jacob.

Somewhere else, Greg wanders around alone. Never mind that they found their two friends, dead, like 12 hours ago.

He’s confronted by the killer kid, who has an axe. But he manages to walk away with all his bits intact.

Kir, meanwhile, goes to talk to another kid, named Zane. Zane says that he can tell Kir is hurting. Kir breaks down crying. So Zane starts the brainwashing process. Kir stops crying, and says she has to go back to her friends.

Inside the house, Allison talks to Jacob. She asks Ezekiel for privacy. He leaves. Allison tells Jacob happy birthday. His birthday is actually tomorrow. Oh, and dad is dead. Jacob says that this is his family now. And he’s got a wife. Enright chose her to bear Jacob’s child.

Allison asks if he loves his wife. He says yes.

There’s also a whole thing about how children are awesome, and at the age of 18 they enter the age of sin. He turns 18 tomorrow. Allison asks the obvious question: If over 18=evil, then is Enright evil?

Jacob is about to answer, when Ezekiel comes in and says Allison has to leave right now.

So she goes to leave. Jacob tells her to wait. He gives her a book, after writing something in it. He says it will help her to understand.

Allison leaves. All her friends are sitting around on the front steps. They go back to their squatting residence.

Kir reads them some of the book, and says it makes a lot of sense. Basically, kids are born pure, and their evil, tainted parents turn them evil.

Tyrus points out that two of their friends are dead, and he doesn’t want that to happen again, so he’s getting out of town. Kir says she’ll go with. Greg wants to stay behind, but Allison says she’ll figure something out, and tells him to go.

So the three of them head to the bus stop.

Allison starts reading the book, which basically starts with, “When you’re 18, you die.”

She finally looks at what her brother wrote. What is it? Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that there are four letters along the left-hand side that spell out “HELP.”

Allison freaks out. She gets ready to take action, only there’s the sheriff, in the house, reminding her that he wanted her on the bus.

At the bus stop, the three other friends hang out and look mopey. Well, except for Kir, who just looks kind of blank, still.

So, without discussing it, they head back to the house. Greg and Tyrus go in. Kir waits outside.

Inside, it’s already pretty dark, and Allison is gone.

Tyrus and Greg head outside, and find out Kir is gone as well. Amusingly, Tyrus blames the kids right off, and says, “First it was Allison, now it’s Kir.” Like it’s a big conspiracy. Allison could be in the bathroom, for all they know.

At the other farm, all the kids are standing by the still-on-fire corn silo. Ezekiel says some stuff, and tells Jacob to jump in the silo while his pregnant wife stands nearby. Jacob says he can’t do the jumping thing.

Jacob says he thought he was free to go whenever he wanted. Ezekiel tells him sure, but Jacob has nowhere to go. Jacob asks his “wife” to come with him, and she says that “this” is her family.

Then Jacob walks away.

Ezekiel asks for the next person who is going to be 18 to step up and take Jacob’s place. Kir is there, and she calls out that she’s going to be 18.

Uh… what now? She walked into a bar and ordered a beer. I’m pretty sure she’s in her 20s at least. (24, according to the IMDB.) Maybe she just didn’t understand the question. Up to this point, most things, including human emotion, have appeared to elude her.

Ezekiel asks why she wants to jump into the fire, and she basically says it’s her purpose. Also, she thinks Kurt is waiting for her there. Yeah. Sure. Perhaps she needs to learn a little more about how the cremation process works.

Jacob gets found by a couple kids, who beat him to a pulp.

Kir climbs up the silo, while the boys look up her super-short dress. It’s a great day for them. They get to see underpants, and they don’t have to jump into fire.

Kir climbs up, and looks down at the fire, which has a greenish glow to it. Bet you forgot about that. The green glow.

Kir jumps into the fire.

Jacob hangs by his arms in the barn. Ezekiel does some, “You done WRONG!” talking, and gives him a good stab in the leg with a knife. Apparently Jacob is going to be made into a scarecrow.

Ezekiel tells one of his thugs to cut Jacob’s throat and put Jacob in the cornfield. Ezekiel leaves. Jacob kicks the thug in the face, knocking the dude out, and frees himself from his ropes.

He passes out in the barn from stab wound pain.

Later than night, Allison, the sheriff, the deputy, and a fire truck show up. They say they have a warrant. The sheriff shoves Ezekiel out of the way and says he needs to talk to Enright.

Enright says that if they put out the fire, they will have to face “His” fury. The sheriff asks if Enright is threatening him. Enright says he’s trying to save the sheriff.

The fire people get their hose ready and prepare to wet that silo down. But instead, the fire sets the dude with the hose aflame. He screams. He falls. Another dude grabs a hose and gets ready to do some dousing.

He, too, gets set alight.

The sheriff pulls Enright out of his chair for “threatening an officer.” Enright starts to get freaked, and says, “It is out of my hands, now.”

Hey, remember when Ezekiel did that magic? I mean, he’s still in the room. Any reason he hasn’t gone all killer-y yet?

Enright’s head splits in half. A little worm shoots up his neck, and fires flames into the sheriff’s face, which burn a hole right through his head. Dude. Duuude.

Both the sheriff and Enright fall to the ground, dead. Ezekiel tells Allison not to feel bad for Enright. He’s been dead for years.

Allison accuses Ezekiel of… something. And Ezekiel says they all have skeletons in their closet, but he was able to put his “to good use.” As their leader.

And let’s talk for a minute, because logic has abandoned this movie.

Here are the various problems:

First: Why kill their two friends? I suppose you could argue that they were in the corn when they weren’t supposed to be, but if they’re trying to avoid drawing attention to themselves killing a couple of people really isn’t the way to do it.

Second: Why throw the doll at their friends? They really had no way to know that these four outsiders were an any way related to the first group.

Third: How long has that corn silo been burning? Because here’s what we know. “One year ago,” Ezekiel, for whom we have no history, walked into the corn field and was possessed by a green light in some corn. Then, one year later, he killed to the two farmers one farm over.

Then, a short while later, these other kids entered his life. And he corn exploded. Or…

Wait. It could go something like this: Ezekiel, a runaway kid, ends up in a corn field at night. He Who Walks Behind the Rows, in a form of a campfire, takes him over. A year passes. The fire is then somehow transferred to the corn silo. A bunch of kids are drawn to the farm, magically, by He Who Walks.

Okay, that all makes some sense. Except then there’s Jacob, who is just about to turn 18. He left home when he was 14, to join this particular cult.

Now, it could be argued that they’ve been there for three years, except one would think that at some point the folks in town would start to wonder why the silo had been burning for three years. Also, and more importantly, Jacob hasn’t done three years worth of aging. In the flick, I’d put his age at around 13, and that’s when heavy growth spurts start. So he should have grown somewhat in the intervening years.

Unless being possessed by He Who Walks makes you not age. Which would also sorta-kinda work, until you get to the end of the movie. So remember this, because I’ll come back to it.

Outside, the deputy hears something. He goes to check it out. One of the kids kills him.

Allison goes outside, carrying the sheriff’s shotgun. She shoots and kills one kid. Fends off another. Greg hits that kid in the head.

They run off. Tyrus is in the sheriff’s car, which has no keys. He wants to know where Kir is. The remaining kids run up, ready to do themselves some outsider-killin’.

The teens run. The kids chase. Everyone heads into the corn. The teens get out of the corn, and head into the barn. They find Jacob. Allison tells him this is all her fault. Jacob says no, Allison tried to protect him.

Allison asks if Jacob knew about Ezekiel and all the killings. Jacob doesn’t say anything. He tells her they can fight fire with fire. He mentions to storage shed. Then he dies.

Greg and Tyrus find their friend’s car. It won’t start. Greg looks under the hood. Outside, some of the children of the corn realize the teens are in the barn.

Elsewhere (how big is this barn?) Allison wanders around with a flashlight (how did she find it?). She locates fertilizer.

One of the kids outside tries to chop his way into the barn. Tyrus fights him off with a chainsaw.

Tyrus gets attacked (and killed) from behind. The kid picks up the chainsaw and goes after Allison.

Allison runs up to the second level of the barn, hits the kid with a board, and knocks him off the second level and onto some kind of farming thing with lots of sharp points.

Elsewhere in the barn, Greg is lying under the car, trying to fix it. Somehow. He sees shoes on both sides of the car. Two kids come down, one of either side. One has a drill. The other one has a blowtorch.

Greg grabs the torch out of the one kid’s hand, and gets a drill in the leg. He pulls the gas line out of the car, and lights it up with the torch. His final line? “I got your eternal flame right here.”

The barn goes boom. Allison is thrown out of the barn. She goes to get the fertilizer.

In the house, Ezekiel talks to all the kids about how it’s time to get while the getting is good, and join He Who Walks Behind the Rows in a better place.

The kids head outside, where they find Allison climbing up the ladder to the silo, fertilizer in hand. They just stand there, watching and wondering how this tiny chick is carrying 50 pounds of fertilizer up a rickety wooden ladder. She gets up to the top, opens the silo doors, and gets ready to toss the fertilizer in.

Ezekiel attacks her with a metal hook. They grapple. Allison gets the hook, hooks Ezekiel, and throws Ezekiel into the fire. He yells out, “My precious!”

Okay, not really.

Allison throws in the fertilizer. She closes the silo doors. The fire goes “boom,” and she gets knocked off the platform. She grabs the side, and dangles for, like, a second. Then she pulls herself up.

She opens the silo doors. The fire is out.

She goes down the ladder, and finds all the kids on the bottom. Her brother’s baby mama asks if Ezekiel joined He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Another girl asks if they can go. Allison says, “He might have,” and “I don’t think it’s your time yet.”

She and the kids walk away from the silo.

Some time later: Allison rings a doorbell, and a man lets her in. She gets to meet her nephew. Turns out the mom’s name is Lilly. They’re giving the baby to Allison, because Lilly is, you know, a kid. And adoption works that way. (In the movie world.)

The family leaves so that Allison and the kid can get to know each other. Allison sings “Hush Little Baby” to the kid. And we move in his eyes. What’s coming? Come on. You’re a smart one.

Right. Green flames. Kid is totally being possessed. Which means, if we try to follow the timeline of this movie properly, that he will never age. Which should make part six pretty cool, as all the kids try to follow the will of a child incapable of speech.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering

Let’s recap a few endings, here:

Movie 1: There are still kids alive in Gatlin, and a couple who aren’t married take the two normal children off with them.

Movie 2: The couple (though not the kids) are mentioned but never seen, and the remaining kids kill everyone in the next town over. A reporter, his kid, and their respective girlfriends all drive away. Most of the kids live.

