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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Children of the Corn

Note: This section of the book is dedicated to Danny Grossman, because he requested it a long, long time ago. He also sent me a copy of “Leatherface,” when I needed to complete my “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” chapters.

I hereby promise not to mention him again in subsequent chapters. I just wanted to say: Danny, this one is for you.

“Children of the Corn” gets right to gettin’, by tossing the credits up. The title on the screen is “Stephen King’s Children of the Corn,” because this movie was made back when the name Stephen King could sell people on a motion picture.

Once we see the title, we get shots of… corn. Not unexpected, I guess.

This is followed by shots of a church – the upcoming sermon is “Corn Drought and the Lord,” which will be given by Rev. Timothy Case. And just because you care, the name of the church is Grace Baptist Church of Gatlin.

A burn-in informs us that this is: Gatlin, Nebraska – Three Years Ago.

The church bell is tolling through all this.

The doors of the church open up, and people start walking out, shaking hands with the priest as they walk out the door.

And then, we get voice-over from a young boy, who is exiting the church:

“It was about three years ago. I was the only kid in church that day. The others were with Isaac out in the corn field. I didn’t get to go because dad didn’t like Isaac. He was pretty smart, my dad. After church we went to Hansen’s. Just like always. Sarah was home sick with mom. She’d come down with a fever real sudden. Dad was worried, so he went to call mom first thing.”

At which point, dad says, “I’m gonna call your mom, okay?”

“That’s when I saw Malachi and the others. I guess their meeting with Isaac was over. They were acting real creepy.”

Obviously, at this point, dad is on the phone. The boy is sitting on a stool in Hansen’s. Malachi is playing pinball in the corner. And a bunch of kids are walking into the eatery, and locking the door.

The waitress puts something in the coffee. She serves the coffee. Several people drink the coffee, and die in rapid succession.

Then the kids all pull out sharp things and begin slashing throats. And stabbing. And generally killing all the remaining living adults in Hansen’s.

In and around all this, on the other end of the phone line, the boy’s dad talks to his mom about his sister, Sarah. Sarah is moaning, and has her eyes closed, but she’s still coloring something.

Now, all the adults in the diner are dead. Including dad.

The kids start to leave. One of them looks meaningfully at the boy.

Time for more voice-over:

“It happened everywhere in Gatlin that day. That’s when Sarah started drawing these pictures.”

And then we see Sarah, lying on the bed next to a drawing she made of the kids killing the adults in Hansen’s.

And now, more credits, while we look at pictures of children killing their parents in various exciting ways. It seems they also plant corn, and burn their TVs.

Finally, we get a shot of a car and a motel. Perhaps the kids are experimenting with the fruits of their puberty?

Nope. It’s a woman, who is inside the motel, setting the lock to “Do Not Disturb.” Then we get a shot of feet stalking across the room, a woman’s hand reaching into a drawer, and then, PARTY HORN.

She wishes the guy in bed happy birthday. She presents him with a donut and asks him to make a wish. He wishes to live happily ever after. She asks if that’s a proposal. Nope. She gives him a gift anyway.

It’s a lighter, with his name and her name on it: They are Burt and Vicky. They kiss. Then she turns on a little tape player thing and sings a song that’s called, based on the chorus, “School is Out.”

I guess the implication is that the dude just got out of medical school. After all that silliness, she finally offers to give him, shall we say, a more personal birthday gift.

Dude rejects her, saying they have to get back on the road. He goes to grab a quick shower.

Man, I’m trying to come up with an appropriate comment here, but this dude just blows my mind. Come on man. It’s your birthday. Take an extra three minutes for yourself, if you know what I’m saying.

But no. Instead, we get a shot of the car on the road. They’re headed in Nebraska, bantering about how he doesn’t want to screw up his internship. She thinks he was being a jerk.

Man, turn a woman down for forty-five seconds of passion and she will never let it go. Ever.

And now we’re back with the kids. Now, if you have kids, or are generally familiar with them, you probably know that they grow a LOT in a three year span. But these kids haven’t. Probably poor nutrition.

But whatever. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is that, so help me, the kid is voice-overing again. WHO IS HE TALKING TO? Himself?

Well, whoever he’s talking to, he tells us that besides himself (I’m going to have to call him Boy, because he doesn’t have a name yet) and Sarah, there’s another boy named Jacob who, it seems, doesn’t like Isaac and wants to get away.