Movie 3: At least, one of the kids lives, because he has been around for every major slaughter in Gatlin, because I guess there have been a bunch. His adopted brother lives, as does his girlfriend, but his foster parents are dead, and so are her parents. The evil corn, however, is about to go worldwide.

What we have here are called “dangling plot threads.” If anyone actually cared about any kind of continuity, this movie would trying to tie all these different stories together. But since the only elements anyone seems to think are important are children and corn, well, no one is going to make an attempt.

And I still have no idea what year it is.

What I can tell you is, even the movie doesn’t know what its title is. The box, and the DVD information, say this is “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering.” But the movie itself, as the credits roll, insists that it’s just: “Children of the Corn: The Gathering.”

I realize that kind of thing is nitpicky, but isn’t that why we’re all here?

As our story begins, an older woman is standing inside her house. There’s a boy outside, who holds up his hand. It has a cut in it. He says one word: “Help.”

The kindly matron invites him in, then tells him to go sit down. She goes to the medicine cabinet to get cut-fixing stuff, and knocks over a glass, which shatters in the sink. She is not harmed by this glass in any way.

I find it sad that the movie is desperate to get us to jump this early on in the flick, but can’t afford a black cat to come leaping out at us.

She goes back to the kid and sticks a thermometer in his mouth because he felt hot to her. He starts to tend to the wound, not noticing the sweat dripping off the kid’s brow, or the blood coming out of his mouth.

The kid stands up, the thermometer falls out of his mouth, and it shatters on the floor. She’s gonna need to call a HAZMAT team, get rid of the mercury.

The kid falls over, revealing other bloody patches on his shirt. The woman backs up. The kid starts to turn into… something-or-other. A monster-type thing, I guess.

The woman runs. The monster attacks.

The woman wakes up. Wow. Dream sequence. At the very start of the movie. Perhaps it’s that corn, the stuff that was going bad? Could it be?

Probably not.

The credits roll, and remind us that this series is still, they totally swear for serious, based on a short story by Stephen King.

Eventually, the credits stop rolling over black, and start rolling over footage of a woman in her 20s driving through country and city roads in her car. She reaches the place where the lady who has bad dreams lives, and says, “Welcome home.” To herself.

She greets the bad dreams lady, and we learn our new friend is named Grace. Bad Dreams Lady is her mom.

Then the movie just starts whipping characters at us. We meet Grace’s sister and brother, who are both WAY younger than she is. By maybe 10 years. The kids are named Margaret and James.

Also in the room is “Doc,” who seems to have no other name, but who happens to be sitting with mom when Grace comes in. Doc asks Grace to walk him out. Then we get a flash-cut of mom’s nightmares, because this movie is supposed to be scary, and not a family drama. (Note: These flash-cuts happen CONSTANTLY in this movie. I refuse to mention it every time it happens, because this thing would be twice as long. If you really want the same effect, convince a friend to sneak up behind you and yell BOO at you once every three minutes or so.)

Doc and Grace talk. Mom is scared to go past the end of her walkway. They need to try and fix that. And Grace doesn’t have any money coming in, so Doc says she can have her old job back, working for him.

Jane and Rosa Nock, two women who appear to be about 107 years old, also drop off something in Mom’s mailbox. They’re nice old ladies, it seems.

Doc leaves.

Later that evening, some dude we’ve never seen before walks through a large field of sorghum. No, I’m kidding. It’s corn.

He takes a drink from a bottle filled with hooch, and heads into what appears to be a barn. He breaks into a well in the barn, and brings up a bucket of water. Inside the well is a dead dude, who opens his eyes when the water bucket goes by.

The drunk guy takes a drink of water, but it turns into bugs. So he starts to walk away.

Only he dropped his hooch. So he tries to reach it, but it fell behind some farming equipment.

In the well, the dead dude starts to climb the wall, but then fades out of existence.

In the barn, the drunk starts climbing under the farming equipment. Watch out for falling things made of blades, my friend.

He reaches the bottle, and rolls over. There’s a kid there, with some light burns on his face. The kid slams a scythe through some portion of the dude’s anatomy, but it’s tough to tell which part.

The kid tells the man that “he” will send angels to those who drink strong drink. Then the kid waves his hands around a bit, and a pitchfork, a shovel, and machete, all of which are tied up over the dude’s head on a rafter, fall and impale the drunk in various body parts.

Then he takes a scythe and chops into the guy, as the movie cuts away.

To where? To Grace, who is putting Margaret to bed, while talking to her brother James about Charles Manson.

Margaret confesses that she likes Margaret better than mom.

Grace talks to Mom, and Mom recounts the dream she had about the boy. Grace tells mom to take her medication.

In the barn, the freaky kid-demon-thing collects some blood from the now-very-hacked-up drunk dude. He draws a cross on his hand using the blood. The cross starts on fire. The Demon blows it out.

Margaret moans in her sleep. Grace cleans up the house, complaining that no one there seems to know about recycling. Margaret goes to see Grace. She has a fever. Mom finds Grace. James also has a fever.

Grace’s friend comes to visit. They talk about a bunch of stuff that may or may not be important. But the movie doesn’t bother to tell us the friend’s name, even though we learn she works at a school now.

The next morning, Mom takes the papers to the end of the walkway. Burn-boy is standing in the corn, watching her.

Grace goes to work at Grand Island Community Clinic.

Um… Gatlin, anyone? We appear to have forgotten about it.

Grace tries to get a kid named Michael to stick a thermometer in his mouth. He says no.

The phone rings. There’s a parent with a sick kid on the other end.

Grace looks around the waiting room. There are a ton of sick kids there.

In an actual doctor-place, Doc talks to a kid who has the same thing all the other kids have, plus hemophilia. Wow. That’s going to be a nauseating sequence, when we get back to that kid.

Doc decides to keep the really sick kids at the clinic overnight.

Later that evening, we get a shot of a bottle of pills, and learn that Mom is actually named June, and also yes, they really do live in Nebraska, so at least they got the STATE right, if not the city. That has to count for something, right?

Oh, and her prescription is “Sleeping Pills.” Way to do research, you chucklehead screenwriters. You could have at least made up a drug name.

June takes a pill. Then she takes two more.

Night falls. Demon Kid, who is in the barn again, says, “Come to me.” Then dead drunk guy starts on fire.

We get shots of various kids moaning in their sleep.

At the clinic, Doc and Grace take temperatures. They have four kids, who all have a temp of 103. They’re hot blooded, as the doctors have just checked and saw. (Ye cats, that was a long way to go for a joke.)

The feverish kids call out to their parents in their sleep.

All the kids’ temps keep going up.

Doc tells Grace to prep an ice bath. She does.

Demon-kid does a flashy thing.

Moms everywhere stick their kids in ice baths.

Grace has a vision of Margaret in a bath full of blood.

Margaret kind of flies up in the air and calls to Grace. She falls back on the bed and goes to sleep.

All the kids’ fevers break.

Grace goes home to get some sleep. She walks into her room. There’s someone in her room, and also Demon-kid, who does some freaky stuff and then vanishes.

Grace wakes up. Yet another dream sequence. Fun.

Doc says he’s going home to get some sleep, and tells Grace to keep an eye on the kids.

The next day, Grace and Doc send all the kids home.

June walks to the end of her walkway, saying a Hail Mary. Demon-kid is in the corn. June looks around, but doesn’t seem him.

That night, hemophilia-kid (his name is Marcus) is told to go to bed. He turns off the TV, and sees the reflection of the Demon-kid.

Marcus’s mom goes to tell him to turn off the TV, and he says he won’t be able to go when they move the next day. He opens the curtains to the patio door, revealing three kids who have white makeup on their faces. Are they dead? Demons? No idea.

Mom screams, and someone attacks her with a scythe, first cutting off her fingers and then slashing her up a bit. She screams, but Marcus just stands there, and dad is trapped in another room and can’t help.

Dad finally breaks in, but the scene is over.

Grace puts Margaret to bed, and sees some marks on Margaret. But Margaret claims she wasn’t playing with fire or poison ivy. So Grace leaves.

Back at Marcus’s house, the sheriff grills Marcus’s dad, Donald, about what happened. Marcus, meanwhile, climbs a nearby fence and walks off into the corn. The sheriff gives chase.

The sheriff walks around for a long while, to build tension. And because filming walking around is super-cheap. Finally, the sheriff says he’s going to count to three, and if Marcus doesn’t show up, Marcus is going to be in big trouble.

Marcus doesn’t come. Then Marcus does. He tosses the sheriff a burlap bundle. The sheriff opens it. It’s the drunk guy’s head. The sheriff freaks. Then Demon-kid (at least I guess it’s him, it’s hard to tell, given the only-semi-competent way the flick is shot) jams a scythe through the sheriff.

The sheriff dies.

Demon-boy walks off.

Marcus’s dad goes running through the corn, and finds the sheriff. He keeps on running.

At Grace’s house, Margaret looks for Grace. Grace feels her head. When she pulls her hands away, Margaret has wounds all over her face.

Grace wakes up. She was asleep on Margaret’s bed. Grace sits up. Margaret stabs her. Grace wakes up AGAIN.

Marcus’s dad, Donald, goes to the Nock sisters and says he needs a place to hide. It seems they’ve “heard” about his troubles, though I have no idea how, since they just started like an hour ago.

Regardless, they take Donald in.

The next day, Grace takes some blood from Margaret. She also tries to put some ointment on Margaret’s rash-thing. It hurts Margaret.

Doc shows up, and offers to help out, but Grace blows him off.

Grace drives Margaret to school, so they can listen to the radio and hear the Donald story.

Night falls. Doc goes to leave the office. A mom is there with her twin boys, who are acting all freaky. Among other things, they say that their real names aren’t their names.

Doc says they’re “pulling mom’s leg” and says he’ll keep them overnight, so their mom can get some sleep. Mom leaves. Doc verbally confronts the kids, but they still claim to not be who they are.

The confrontation continues. Turns out, the boys are using the names of a real set of twins that lived in the area years ago. They were killed by their dad. Doc says he’s going to recommend a vigorous spanking for the kids.

June tells Grace that she’s taking the pills, but things just keep on getting worse. The dreams, that is.

Meanwhile, Doc and the twins hash things out the only way they can be hashed out in a horror movie: with violence. There’s a locust. And the kids (including the evil unexplained kid) appear and disappear. It ends with bloody streaks on the door and Doc lying dead on a gurney.

Later that night, Grace goes to the clinic. She looks at a paper and gets all concerned. Then a gurney starts rolling around. Grace prepares to freak out and run. But she gets pulled into a room by Marcus’s dad, who we all pretty much forgot about. He wants to know where the kids are.

There’s some intense verbal sparring that comes out like so: Marcus was “infected” with something, and the blood tests Grace gave her sister don’t make any sense. All the kids have some kind of disease, and Marcus’s dad is of the opinion that what happened to Marcus is going to happen to all the other kids, too.

Dad leaves. Grace stands there, trying to figure out if the plot is too complicated, or nonsensically simple.

The next day, Grace takes more blood from her siblings. Then she drives them to school.

There’s a kid there dribbling a basketball in slow motion, so that it’ll be freaky. Grace goes to open the door for Margaret, and Margaret pulls out one of her teeth and says, “I’m not Margaret.”

At home, June looks out the window and sees a kid coming out of the corn. It’s a little girl. She knocks on the door, and shows June a wound on her elbow. The scene continues as an exact replica of the one at the opening of the movie, only the kid is a girl instead of a boy.

Well, that’s what happens until she gets downstairs, and sees that the girl is now the boy from the start of the movie. She runs out the door, to the end of her walkway, and then stops. The kid breaks a window in her door with a scythe, and she decides that to run is a good plan. She gets into her car and drives away.

Elsewhere, Grace drives her sister and brother to the hospital. Parents are lined up outside with all their kids.

Grace goes in and takes charge, even though she’s not a doctor. For some reason, she knows that Doc is gone, even though she doesn’t have, say, a note from him. Or his corpse.

She deputizes her friend from earlier in the movie as her new nurse.

Grace tells her friend that Margaret is spitting out blood and teeth. In answer, her friend spills an envelope of teeth into Grace’s hand. Grace tells her friend to take blood from the kids, give them gauze to chew on, and to find the Doc.

Out by a barn, Jenny sees her son, James, and pulls over. She goes into the freaky, freaky barn. She calls to James. She walks around.

Something that looks like a wet rope grabs her and drags her towards a pitchfork. The camera cuts away.

Back at the hospital, Grace takes another look at the blood tests and says that they appear to be mixed with “something dead.” She decides to take Margaret to Doc’s to figure out where he is.

Oh, and all the kid’s medical charts are missing. So there’s that.

Grace and Margaret are in the car, ready to drive away, when Donald, Marcus’s dad, shows up again, this time with a shotgun. He tells Grace to leave the kid behind, because he and Grace have “someplace to go.”

Grace tells Margaret to stay with Mary Anne. Which is the name of her friend.

Out in the corn, kids are walking. And not talking.

Grace and Donald go to visit the Nock sisters. They give Grace a picture of traveling preachers. It’s an old picture. The boy in the picture, who was born “of sin” to a young girl.

The preachers took him in, and he became Josiah, The Boy Preacher. It seems he was good at what he did, and made the preachers rich. The only thing was, the preachers would come back, year after year, and the boy was still just a boy.

Wow. That almost ties in with established mythology. That and the fact that it’s the harvest moon.

Back at the hospital, Mary Anne drops a blood sample, and the blood comes out of the test tube and… I can’t really tell. It looks like the blood is vanishing, but it’s unclear what, exactly, is going on.

The Nock sisters continue to talk about the boy who stayed a boy. It seems the traveling preachers did everything in their power to keep him young. Kept him from sleep. Fed him quicksilver. But none of that worked, so they abandoned him.

Er… what now? I thought they did something to keep him young. Kind of a black magic thing? No? That’s right, I’m watching this movie, right now, and typing, right now, and the sisters here have opted to change their story. The boy did NOT stay a boy, after all. The preachers abandoned him, and so he killed them with a scythe.

In turn, the town dragged the boy out into the cornfield and burned him. It seems he screamed way longer than he should have. The next morning, the Nock sisters collected all the bones and ashes of the kid and sealed them up in a well.

Now, Josiah is looking for a “like child,” and once Josiah finds that kid, well, it’s game over for everyone. He’ll take over all the kids.

The Nock sisters tell Grace to “take back the child.”

And who’s the like child? Margaret. Who isn’t Grace’s sister at all. Nope. She’s Grace’s daughter.

At the hospital, Mary Anne is experimenting with the blood samples. Which suddenly all pop their corks and overflow.

Mary Anne tries to run away, only to be attacked with various medical implements. And then killed by a flying scythe.

Grace and Donald make it to the hospital, and Grace runs through the halls calling to Margaret. There’s blood everywhere. Donald sees Mary Anne’s blood experiment, and tries to figure out what was going on. Turns out, the blood is afraid of “quicksilver” – which is actually mercury. There was mercury in Margaret’s filling, which is why her tooth fell out.

Donald asks where the supply closet is.

Back with the Nock sisters, one of them tells the other that “it’s time.” She continues: “Your boy’s come home.”

Out at the freaky barn, kids are gathering, and saying, “I bring him my flesh,” and cutting themselves and bleeding into what looks like a tub full of water.

Grace and Donald throw a bunch of stuff in a vehicle and make tracks. Donald breaks open thermometers and dumps the Mercury inside them into some shotgun shells.

At the barn, Margaret says that the “boy” is going to use her soul to lead them. Then she leans way over the tub o’ water and blood.

Marcus cuts himself, and sits around bleeding. Because, duh, hemophilia.

There’s a lot of shock cuts and chanting, “We bring him our flesh.” A hand reaches out of the water and blood and pulls Margaret under.

Donald and Grace get to the barn. They have two red shells, with mercury in them, and a bunch o’ black shells, which Donald says he “hopes” they don’t have to use to shoot children.

They go into the barn, and see Marcus on the floor. They slip around to somewhere else.

Margaret comes shooting out of the water.

Grace fills up the water tank outside the barn with a compound that has mercury in it. Donald goes to get Marcus. I have no idea how he’s going to accomplish this.

Grace goes back into the barn, carrying the shotgun.

Lucky for Donald, no one is looking at Marcus. So Donald grabs him and runs.
Then all the kids leave. For some reason. Grace calls to Margaret.

Donald takes Marcus to his truck and tries to stop the bleeding. All the kids surround his truck and start doing some damage.

In the barn, the evil kid attacks Grace. So she shoots him. He doesn’t like it.

Outside, the water tank is building pressure. Not quite sure how or why.

Inside the barn, Grace finds one of Margaret’s ribbons. And Doc. Who is still very dead.

Grace reloads the shotgun with black shells. The evil boy attacks. She shoots. He falls. She goes to pull the chain on the sprinklers. He attacks. She falls. She shoots the water tank. It sprays him. His face melts off. The sprinklers fire up.

Grace knocks the evil kid into the tub of water.

Outside, the kids who were attacking Donald’s truck vanish. Marcus wakes up. Donald says he’ll be all right.

Inside the barn, Grace pulls Margaret out of the tub of water, and gives her CPR. Margaret wakes up. She’s okay!

A few days later, Margaret, Grace, James, Donald and Marcus stand over June’s grave. They get ready to part ways. James gets into Grace’s car, and sees a locust, which lands on the window. He stares at it, all freaky-like. We’re supposed to get worried, but then he swats the locust and says, “Let’s go.”

The End? Yes, the end. Well, not really. Three more of these things to go. Let us hope one of them remembers HE WHO WALKS BEHIND THE ROWS. Which this flick did NOT.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest

I guess that final sacrifice wasn’t so final, eh?

The number of issues raised by the last couple of films has sort of piled up, so let’s see if we can sort through them before we get going here.

First: What happened to Burt and Vicky and the kids? I presume they’re still alive and well somewhere, right? Or perhaps not? Did another family member ever come and get the kids?

Second: What about all the kids from the two towns filled with dead parents? I presume John (and crew) “got their story out” into the world and let them know there were a few dozen kids who needed new homes. And a whole lot of treatment.

Third: Whatever became of John, Angela, Dan and Lacey? Even the two guys who were related to each other barely knew each other. And while they were all thrust together by these horrible circumstances, it’s doubtful they were able to keep things together.

I think there’s probably a solid drama in there somewhere. A sort of Lifetime movie wherein this tossed-together family tries to make it work after all they’ve been through. Or perhaps a CW series.

(Okay, this is freaking me out, because it kind of sounds like a good idea.)

There’s one final issue: He Who Walks Behind the Rows.

Rows didn’t seem to be dead, which would mean that the cleansing fire didn’t exactly do its job. That means that the creature, whatever it is, is still out there in the corn, and whoever comes to deal with it is probably going to have some serious problems.

All in all, despite the somewhat lackluster source material, there are a lot of interesting directions this could take. And it chooses?

Looks like none of them, as we open up in, naturally, a corn field.

A sign welcomes us to Gatlin, population 123. And then the movie welcomes us to a trailer home, and a drunk guy, who is calling out to someone named, “Joshua.”

Dude’s carrying a sickle, by the way. And it’s dark. So I doubt this dude wants to give Joshua a pony.

We see a kid running through the corn, and also the dude, who is walking through the corn, chopping it down with the sickle.

Joshua (I guess) ends up in front of a scarecrow, and another kid, Eli steps out from behind it. Eli knows the older man is drunk, and tells Joshua to go ahead, because Eli is the only one who can handle the older dude.

Despite the fact that Eli is clearly a few years younger than Joshua, Joshua takes off.

The man comes up, and Eli asks why the man would hurt “my brother.” Eli says he’d never hurt the man, “Even for this.” “This” is a suitcase. Eli walks to the scarecrow, and picks up a book from between its feet. The book is kind of bible-looking.

Then Eli walks away.

The man walks to the suitcase, and then the corn makes its move, attacking the man. It grabs all his limbs, and pulls on them. A cross pops up out of the ground. The corn ties the man to the cross, and then little vines sew up his lips and eyes.

Eli holds up his book, and tells something to “watch over this.”

Joshua comes back out of the corn, and tells Eli they have to go. He’s willing to let the man hurt himself, but not Eli. Eli picks up the suitcase and they go.

Joshua does not notice the “new scarecrow” behind him.

The book sinks into the ground.

In a bus station in Chicago, an older couple named William and Amanda meets their two new foster children: Joshua and Eli.

They’re introduced by their social worker.

Amanda and William take the kids home and show them around. Joshua picks up some glass art, and William asks him to put it down, because it’s very expensive. Joshua accidentally drops it, and William is kind of upset.

But Amanda says it’s no big deal, and that they should all eat.

So they go downstairs, and William brings out one pizza for a family of four. It’s clear they’ve never fed boys before. Two pizzas would be better. Three would not be a mistake.

William is about to eat, but Eli wants to say grace first. So: “Let us give thanks to He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Who protects our crops, and keeps the infidel and unbeliever in the torments of hellfire eternal. Amen.”