Boy says, in voice-over, that he wasn’t scared. Then he says, “I’m scared.” Sarah adds, “Me, too!”

Jacob, it seems, is running away, though he promises he’ll come back for Boy and Sarah. Jacob says the two of them will be fine, as long as no one finds out about Sarah’s drawings. Crayons are forbidden.

Boy whines that Jacob won’t let them do “anything.” Jacob reminds Boy that if they get caught with something forbidden that… they know what happens.

This might build more suspense if we hadn’t already seen Sarah’s drawings, which featured people being tacked up on crosses. This movie is like a poker player who screams out what’s in his hand before the betting even starts.

Jacob says he’s going to run through the corn, which the kids seem to think is a bad idea. But it’s the only way out. Wherever “out” is.

Jacob sends Boy and Sarah to the sides of the barn they were all talking in, and tells them to let him know if anyone is watching them. Boy runs to one side and yells back that there’s no one, and Sarah yells, “Nobody’s looking! Nobody’s looking!”

Well, Sarah, I bet they are now.

Jacob runs through the corn.

Burt and Vicky drive along the back roads. They’re bored. They turn on the radio, and get themselves a hellfire and damnation radio station preacher. They mock him, then turn the radio off.

They drive by a sign: Gatlin: 7 Miles.

Jacob runs through the corn. He hears children laughing. The music gets all scary. Jacob trips. The director attempts to give us ominous shots of the corn, but mostly makes us think that a corn roast would be mighty tasty just about now.

Jacob gets back up.

Nearby, we see a kid with a knife, though we don’t see the kid’s face. Jacob turns. He’s stabbed, mostly off-camera. Blood artfully falls over his suitcase. Well, not really artfully. In an attempted artful manner? That works, I suppose.

Burt and Vicky drive some more. Vicky checks the map, but they can’t find Gatlin. Burt takes a look, which removes his eyes from the road.

Vicky warns him that there’s someone in the road. It appears to be a dead Jacob, posed in a scarecrow-esque fashion. Burt hits the kid, hard, and the body rolls.

Burt pulls the car over. He checks Vicky for injury. She’s got a bump on her head.

But gets out of the car and goes to check on the kid. Of course, the kid is dead. Vicky asks if the kid the dead. Burt says, “Oh, yeah.” He’s taking this really, really well. Burt says something is very wrong here, and that Vicky needs to go back to the car and lock the doors until he gets back.

Burt gets a blanket out of the trunk. And also, a tire iron. As he goes to wrap Jacob up in a blanket, stalker-cam watches him from behind the corn. Burt wraps up the kid, but doesn’t take him out of the road.

Interesting choice, Burt.

Burt goes to the corn and sees Jacob’s bloody suitcase. He goes into the corn to get it.

Meanwhile, Malachi, bloody knife in hand, walks to the car Vicky is currently sitting in. She’s sort of asleep. She hears a noise, wakes up, and GETS OUT OF THE CAR. If Vicky doesn’t make it through this movie, it’s going to be her own fault.

She wanders away from the vehicle, calling to Burt while Malachi stands by the car, casting an ominous shadow. She walks over to the Jacob, kneels down, and says how sorry she is.

Jacob sits up.

Vicky wakes up. DREAM SEQUENCE!

Burt is there. He calms her down.

Then he stuffs Jacob’s body in the trunk of his car, and drives away. While stalker-cam watches from the corn.

And we’re back with Boy and Sarah. Boy informs us, via voice-over, that they liked to go back to their house to play. Malachi said it was forbidden, but they do it anyway. These kids have a death wish.

Boy and Sarah are playing Monopoly, and bantering in a way that is probably supposed to be funny. But the kids have all the comic timing of a pair of worn-out staplers. So instead they kill a couple minutes of screen time, and then Malachi throws a knife into their Monopoly board.

Burt and Vicky drive. Burt reveals to Vicky that Jacob’s throat was cut. They both suspect they were being watched.

Regardless, they keep driving towards Gatlin. This is puzzling to me, because it seems that if Jacob is dead, and they’re near the barn, they should already be IN Gatlin, not two miles away from it.

But whatever.

Malachi takes Boy and Sarah to go see Isaac, who is the creepy little preacher boy who called for the killing of all the adults. Malachi rats out the tots, stating that they were playing a game, and listening to music, and also they had “this.” This being a drawing of Vicky and Burt’s car, driving towards Gatlin.

Isaac tells Sarah that she has the gift of sight. He tells Malachi to take them back where they were. And also, to tell “the old man” not to tell Vicky and Burt anything.

Malachi is unhappy, because the kids have a game, and also music, and Isaac admonishes Malachi, stating that Isaac is doing “his” will.

Malachi drags the kids off.

Vicky and Burt drive towards Gatlin. Burt wants to open Jacob’s suitcase. He turns on the radio again, and listens to the radio preacher for a second. He turns the radio off.

Vicky opens the suitcase. There are a few things in there, but the notable one is a cross made out of corn cobs. Burt refers to it as “primitive folk art,” while Vicky just says its “repulsive.”

Mostly, I’m wondering why Jacob kept the thing in his suitcase if he was running away.

And now: The Old Man. It seems the old man is a loon who runs the local gas station. As we meet him, he’s working on a vehicle, while yelling at his dog to bring him a bunch of different wrenches.

Vicky and Burt drive up. The Old Man says he doesn’t have any gas, and that if Burt doesn’t buy gas he can’t use the restroom. He tells Burt to take a turn and go to a city that is not Gatlin.

Burt asks about Gatlin, and The Old Man tells Burt that people there got religion and they don’t “cotton” to outsiders.

Burt leaves.

The dog, meanwhile, barks at something behind the corn, and then heads that direction. The Old Man heads after him. A hand goes into his truck and grabs a tire iron.

The Old Man turns around, and he think he hears something in his gas station. So he goes back that way. He goes into the station. He still thinks someone is in there. Outside, the hood of his vehicle slams shut, because loud noises equal cheap scares.

The Old Man goes back outside. He yells at the corn that he kept his bargain, and didn’t tell Vicky and Burt anything.

He opens the hood of his truck. There’s something bloody in there. It appears to be the dog’s scarf. This makes The Old Man sad, and then mad. He picks up a tire iron and heads back into the barn behind the gas station.

Tire irons: The weapon of choice in this fine film. Followed closely by knives.

Malachi is in the barn. It’s go time!

And by, “It’s go time,” I mean, “Now we’ll cut over to Vicky and Burt, who keep trying to avoid Gatlin, but every sign they pass says they’re headed there, so they drive through some corn and arrive back where they started, at the gas station, and Burt yells out the window at the old man, only we get a shot of the old man’s arm, with the strong implication that the old dude is dead.”

Out in the corn, Isaac holds up his little corn cob cross and preaches at the kids that he had a dream. It seems a time of tribulation has come – the final test. First, Jacob ran away, but his blood couldn’t be spilled on the corn (um… it was) so he was cast upon the road.

Now, two unbelievers are coming: a man and a woman. We already know about them, so I’ll skip over some details, and go over to Boy and Sarah, who are hiding at the edge of the corn and having the following conversation:

Boy: “I wish Isaac never came here.”

Sarah: “But he’s always been here, just like He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

This strikes me as a weak answer for moviegoers asking a very obvious question: Where does a little weasel like Isaac come from, anyway? After all, he appears to be a kid, but kids aren’t usually allowed to wander from town to town preaching, or whatever it was he was doing before this movie started.

Isaac says that the “Outlanders” are going to have to be sacrificed, like the Blue Man. The Blue Man is the withered husk of a cop, which is currently residing on a cross made of corn.

The kids all get up and start chanting, and Boy and Sarah sneak off.

Burt and Vicky finally make it to Gatlin, and they pull into the city. There’s no one there. At least, no one they can see.

Two kid spies, however, spot them and go running off.

Burt stops the car at Hansen’s Café and they go inside, looking for a phone. They ponder what’s up with all the corn, which is pretty much scattered everywhere. Burt finds the pay phone and goes to make a call. The phone is dead.

Burt and Vicky prepare to leave. They spot some kids poking in and around their car. They run out, and the kids run off. Burt and Vicky get in the car and give chase. The kids vanish.

Vicky tells Burt they should go on to the next town. Burt decides this is not the worst idea ever, and they drive off.

Just as they’re about to leave town, Burt sees a door closing at the house on the edge of town. So they get out of the car and go to investigate.