Amanda and William are, like, “Whoa,” but they let it go.

After dinner, William shows them the backyard. It’s small, because they live in Chicago, and Eli is non-plussed because they don’t grow corn. Which Eli thought they did.

Turns out that, no, William is a commodities trader. He SELLS corn. Yes, this really will be important.

Joshua sees some kids through the fence and goes to check it out. Turns out it’s a guy and a girl, and they’re playing basketball. Joshua and the other kids don’t understand each other’s native dress. It’s vaguely comical.

William calls Joshua back home, and explains you can’t just talk to strangers.

Upstairs, Amanda unpacks the kid’s stuff. One suitcase is all clothes. The other one is bugs. When Amanda opens it. When William opens it, it’s fresh corn, which William notes is pretty good stuff. Because he sells corn, y’know.

Which reminds me – what became of the poison corn in Gatlin? And who was this dude in the trailer, with the two kids he was going to beat? Did no one go looking for him when Joshua and Eli came around looking for new parents?

I’m a bit puzzled by how the screenwriter thinks the adoption process works.

Later that evening, William and Amanda fool around. Amanda feels a little uncomfortable with it, since there are kids in the house. But they’re clearly both excited to be parents.

They go to check and make sure the kids are asleep, and find Joshua and Eli asleep in the same bed.

They leave.

Joshua and Eli open their eyes. Joshua is worried he’s screwed things up with the new family already. Poor guy.

Night falls a little more. Eli goes out to the garden, slips through the fence outside, and goes to an old, abandoned construction site. Then he uses his magical abilities to plant corn.

William is lying there, awake, so he puts the moves on Amanda. Suddenly, there’s black stuff on Amanda’s lips. She gets up, and spits it in the sink. Then she’s falling into a hole that Eli just dug.

Amanda wakes up. Dream sequence!

I don’t know that the planting thing required an extra dream sequence to make it creepy.

The next day, William tells his boss that he deserves a promotion. His boss tells him that he’s too impatient.

Amanda gives some new clothes to Joshua. Joshua is happy with his new duds. Or he seems to be, until Eli walks up to him.

When Amanda talks to the boys again, a moment later, Eli explains that modest clothing blah blah blah pious life not nice to poor kids blah. Amanda is confused, but doesn’t want to hurt her new sons’s feelings. So she says okay.

Amanda takes the kids to school, and introduces them to Father Frank Nolan, the principal. He takes them and shows them to their homerooms. Obviously, they stick out a little.

They get to Joshua’s homeroom, and then try to take Eli elsewhere, but he gets all cuh-rank!-ay! about it.

Amanda asks to speak to Nolan outside.

Joshua tries to be sort of apologetic, but really, it looks like an abusive-spouse relationship, where one partner is always like, “No, really, when he’s not drinking, he’s a GREAT guy.”

Amanda and Nolan leave. Eli goes to sit down. One of the kids tries to verbally abuse him. Joshua comes to his defense. A switchblade comes out.

The girl who lives next to William and Amanda comes to their defense, with, “What are you gonna do? Cut an Amish kid?”

The dude says he’s going to cut her, and the boy from yesterday says, no way, that’s my sister, there will be NO cutting today, sir!

The boy and girl are Malcolm and Maria, by the by.

Nolan comes back in, and everyone settles down and goes back to their seats. Except Eli. Nolan tells Eli he has to go to HIS room. Eli complies without whining this time.

Later, the high school kids play basketball. It’s clear Joshua longs to play. Maria comes over to talk to Joshua. She tells him not to taunt T-Loc, the dude with the knife.

Maria tells Malcolm to let Joshua play basketball. Joshua, as it turns out, is really good.

Eli arrives, and a growly voice in his head expresses displeasure over Joshua playing the evil game of basketball. Joshua sees his angry spouse is there, and says he has to go.

That night, Eli accuses Joshua of leaving him, and then “playing their games.” He essentially says, that if Joshua loves him, he won’t play basketball with them.

Montage! Eli talks all crazy to his corn while we see life go on. Joshua starts wearing regular clothes and hanging out with Malcolm and Maria.

Amanda catches Eli sneaking back through the fence. It seems that her plants are dying around the fence-hole.

She goes through the fence-hole, to the abandoned construction site, and finds the huge plot of corn. She goes to steal and ear of corn. She checks it out. It’s pretty good.

As she walks away, another ear of corn sprouts in its place. Evil Corn-Cam starts tracking her. She freaks out and runs. She goes into the building next to the construction site, and bumps into a homeless dude.

Homeless dude is, like, “CORN!” and he goes to the corn patch.

The next night, Amanda and William discuss the corn patch. Amanda wants William to cut it down. William thinks that’s kind of crazy. But he says he’ll look at it.

Homeless dude eats an ear of corn. The corn fights back.

The next day, William goes to the corn patch. He hears someone. It’s Eli, who says, “Boo!”

Eli asks if William wants to try the corn. William tries the corn. It’s delicious. And growing in terrible soil. And Eli grew it in four weeks. He says his “Papa” developed the strain. Eli says he sort of helped.

William tells Eli that the corn is worth a lot of money. Eli tells him, “You reap what you sow.”

I have no idea what Eli means by this. Unless he’s just being literal.

William and Eli head back to the house, while a few corn vines (roots? What ARE those things?) pull the homeless dude’s head under the ground.

Later, Eli wanders the school hallways. He comes to the place where the food is cooked. He’s holding some corn seeds. Kernels? No clue. Regardless, he sets them on a counter, and they turn into cockroaches.

Eli leaves.

The roaches invade. Silently.

Later, at lunch, Joshua sits with Malcolm and Maria. Malcolm asks why Eli doesn’t join them. So Joshua goes to invite Eli over. Eli wants Joshua to join him, instead of joining “that.”

Malcolm and Maria, by the way, are ethnically ambiguous. So every time someone gets all, “Hey, be careful around those types,” you kind of think, “Maybe it’s just racism.” But you can’t really be sure. It’s weird that way.

Joshua tells Eli that, “That” is a friend, and Eli should make some. Eli says, “Maybe I will.”

In his office, Nolan coughs up a roach. And some vomit. On his bible.

That night, Nolan dreams about the first big killing sequence in part 1. He wakes up, and finds that his bible is spattered with red gore.

The next day, Nolan gives a sermon on Joseph, and his dreams, and how though Joseph’s brothers hated him, and sold him, Joseph’s dreams were accurate. (For those who want to know more, be sure to watch “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” or “The Ballad of Little Jo.” Or, you know, READ THE BIBLE. The story is in Genesis.)

Eli talks during the sermon, telling Joshua that Joshua is right, Eli needs to make friends.

Nolan asks if the sermon bores Eli, and he says yes. Nolan invites Eli to do better, so Eli stands up and starts talking. About Joseph. So he starts saying that Joseph was a child, and that Joseph loved the land.

Then he goes off on a pollution tangent. It seems his “adult” brothers polluted things. Strangely, Eli doesn’t mention Joseph’s little brother. I guess that guy was okay.

Nolan figures that’s enough for one day, and sends Eli to his office.

At the office, Nolan says that when Eli is ready to apologize, Nolan will be in his classroom. Eli asks Nolan if Nolan “liked the soup.” Creepy sounds go on in the background.

Punishment note: Eli is sitting in Nolan’s office, arms held out, holding up three or four books on each hand. That looks less than fun.

Out in the hall, Malcolm is all, “I didn’t know your brother was a preacher,” to Joshua.

Joshua says that Eli got it from his dad. Not their dad. As he explains: “I’m sorry, I thought I told you. He’s my adopted brother.”

So… Eli and Joshua, not brothers by blood. So who was the dude at the start of the movie? Joshua’s birth dad, and Eli’s adopted dad? When did the kid get adopted? And where’s mom?

A better question: What YEAR is it? Part 1 came out in 1984, and 2 came out in 1992. But clearly, 2 happened shortly at 1 did. And all the kids that we saw across the two towns (and there weren’t a lot of them – maybe a couple dozen, tops) were pretty old.

Eli is in some version of middle school, so this movie can’t be taking place all that long after the previous one, right? It came out in 1995, which implies three years have gone by. In a timeline sense, I guess it works, anyway.

In her office, the social worker, who appears to be working rather late, makes a call to William and Amanda. She found some newspaper stories about Gatlin, it seems. She leaves a message saying that she has some information that concerns Eli.

Eli, it turns out, heard the message the social worker left on the machine. He goes upstairs, opens his suitcase, and takes out a candle. He lights it. He blows it out.

At the social worker’s office, the lights go out. The social worker lights her lighter, then drops it. She goes to pick it up, and there’s Eli.

She freaks, runs back to her office, and calls the police. At first, she gets a “Thanks for calling 911” kind of message, but then it ends with, “And the unbelievers shall be cleft in twain.”

The social worker lights a cigarette, to calm her nerves or something. Instead, the lighter flares up, and the flames jump into her mouth, setting her on fire, internally. Or maybe it’s just the Mexican she had for lunch. Caliente!

She screams, she turns around, she looks through the window behind her as she dies with her head on fire. Eli is there, laughing. The little scamp.

The next day, Joshua and Eli get ready to head to school. Joshua gets a kiss on the cheek. Eli asks for one as well. When he gets one, he sticks his tongue in Amanda’s ear. Then he says, “Bye, mom.”

Is it wrong that this makes me more nauseated than the head-on-fire from a minute ago?

Amanda calls William, as she’s clearly ready to freak out. William tells his receptionist that she’s in a meeting. When that doesn’t work, he tells the receptionist to tell Amanda that he’s out.

William hangs up the phone, and hands an ear of corn to some dude, so he can tell the dude how awesome the corn is. Turns out he’s talking to someone outside his company. He’s going to use the corn to get what he wants.

Back at the house, Amanda hangs out outside, clearly feeling un-good about what just happened. She decides to take action. She’s gonna cut the ear-licker’s corn down.

But no. In class, Eli is using crayons (in middle school?) to color a picture of Amanda. If you know what I mean.

It’s sad, really. Amanda hasn’t actually done anything TO Eli. Poor woman.

Amanda takes her gardening sheers and tries to cut down a corn stalk, but it won’t cut. She checks the blade for sharpness and cuts herself a little. Yep. Sharp.

Then she turns her back on the corn (bad idea!) and the corn grabs her and yanks her into the “field.” Her shoes fall off, and she gets up and runs. She gets into the warehouse, backs up, trips on a pipe, falls, and impales the back of her head on a water pipe.

Water flows out of her mouth. Then blood.

And back to Eli’s picture. Amanda is crossed out.

Later, we see William, post-funeral. He’s sad. Eli goes to him, and they hold each other. Eli is smiling.

Nolan has a nightmare again, which allows the filmmakers to reuse the footage of the doctor getting stabbed with needles in Part II.

The next day, Nolan sees Eli talking to some kids at school. Or preaching at them, I guess. It’s all ominous and such.

Elsewhere, Joshua and Maria talk. Joshua found Eli’s drawing, which for some reason he took home and stuck under their bed.

Maria says Joshua should show it to William. Joshua thinks William will assume that Joshua drew it. Uh… Why would that be? Because of the broken glass thing at the start of the movie?

Maria then suggests that he could show it to Nolan. Joshua doesn’t want to do that, either. Because after all, he and Eli are brothers.

Maria reminds Joshua that they’re “adopted” brothers. Joshua does her a favor and doesn’t punch her right in the face for being ignorant.

She realizes the error of her ways and starts kissing him. Later, they’re back at her house. There’s more kissing. She starts running him through the bases. Quite literally. Her shirt comes off. He asks about a possible home run.

Malcolm walks in at that moment. He says NAY!

Later, Joshua and Malcolm try to talk it out. Malcolm still says NAY! He doesn’t want Maria involved with a family like Joshua’s. He points out that school is out, and they’re on the basketball court, and no one is there. Where are they?

Why, they’re all watching Eli preach over at the abandoned warehouse-o-death.

T-Loc shows up. Things get tense. Eli pushes him and runs to the corn.

T-Loc follows Eli. Oh, T-Loc. If only you hadn’t randomly gotten angry at Eli again after the passage of several months and decided, out of the blue, that Eli must be stopped.

Anyway, T-Loc ends up on the ground, and the mouth of the homeless man that’s been sitting there all this time bites down on T-Loc’s hand. T-Loc freaks out. He asks for help. Eli says, “Let us pray.”

And now, it’s sermon time again. Nolan, who is clearly losing it now, finishes a lesson on Revelation, and screams out, “Does anyone have any questions?” We get a shot of a bunch of students, sitting there, stone-faced. Including Charlize Theron, in her first film role. You get to see her for half a second.

Suddenly, Eli starts whistling. Just a single note. Everyone else starts doing it, too. Nolan walks out. Eli starts laughing manically. Everyone else follows his lead.

In the cafeteria, Nolan tries to explain to another priest that things are bad. Real bad. Only the other priest points out there’s no smoking, no fighting, and things in general are way better these last few weeks.

Eli sits at a table and preaches about how Noah wasn’t so great, but his kids were pretty awesome.

Which I suppose you could agree with, only the story goes that Noah was 500 years old when he had his kids, and 600 years old when he built the Ark. Which would make his kids about 100.

I guess everything is relative. No pun intended.

Malcolm sits down to lunch with Joshua, and says, hey, it’s cool. Clearly you and Eli are not the same type of people. He asks what happened to Eli’s parents. Joshua says Eli claimed they “disappeared.” Neither Joshua nor Malcolm seem to believe it.

That night, William looks over a paper that says, no lie, “Corn Export Countries” at the top of it.

Joshua heads out the door, and William sort of tells Joshua it’s too late to go out, but it’s clear that he doesn’t care all that much about anything except the corn right now. So he doesn’t chase him.

Eli comes in, and William and Eli talk about the super-awesome corn. Eli is way happy that children will be getting some evil corn.

Joshua walks around outside, thinking about his talk with Malcolm. He goes to confront Eli, asking what happened to his (meaning Joshua’s) father.

Eli says that he made sure dad would never hurt Joshua again.

Joshua stomps off, all mad about his dead dad.

Nolan has another dream sequence, where a bunch of hooded kids traps some parent-looking people in their bed and set fire to the bed. Then the bed is in a corn field. Eli takes off his hood.

Nolan wakes up. He sees Eli. Eli attacks.

Nolan wakes up again. Double dream sequence!

That morning, the UPS guy drops off a package for Amanda. Since she’s currently dead, Joshua signs for it.

He opens it.

Moments later, he goes next door and knocks on Malcolm’s window. Malcolm lets him in.

In the chapel, Nolan asks God for help. Eli is, of course, sitting in the back of the chapel.

In Malcolm’s bedroom, Joshua finally allows the screenwriter to attempt to fill in all the stuff in the movie that doesn’t make any sense.

Joshua’s dad moved them to Gatlin when Joshua was 14, because land was cheap there. Due to, you know, some bad stuff that happened there. Apparently, Dad needed the land to work on his “corn experiments.” No, really.

Joshua pulls out the newspapers – not photocopies, mind you, but actual copies of the newspapers that feature a) Gatlin killings, and b) Eli. The first one is from 1964.

Yeah, that’s right. 1964.

He gives Malcolm some other clippings from the 60s and 70s, while talking about how Social Services keeps “good track of their orphans.” Right. Because Eli here has been walking around as a pre-teen for 30 years, and no one has noticed. That’s great record-keeping.

Point being, there have been a bunch o’ murders in Gatlin over the years, and they all happened on a Harvest Moon.

And there’s going to be a Harvest Moon (gasp!) tonight! They need to go talk to Nolan!

At the chapel, Nolan asks Eli who Eli is. Eli says, “Father. As if you didn’t know.”

Nolan throws a Bible at Eli. Eli grabs it and tears it in half with his bare hands. He demands that Nolan pray TO him. Nolan says no.

So Eli puts one of his crosses on the altar, which shoots a whole bunch of light out of it. This hurts Nolan.

We cut over to Joshua and Malcolm, so we can cut back, so we don’t have to see how Nolan ended up upside-down on a cross. We get some banter, so that the audience can learn that the only way to harm Eli is by harming Eli’s special bible. Which is currently still in a field in Gatlin.

Eli leaves. Joshua and Malcolm arrive just in time for Nolan to die while telling them to get Eli’s bible. Somehow, Joshua remembers that Eli’s bible is back in Gatlin.

A mere 9 ½ hour drive away. Really. I looked it up.

Maria goes to see Joshua. He’s not there. But Eli is.

In his office, William signs some contracts with some dudes. People shake hands.

In his house, Eli pulls out some corn and says it’s time for dinner. Then his voice gets all evil as he informs Maria that her parents are expecting them.

Malcolm and Joshua arrive at Joshua’s old trailer home. They get some sickles and head out into the corn field. Joshua remembers that the bible is at the foot of the scarecrow. But there are two of them. So they each take one.

At Maria’s house, her parents eat the evil corn. Eli and Maria (who is in a trance) tell Maria’s parents they’re going to be the first. First what?

The first people eaten from the inside out by cockroaches.

Back in Gatlin, Joshua and Malcolm play “Digging for Bibles.” Malcolm doesn’t find one.

Joshua does. Unfortunately, his dead dad turns into a living-dead scarecrow dad. Joshua runs. Into Malcolm. Then they run again.

Joshua and the world’s angriest scarecrow duel with sickles. Joshua wins. But he drops the bible.

Malcolm goes to get it, and the corn attacks him. And rips his head off.

Joshua grabs the bible and runs. He takes Malcolm’s car and drives through the corn to another road. He’s on his way back.

Now according to both Mapquest and the movie we’re watching, it takes a REALLY long time to make this drive. 9 ½ hours or so. Joshua and Malcolm were up very early (according to the movie we’re watching) and drove until after dark to get to Gatlin.

And now, also under the cover of dark, Eli is doing his preaching thing in voiceover while kids sneak out of their houses to join him.

Out on the highway, Joshua passes a sign that says Chicago is 70 miles away.

William gets home. He’s all drunk and carrying a bottle of rich-man hooch.

In the corn patch, Eli gives a bunch of kids crosses that join them to He Who Walks Behind the Rows.

Then, some more crazy-preaching by the corn. Although he supposedly cleaned up the school completely, and eliminated all basketball playing, I’m gonna guess there are maybe 20 kids there. Ah, low-budget filmmaking. What are you gonna do?

Oh, and there’s Charlize again.

While I’m pausing: Why do the kids have torches?

William shows up, and Eli tells him that it’s, “Time to rest.” Then he puts a sickle through William’s chest.

William yells out, “Eli!” and falls over.

And here comes Joshua. He tells Eli that he thinks he has to destroy Eli and the bible at the same time. He’s under the impression that Eli is like a worm. It seems that worms have two halves, and if you kill one half, the other half lives.

So. Whoever wrote this thing needs to get on his lawyer about suing J. K. Rowling over the concept of Horcruxes, I think.

At any rate, Voldemort – no, sorry – Eli shoots fire out of his sickle that knocks Joshua to the ground. He goes to shoot him again, and Joshua uses the bible to block the fire.

Eli runs into the corn. Joshua follows. The only problem is, the director forgets to actually make the corn field menacing, so it looks like what it is. About 15 stalks across, with lots of space between the rows. It’s about as scary as walking through a field of puppies.

Out of nowhere, Eli shoots more fire at Joshua. Joshua continues to defend himself with the Horcrux.

Eli now has full-on evil voice. He runs into the corn field with Maria in tow, sickle to her throat. Joshua throws Eli the book. Eli fumbles it, then picks it up.

Joshua grabs the sickle, which fell on the ground, and drives it through both the book and Eli. Eli goes up in a burst of bad animation. The animation hits all the kids. They wake up. The director gives us another shot of Charlize.

T-Loc goes to grab his butterfly knife off the ground, and a huge hand reaches out of the dirt, grabs T-Loc, and pulls him into the earth.

We get some of that classic rolling dirt action. Then the camera looks away. Then it looks back.

And what have we got? A gigantic, badly superimposed, rubber creature. With three eyes. Corn vines (seriously, what ARE those things?) start grabbing some of the kids.

Joshua sees that Charlize is down, and goes to save her. The corn knocks Joshua aside. Charlize dies.

Maria grabs the sickle, and starts cutting vines.

Kids run. Kids die.

Maria takes the sickle and drives it into the puppet’s tail. The puppet turns around and grabs her with its tongue. Maria turns into a Barbie doll. I’m 99% sure this is just a really bad special effect.

Yep, she’s human in the close-up shots.

Joshua, who is tied to a wall, in a standing position, uses his booted feet to pick up a sickle and cuts one of the vines tethering his wrists. Then he cuts his other wrist free.

The creature swallows Maria.

Joshua gets knocked through a brick wall by the creature’s tail. This doesn’t stop him.

Meanwhile, Maria slides down the creature’s throat, and into its tail.

Joshua gets up and hacks off the end of the creature’s tail with his sickle, freeing Maria.

Joshua says, “We’ve got to cut the root.”

Ah. I see. The tail is actually a “root.”

They cut the root. The creature dies. Some of the teenagers survive because of this.

Joshua and Maria start walking away, presumable to call the cops and explain a bunch of dead teens, a hideous beast, and some corn.

A few days later, we see a couple of dudes we haven’t seen before at a shipyard. They open up a crate that just got taken off ship boat. What’s in it? Corn.

One dude turns to another and says, “This is just the beginning. Soon we’ll be shipping all over the world.”

The camera pans back to the corn. Ominous singing occurs. An animated sickle clears the screen.

The end.

Good twist right? Gonna be an awesome part IV, where Joshua and Maria go on a worldwide corn destruction spree to save the people of earth.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice

A lot of horror movies leave a little loose end in the final moments of the flick, not because they want to make a part II (though I’m sure they do), but because they need that final scare. Consider:

Friday the 13th: The kid in the water.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy drags mom away.

It’s Alive: There’s another one in Seattle.

It’s that final horror movie sting that sort of says, “Well, we CAN do another one. If you like this one.”

But in the case of “Children of the Corn,” there are a TON of loose ends. As Burt and Vicky head out of town, they’ve got a couple of supposedly normal kids with them. They’ve got to bear serious emotional scars, though. And what happens when their extended family members find out what happened to them?

What about all those kids currently in town? They all need to find places to live. And probably be deprogrammed. Don’t get me wrong, Burt’s “a real religion has love in it” speech was nice, but these kids killed their parents. With sharp objects.

And while most of the kids scattered at the end, there are at least a few of them who kind of held onto the idea of being evil. The girl in the car, for example.

Plus, there was that giant animated thing that was also under the ground sometimes. Assuming that was He Who Walks Behind the Rows, well, that makes him the villain, and villains never really die in horror movies.

Point being, there are a LOT of places that this movie could go, and some of them could be very interesting. They could even do something of a redo of the first plot, as doctors try to explain to the kids that a giant thing under the ground doesn’t exist. Until, you know, the thing shows up and starts eating people.

As the movie begins, we don’t get anything like that. Instead, we get some kinda-sorta animated shots of a corn field, with credits and sweet music playing. It was kind of confusing. I sort of expected the title to pop up as “Field of Dreams 2,” instead of “Children of the Corn II.”

I also have to laugh at the subtitle: “The Final Sacrifice.” People really need to learn to not use titles like that, because they are always, always, always wrong. This is part II of seven. Seven! They should have at least called it “The Sacrifice Semi-Finals.”

Finally, the credits end, and we get a shot of a cellar, with wooden steps, and a light pouring down from the door above. It’s the kind of shot a director would be really proud to have as his or her opening shot.

A man comes down the stairs, holding a flashlight. Someone else comes down behind him.

The goofiness starts right away. Every time the flashlight beam plays across the camera, there’s a big SWOOSH noise. Someone needs to have a talk with the sound editor about appropriate behavior.

The two dudes find a bunch of dead bodies. Including one that falls and swings at the camera. Good timing, dead body. I’m sure you’ve been waiting for your moment in the sun.

So, we’re about three minutes in, here, and we’ve already got a major contradiction. Sarah claimed that all the adults were “out in the corn field.” This is not a corn field.

I guess we could assume that Sarah just wasn’t all that bright. (We can also assume that we aren’t going to get any of our original actors back. The first movie came out in 1984, and this second one came out in 1992.)

(Which I just realized causes an interesting dilemma. What year is it? This movie starts probably a day or two after the last one ended. But it took eight years to get made. So what’s the time frame?)

The movie bumps over to a news reporter, so we can get a little backstory for all the people who decided to skip part I, and jump right on over to this here second part. Essentially, we’re in Gatlin, Nebraska, there are over 50 dead people (though they haven’t all been recovered) and the kids did it.

The reporter talks to the guy who found the bodies, but he’s too overwhelmed to say anything. The reporter moves on to the kids, one of whom says he just saw corn.

Then he talks to a cop, who says the kids were under the influence of some “teenagers.” Yeah, we know how that goes. Get some kids in front of teenagers, and the next thing you know, it’s mass murder for everybody.

I have a question, though. Who’s this guy who decided to check out the barn? Where is that barn, exactly? And why did it take everyone three years to realize that every adult member of the town was wiped out?

The cop does mention the “couple” who passed through town. So I guess Burt and Vicky made a phone call.

The reporter talks to more kids who, “Saw the corn.”

Now it’s time to introduce some more characters. So we go over to a vehicle somewhere on the highway and meet John and Dan. John is the dad. Dan is the son. They don’t like each other much, as it appears John has been an absentee father.

John points out to Dan that John is going to be in trouble if he doesn’t do some kind of job.

Now it’s back to Gatlin, where we get to watch a doctor examine each kid before putting them on a bus. And by examine, I mean he has them say, “Ah,” and then he sticks a tongue depressor in their mouth. Then he gives them a sucker and they get on the bus.

Meanwhile, in Soap Opera Car, Dan tells John that the only reason he’s with John right now is that his mom didn’t want Dan around for her wedding. It seems he doesn’t get along with his stepfather-to-be. A dude named Sherman. Remember that name, I’m sure it will be not at all important later.

Back in Gatlin, a Mrs. Burke rides up on her bike and tries to prevent the bus with all the kids on it from driving away. It seems that she lives in the next town over – which is where all the kids are going to be placed in foster care until someone can figure out what to do with them on a more permanent basis.

Mrs. Burke notes, correctly, that all the adults on Gatlin are dead, and that if the kids are all shipped to another town, it’s going to happen all over again.

Another, younger, woman tries to convince Mrs. Burke that the people responsible for the murders are dead now, and that Mrs. Burke should take in some of the kids.

Mrs. Burke says she’s taking her house, and getting out of there.

That’s a really, really screwy thing to do, and yet you have to admit Mrs. Burke is right. Unfortunately, she made all these statements in full view of one of the kids. Which means, tragically, that the smartest person in this movie isn’t going to make it to the end.

More’s the pity.

And now the characters start crossing paths. As the reporter we saw earlier heads out of town, he bumps into John and Danny, driving into town. The reporter tells John that the kids killed all the parents, and then mocks John. A lot. It appears that John has been writing for the tabloids, and perhaps done some other shoddy journalism.

I’m not really sure if the movie wants us to feel bad for John, or if we’re supposed to write him off as being a pretty sucky person. Ah, well. At least we got some backstory, and people’s feelings got hurt.

John and Dan head to Gatlin.

The reporter and his driver/cameraman head the opposite direction, but have some problems finding the highway. So they head into a cornfield.

I sure hope they already got their footage to their office in some way, because their van isn’t going to make it back. At least, not with them in it.

John and Dan arrive in town, and pretty much everyone is gone except for the nice woman who tried to convince Mrs. Burke that these kids totally aren’t going to kill them. And the kid she’s taking in.

John asks her is he can ask her a couple questions. She says she doesn’t want to talk about it. He asks if he can ask one question. Really, he’s already up to two, so he should be tapped out.

Regardless, the woman says okay: One. John looks at her shirt, which says, “Come Sleep with Me.” She owns a bed and breakfast. John asks if she knows where they can find a bed and breakfast. Nonplussed, she says she has one room, and they can follow her.

So everyone gets in their vehicles and drives away.

Back with the reporter and his driver, well, things aren’t going too good. They’re still driving through the path in the middle of the corn, and they aren’t finding their way out. So they stop their news van, and stand up, looking to see where they might find an actual road.

In the sky, an animated cloud does ominous cloud-things.

On the ground, Evil Corn-Cam watches the two men. You can tell it’s evil because the screen gets all reddish. Reporter and Driver decide to drive away, but the van. Won’t. Start.

The driver says, “It looks like a twister!” so the reporter tells him to get out of the van. They both do.

The wind pushes the driver into the corn, and hits him with little blue animated shocks. Then the corn cuts his throat.

The reporter pushes himself around to the driver’s side of the news van, and gets back in. He tries to start the van.

And then, I swear, a stalk of corn comes shooting out of the corn field, blasts through the windshield, and impales the reporter.

The windstorm stops instantly.

Since those two guys obviously aren’t going to be doing anything in the near future, the movie hops over to the bed and breakfast, where Dan, John, the woman who runs the place (Angela) and Freaky Kid are eating dinner.

Angela goes to clear the plates, and Dan helps, because his dad wants him to, and because you should always help the people you’re paying to make your food clean your plates when you’re done.

Really. The next time you go to a nice eatery, be sure to ask the busboy if you can borrow his bussing bin, and run the dishes back. It’s the right thing to do.

While Dan and Angela are gone, John quickly asks Micah, the Freaky Kid, if “he saw anything.” Micah says, “Some of it.” John asks, “Like what?”

Micah says he saw the corn, which I’m getting kind of tired of hearing, and then Micah goes a little further, and says, “Their blood was for the corn.”

Except, of course, for all the dead bodies in the cellar of that barn. Their blood was for the cellar.

Angela comes out and tells John to leave Micah alone. She asks who he writes for, anyway.

Dan pipes up. “The World Enquirer. He’s a rag-man.”

John explains that he used to work for Newsweek, but he got into a disagreement with an editor who he categorizes as “incompetent.” He chalks this up to youthful indiscretion.

Dan continues to harangue him, so John tells him to go outside so they can talk.

Then it all comes out. John flat-out tells John that he was a mistake that John made when he was 17 years old, and Dan need to deal with that fact in any way he can. Because ultimately, Dan needs to figure out who he is and what he’s going to be.

Let’s discuss character empathy for a second, here.

The major problem with John is that the main fact we have about him is this: He’s an absent father. He made a mistake, and then failed to step up and own that mistake.

Now, he’s also got other traits. He’s a reporter, but I guess he’s either not a good one, or perhaps he liked to go a little heavy on the details that weren’t actually, you know, true. Or maybe he was just a big jerk when he was younger, and he burned all his bridges.

Additionally, the first time he encounters a female in the movie, the dude checks out her shirt area. Which isn’t his fault. There was writing there. Saucy writing, no less.

So I want to feel for the guy, but in order to do it, you have to pretend that he’s been trying to fix his life, which may or may not be the case.

As for Dan, well, he doesn’t get along with his dad or his step-dad to be, so he’s kind of hard to tolerate.

These are our heroes for the next 80 minutes or so.

Here’s hoping they learn how to love.

As for right now, Dan says he’s on the next bus out of here. He walks to a bus stop. Good luck with that, dude. Evil Corn-Cam watches him.

A girl drives up on a moped. A really cute girl. Age appropriate. Dan says he’s waiting for the next bus. She tells him that the bus isn’t coming until Tuesday.

Also, how’s the dude going to buy a ticket? There’s no bus station.

Later that night, John talks into his tape recorder. He tries to write stuff down. Then he hears someone talking outside.

He looks at the corn field through his window. Micah is out there, calling to his friends. Evil Corn-Cam approaches. Micah runs.

He gets shot with lightning.

Elsewhere in the field, a bunch of other kids sit around a campfire. One of them asks Mordechai what they should do. Mordechai says they should wait for He Who Walks Behind the Rows to tell them what the do next.

Mordechai says that a leader will come out of the corn. The kid he’s talking to keeps challenging him, says there’s nothing but corn out there, and that Isaac is dead, and that everything was supposed to be revealed once the adults were all gone, but it didn’t happen.

He goes on to say that everyone is going to leave, when suddenly Micah walks out of the corn.

Micah says a bunch of crazy stuff, and I would transcribe it all, but it doesn’t make even a little sense. Eventually, he tells all the kids to go home and wait for a sign.

Out in the cornfield, Dan walks along a dirt path. He sees all the kids walking out of the corn. He turns around and bumps into Micah. Micah says, “It’s fun to play at night.” Because that explains why all the members of a former cult are sitting in a corn field under the cover of darkness.

Micah asks what Dan is doing, and Dan says he was going to leave, but then he met this girl. Micah knows her. Turns out her name is Lacey.

Why in the world does Micah know Lacey? Lacey lives in a town something like 20 miles away from Micah, and rides a moped, which I’m sure was forbidden in Gatlin. There is quite literally no reason they should even be aware of one another.

But whatever. Dan and Micah both decide to go home.

The next morning, John goes to visit Mrs. Burke, whose house is already up on blocks, ready to be moved away. That woman doesn’t waste any time at all.

Burke is standing on her porch, yelling at a bunch of the Children of the Corn to get off her lawn. No, really. She is.

She tells John that the kids are evil. She says her husband walked into a corn field 15 years ago and never came back.

(15 years ago? So the corn has been evil all this time? And, what, Isaac just pointed it out, or… I really don’t understand that line one iota. If the corn has always been evil, I’m not sure where or how the kids fit into the scheme.)

Then she turns around – and finds a green cross has been smeared on her house in what appear to be vegetable matter. I can’t really tell.

Burke goes into her house. John looks over at the kids, who are standing many feet away, just staring at the house.

John goes up on the porch, and touches the green stuff on the house. He smells it, then wipes it off on his pants.

He goes back to his vehicle. Dan is waiting there, whining that there’s nothing to do in this town. John accuses Dan of not even looking into what’s around. He tells Dan to check it out, and let him know what’s happening. For whatever reason, Dan does NOT mention all the Children of the Corn getting together for a meeting the night before.

Dan tells John he’s going to walk, and he strides away.

The Corn Kids watch Burke. Burke comes out and starts scrubbing the green goo off her house.

Micah tells his companions, including Mordechai, that the green goo wasn’t put there by man. It was put there by He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Mordechai asks if this is the sign they were waiting for.

Micah closes his eyes, and says, “Yes.”

The scene ends, with only one question: How did Burke get her house up on blocks in one day?

Dan walks down a country road. He looks over at a waterfall, and spots Lacey standing under it rinsing her hair, wearing a bikini top and shorts. They have teenaged banter. She asks if he can swim.

This eases us into the next scene, wherein a preacher says, “Fornication. Fornication my friends, is a pestilence.”

He goes on babbling, but whatever.

Now we’re back with Burke, who is looking for her cat. She sees the cat under her house. She looks around for kids on her lawn, but doesn’t see them, so she goes under the house to get the cat.

The kids appear. There is chanting on the soundtrack. Freaky chanting.

One of the kids picks up the cat. They release the pressure on whatever it is that’s keeping her house in the air, and as the house crushes her, she says, “What a world. What a world.”

Her legs are sticking out under the house. In this one scene, the writers and the director combine both The Wicked Witch of the East and The Wicked Witch of the West, taking an important piece of art and pooping all over it with “Children of the Corn II.”

By the way, was that the final sacrifice, from the title? Because we’ve got a lot of movie to go, so I just have to assume there are more sacrifices coming.

Regardless, that’s it for Burke.

So now it’s back to “Children of the Corn: Teenage Romance.” Lacey and Dan talk about how boring it was here until they found each other. Dan kisses Lacey.

Then, more talking, about how Dan and John barely know each other. Then they change the subject to whether Lacey knows any of the kids from Gatlin. She says she went to school with them, but she “never fit in.”

It’s nice that she never fell prey to peer pressure and decided to murder her own parents.

I’m confused, though, because this movie keeps insisting that Lacey and all these other kids went to school together.

Once again, the two towns are like 19 miles apart. I can accept that maybe there’s a whole busing system, or something similar, but these kids have also been parent-free for 3 years.

So we have to accept that even with all the parents dead, the kids continued to go to school for the last three years? You know, I can accept an evil monster in the corn, but this is just stupid.

Then it gets even stranger: Lacey says that her parents are dead. They died in a car accident, and she moved in with her aunt and uncle. But she moved here “before any of that stuff happened.”

Um… You know what? I can’t even work out a timeline of how this is supposed to make any sense. I think the screenwriter just first-drafted this thing, figured he’d add logic in later, and then forgot about it.

Lacey gets all coy, and asks Dan to take her to New York with him. He says he can’t do that. She insists he can, and kisses him.

This is going to get interesting real quick-like.

But no, instead we head back to the church, where the preacher continues to do his hellfire and brimstone thing. A dude in one of the pews is feeling sick. Strangely, he has huge glasses on, which almost hides the fact that he’s the guy who found all the dead people in the barn at the start of the movie.

He tells his wife he’s feeling sick, and she gives him a tissue. Suddenly, he looks around and sees Micah.

That’s when he notices that his nose is bleeding. As this happens, the priest starts saying, “Movies are filled with violence, blood, and bodies…”

Writer’s joke? Meta-commentary? Just another way to make it to 90 minutes?

The bloody nose gets worse.

And we see Micah, who has carved a little wooden doll, keep on cutting into its nose. He moves to the ear.

Dude’s ear starts bleeding. Then his eyes.

He gets up, walking towards the preacher-man. Then he collapses and probably dies.

An old dude goes down on the floor, and looks at the dead dude. It’s the Doc, from earlier in the movie. He looks up, and sees Micah stand up. Micah drops the wooden voodoo doll, and walks out.

(Er… since when can Evil Corn Kids use magic to kill people?)

And now: The road! John drives on it. Evil Corn-Cam watches him for a minute.

John arrives at a building, takes out a camera, and walks into the building. He’s the Gatlin school. You know, the one Lacey went to?

There’s a bunch of corn in there. And torn-up furniture. And a lot of graffiti. Because that’s what you do after you kill your parents: Trash the school.

John finds a kid’s drawing of a dead person in a corn field. His head has been cut off. I wonder who left that just sitting out?

John takes a picture of the picture, but doesn’t use a flash. In a dark room. But he’s at least smart enough to pick up a few of the drawings afterwards to take with him.

Good thing there aren’t any police around investigating the 50-odd homicides.

John prepares to walk out, only he’s almost crushed by a part of a light fixture that is going to fall on him. He’s not, though.

When he turns to leave, he almost bumps into Frank Redbear, a Native American who I guess lives in these parts. He knows everything about John, including his weight. Because John left his wallet in his car.

John tries to grill Frank, but Frank doesn’t seem all that interested. John asks what’s going on, and Frank uses some fancy Native American words which he defines as, “Life out of balance.”

He explains that white people never seem to understand that people need to be in balance with nature.

John asks if this lack of balance caused what happened in Gatlin. Frank says no: The kids just went crazy and killed everybody. Yes, he really does.

They talk a little more, and Frank drives off. John asks how to contact him. It seems that Frank is a doctor working at the local university. Whoever wrote this thing is determined to make our Native American friend the most politically correct character ever.

John looks down at his pants, and realizes the goo from earlier ate through it. He’s lucky it didn’t also dissolve his skin.

He drives back to Burke’s house, and finds a bunch of cops and other folks trying to figure out how to get the woman out from under her house.

Suddenly, a woman who looks just like her, because she’s played by the same actress, comes up in a wheelchair and demands know to know what the kids did to her sister. The kids are, of course, standing around in a big group, looking sinister.

Creepy? Sure. But I would think the cops would send a bunch of kids away from the scene of a hideous accident. Especially if they know the kids KILLED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE.

But they don’t. The sister heads off, ranting and raving.

As it turns out, Dan is also there. John asks him why he’s all wet, and he gives the, “I met this girl,” speech. John says he doesn’t want Dan talking to any of the kids.

Me? I’m wondering why he let Lacey go somewhere in the first place. Why isn’t he with her RIGHT NOW? It’s pretty clear he has nothing else to do.

John leaves.

There’s a little musical cue, and Micah heads over to talk to Dan. He tells Dan that his dad pretty much considered everything a sin, including listening to the radio. And each sin required a beating.

Dan asks if Micah was sad when his dad was killed. Micah says there’s a passage in the bible that says to everything, there is a season.

John goes to visit the town doc in hopes of figuring out who, or what, is behind the two recent deaths. Doc doesn’t want to talk, and he states explicitly that he didn’t actually “say” the kids did it.

It’s clear the doctor is terrified. John leaves.

Doc calls the sheriff, and says that John is going to figure things out. He says, “We’ve sinned! We’re going to hell!” The mystery is totally deepening, y’all.

Meanwhile, Frank takes John to a rock with a bunch of drawings on it. I’d explain the whole thing in explicit detail, but the important stuff is this:

The place has power, which magnifies both good and evil, and…

There’s a legend that a tribe of farmers used to live there, but they got lazy, and their kids killed them, and…

Also, there’s a drawing of corn which will apparently is about how the corn will open to one who finds truth within himself.

John asks Frank if Frank really believes all that. Frank, it seems, does.

I’m guessing Evil Corn-Cam does too, since it’s watching them.

Now it’s nighttime, and doc is still working in his office. He turns off the light, and hears a noise. So he takes out a flashlight and starts asking who’s there.

Instead of, you know, turning the light back on.

He raises the shades, and all the kids are outside. So… Where are their foster parents, exactly? I thought the idea was, all the kids go to the next town, and the foster parents take care of them until other arrangements can be made.

I realize that all happened like a half hour ago in the movie, but I’m pretty sure I was paying attention.

Anyway, Doc reaches for something, but it’s too late – Mordechai hits him with a bat. And then a bunch of other kids pick up a bunch of hypodermic needles, and start stabbing the Doc with them. Then someone stabs him in the back with a knife, and he finally dies.

I feel a little ill. Is this where I confess to hating needles just a whole lot? Bleah.

The kids all toss lollypops next to him. Except for one. She sticks it in his mouth.

Lot a laughs on the set, I imagine.

So now we move over to John and Angela. John wants to know how Angela ended up here. So we get a minute of backstory, where she used to pull down 100 grand a year, but then her aunt died and she gave it all up to come here.

Later, they’re in bed, doing stuff. Good thing they stuck a dialogue buffer between this and all the needle-stabbing. Otherwise, it’d be icky.

Dan walks by the bedroom, and closes the door, noting to himself that dad is “sinning most vigorously.” It didn’t look all that vigorous to me.

Dan looks out the window, and sees a bunch of flashlights going into the corn.

In a clearing somewhere, one of the girls in the town (Hemingford, if you care) allows her hand to be cut, along with one of the boys from Gatlin. And Micah is all, “We are one! We are one!”

So… now Gatlin and Hemingford are joined? Just now? What about all the stuff before, with the kids killing people? Is it just, like, okay for Hemingford kids to kill now?


Micah sees Dan and tells him to come forward. Micah asks Dan to join. Dan says yes. This is probably because Dan realizes the other option is a lot of needles and a lollipop.

The next day, Lacey takes Dan to her favorite spot, which is on top of a roof where she can see… a lot of corn.

They get off the roof, and Lacey tells Dan, “If you can catch me, you can have me.”

Dan runs really slowly. That’s all I’m saying.

Finally, he catches her in a clearing. There’s some making out, things start to get heavy, and Lacey, who is lying on the ground, feels something under her back. It’s a hand.

They realize they’ve just found all the missing body parts that no one located in Gatlin. So I guess some of the blood was for the corn, after all. They take off.

Frank and John head out to some random barn somewhere. I do mean random. They don’t explain why they go there, or how they selected this particular barn.

More facts are revealed. There’s corn in the barn that shouldn’t be there. There’s a toxic mold on it – it’s that green stuff that John saw on Burke’s house. Apparently, it’s poisonous, but it poisons different people in different ways.

The mold has been blowing across the town, but some people, says Frank, maybe just got a cold instead of catching a case of death.

It seems the big town secret, the one doc and the sheriff were keeping, is that the town was going to sell a mix of old corn and new corn. Which would be bad.

Yes, that’s the big evil plan that John was about to stumble across. Which he did. Pretty much at random.

To recap, here’s what happened:

The world it out of balance because the town NEXT to Gatlin decided to take a bunch of bad corn and sell it.

No, wait. That can’t be it. I guess the world was out of balance, so the kids killed all the adults in one town. Then a couple of random people passing through broke up the party, but fortunately, the people in the NEXT town also didn’t know how to take care of corn, so the evil kids moved to the new town to make things right.

But no, because Frank says that this moldy corn can cause madness, especially in children.

So the whole thing is either caused by bad mojo, or moldy corn. Only it can’t moldy corn, because there was that deadly animation in the last movie. That had to be “real,” right?

At any rate, the sheriff shows up, and Frank tells him there’s a problem, and the sheriff points a shotgun at them and agrees.

Out in the town, West, Burke’s sister, is riding along in her wheelchair. Micah and the Evil League of Evil walk up behind her, driving a remote-controlled car. Micah then flips some switches on the remote, and it takes over the woman’s wheelchair.

He drives her in front of a truck. It hits her. She flies through the air, and through a plate-glass window.

Inside the building, people were playing bingo. And so the dude, who just won, yells out, “Bingo?” Because that will make the scene funny, you see.

Back at the bed and breakfast, Dan is on the phone with Lacey. She says something about her aunt and a town meeting. Then the phone cuts out. Dan plays with it, in hopes of getting it to work, and then he turns around. Micah is there.

It seems that “The soldiers of the lord are ready to march.”

Out in the corn again, the sheriff has tied Frank and John to a metal pole that’s stuck into the ground. He’s going to let a large farming machine chop them both into tiny bits.

You know that part of the movie, where the villain explains what his evil plan is? Here you go:

The sheriff and everyone else is going to sell the bad corn, and they already know who to pay off so they won’t get caught. Since the sheriff is going to lead the investigation into John and Frank’s deaths, the fact that it will never be solved won’t be a problem.

Also, he’s not shooting them because he’d have to explain that, whereas this is crazy, so he doesn’t have to concern himself with it.

And he’s headed into town for a meeting – it seems some people are, in fact, concerned about the children.

So the sheriff starts the Machine O’ Death, and then leaves, even though it should all be over in about 30 seconds or so. I mean, really, who has the time?

And Frank and John pull the pole out of the ground, since it’s only about three or four inches deep, and then they push themselves out of the way of the MOD.

I do like the fact that the sheriff is going to let the machine just keep on driving until it runs out of gas. It shows a kind of amusing non-thinking that you can’t help but love.

Angela goes back to her bed and breakfast, where the kids meet her. And abduct her.

John and Frank find John’s dead journalism buddy, and John demands that Frank give him a better answer than “poison corn.” Frank says his ancestors believed in a god of the earth, who takes revenge when the earth is wronged.

John doesn’t like the “god is angry” theory. Frank asks if John has a better one.

At the town meeting, the sheriff gets this party started, as he has information about how to adopt the kids of Gatlin. But wait! There’s a woman there named Mary who is concerned that the children are evil. Possibly because her husband was the one who died of a nosebleed.

Someone also mentions a dead sister, but I’m not sure what that’s about. Unless she had a sister in Gatlin that we don’t know about…

Probably not, though, as you would think someone would have found out about all the dead people there a lot sooner if people were related to them, and lived nearby.

The reverend, who is at the meeting, sees that the children are standing outside, and says they probably shouldn’t be around the meeting. The sheriff goes to open the door to tell the kids to take off, only, “The sweet children of Gatlin have chained the door.” He really says that.

The children also have gasoline, and fire-creating implements. So they burn the building to the ground, with the people of the town inside.

Once everyone is good and dead, all the kids gather, and Micah gets back to making speeches: “That is the funeral pyre of those that have poisoned our world.”

All the adults are dead. Except, you know, the people we’ve been following the whole movie. They’re probably around somewhere.

Micah asks Dan to join them, there’s a lot of chanting, and then Dan gets to meet the sacrifices. Angela and Lacey. Dan is instructed to cut out Lacey’s tongue, and then her heart.

For this, they give him… a machete. That’s going to make things a little tricky.

There’s more chanting, and suddenly, there’s a light in the corn. It’s He Who Walks Behind the Rows! No. Sorry. It’s just Frank and John in that big old corn-cutting thing that almost killed them.

They ride in, and the kids scatter. Dan uses the machete to cut Lacey’s ropes.

Micah demands that the kids, “Kill the outlanders!” He does not mention to John that they have his woman.

In order to make John look heroic, he jumps off the machine and knocks down three teenagers.

Dan frees Lacey, and they run into the corn.

John frees Angela, but he’s about to be attacked by the people he just knocked over.

He calls to Frank, who is still driving the machine. But someone shoots Frank in the belly (!) with an arrow (!) and Frank immediately slumps over, mostly dead. Frank is kind of lame, it seems.

One of the kids throws a spear at John, and John catches it and throws it back at the kid – and right through him. Then he frees Angela and they run off into the corn.

Micah yells out that if they don’t stop all the escapees, the kids will face the wrath of He Who Walks Behind the Rows.

Everyone but Micah and a couple of minions run into the corn.

Out in the corn, we get the moving Dirt Pile O’ Death. But no bad animation yet.

Everyone runs, until they all loop back to the exact same clearing they were all in a minute ago.

Micah is all, “What, you thought our evil god would let you escape?” And then he actually clicks his tongue, the way no human being ever would. And he admonishes Danny. And slaps him in the face.

Okay, I’ll admit, that was kind of great.

Micah tells all the good guys to get on their knees. He raises his machete in the air, and gets struck by blue lightning. He screams a bunch, but I don’t think those are unhappy screams.

Frank wakes up, sees that Micah is standing right in front of the Machine ‘O Death, turns it on, drives forward and passes out.

He goes forward just a little bit, and traps Micah’s ceremonial robes in the pincers of the MOD.

John grabs a kid, pulls him to the ground, and punches him.

The heroes all get up. John runs to the MOD and pulls Frank out, while Micah lies on the ground, screaming to Dan that Dan should help him, because Micah is his “friend” and that he was “there” for Dan.

Despite the fact that Micah was just shot up with blue lightning, and about to kill Dan with a machete, Dan looks conflicted.

But I guess it doesn’t matter. A moment later, Micah’s face turns into a demon face, which vanishes, leaving Micah’s face again, and then he gets sucked into the MOD, and we see blood spit out the back, so he’s gone.

And fire starts running down the rows.

And everyone runs away, as the MOD blows up.

John sets Frank down on the ground, and then Frank dies. John says, “No! Come on! Come on!” But does not try, say, CPR, or any other lifesaving technique. Like, pulling an arrow out of Frank and stopping the bleeding.

The next morning, Dan and John build a funeral pyre out of corn, put Frank in it, and light it up. Shouldn’t they call his family, first? Or the cops? Or anyone, really, before torching Frank? At the very least, the guy is evidence.

Dan asks Lacey if she really “meant what she said” earlier. The catch/keep thing? Or the “take me with you” thing? Lacey says she would have said “anything” to get her out of that mess.

Then she says something else, but I couldn’t tell you what it is. She totally mumbles it, and even after listening to it three or four times, I can’t make it out.

The foursome all walk away from the still-burning Frank to Angela’s car.

Angela asks, “What do we do about the children?”

John says, “Tell their story. Let the healing begin.” He looks at Dan, “It’s not too late for that, is it?”

Dan says no, it’s not too late. Because the discussion is deeply filled with meaning. He also thinks the editor at Newsweek might be willing to “reconsider,” since John went through all of this just to get a story.

Well, Dan, I suspect that the editor at Newsweek will think all of you are totally nuts. But whatever gets you through the night, man.

They drive away.

Back at the magical rock, Frank’s spirit, now fully dressed in Native American garb, completes the painting that shows that the corn will totally opened to one who found truth within himself, or whatever crazy stuff the screenwriter came up with earlier in the movie. I bet you totally forgot about that rock, didn’t you?

Frank walks away, his spirit fading to nothing as he does so.

Then the credits come up. Guess we’ll deal with what happened to all the kids in part III.