No one answers the door, so Burt walks in. They wander around, and find the non-working phone. Vicky shows Burt a magazine that’s three years old. I guess someone cancelled all the mail, after every adult was killed.

Burt hears a noise upstairs, and goes to check it out.

He wanders around for a bit, and then finds a bunch of Sarah’s drawings taped to the wall. He wanders around some more, and the movie decides to use all the pent-up suspense by having Burt run into Vicky all of a sudden.

They hear music, and go to check it out. They find Sarah , who tells them all the adults are in the corn field. Burt figures they’re at a meeting, but Sarah tells them the truth. Isaac put all the adults in the corn field, and also he’s their leader, and also, he’s scary.

Burt doesn’t buy any of this, so he decides to leave the car with Vicky, so he can walk back to the town hall. Vicky asks if they’re safe here.

Burt replies, “It’s a little weird here, but it’s safe.”

Burt’s definition of a “little weird” is WAY different than mine.

Way. Different.

Vicky stays behind to grill Sarah.

She discovers that Sarah is “drawing pictures,” and that Malachi said that was bad. Vicky insists that Sarah draw some more pictures. Sarah thinks this is awesome. So she starts drawing.

Burt goes back into town. He looks in the school. There’s a bunch of corn laying around inside. He goes by the old church. There’s more corn. A kid spots him, but he doesn’t spot the kid.

Malachi and a bunch of other kids go to the house where Sarah and Vicky are currently using the forbidden crayons.

They have various sharp objects.

Burt wanders around the town. Kids spot him. They, too, have sharp objects.

The kids back at the house sneak into the house at various entrance points. Not that there’s any reason to avoid using the door. At all.

Vicky asks to see Sarah’s drawing, and Sarah hands it over. Vicky looks at it, concerned, and asks, “What is this?”

She hears a noise, and calls out to Burt. Only Burt’s not here, man. No, it’s Malachi and company. She asks what they want, and Malachi says, “We want to give you peace.”

Vicky takes that as a bad sign, so she runs upstairs and into a room and she slams and holds the door. One of the kids drives an axe through the door, Vicky backs up, and the kids come in and take her while Sarah just kind of watches with her hands over her ears.

In the town, Burt goes into the cop shop, and finds more corn. And a blood-spattered picture of a woman having fire blown on her by a dragon. Burt remembers the, “Are we safe?” conversation, and he runs back to the house where Vicky is.

He sees his car, which has a bunch of corn stuffed in it.

He goes into the house, and asks Sarah where Vicky is.

Turns out, she’s tied up on a corn cross in a clearing in the nearby field.

In the same area, Isaac and Malachi argue like crazy people speaking in another language. Apparently, He Who Walks Behind the Rows is mad at Malachi because Malachi killed the old man when he still had gas they could use. And He’s not too happy about Jacob, either.

Malachi, in turn, wants to know when they’re going to do something about Job and Sarah. Ah. Boy really does have a name.

Isaac is all, “I am the one true connection to He Who Walks Behind the Rows! Do not question!”

At the house, Burt continues to probe Sarah for answers. Then he finders he drawing, which indicates Vicky is totally going to end up as a sacrifice.

Burt goes out back and calls to Vicky. There’s corn there. The corn suddenly parts for him, indicating which way he should go. So he starts walking, instead of running the other way, which might be a good idea now.

The church bell starts to clang. Burt runs.

The kids pick up Vicky’s cross and get her up in the air. The kids all start chanting, “Kill! Kill!” This goes on for a while, because it’s both menacing and cheap to shoot.

Elsewhere, an older kid takes a knife and carves a star (or perhaps a pentacle?) into his bare chest. Blood flows out. A date is written in blood on a scroll.

Burt goes running into the church.

There’s a verbal confrontation, which lays out like so:

Burt: What are you guys doing?

Dude with Star Cut Into His Chest: We go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows on the first day of our 19th year.

Girl Running the Ceremony: (To Random Kid) Bring Malachi to deal with the interloper!

There’s some light tussling, and the girl stabs Burt with the chest-carving knife. Burt pulls it out and brandishes it at the kids to get them to back off. They do. Burt runs.

The kids chase him.

Burt tries to hide, but there really isn’t anywhere to go. The kids are everywhere.

Finally, he ends up in the center of town, with a bunch of kids circled around him.

Malachi arrives, and yells, “Outlander!” And Burt runs again.

He somehow manages to elude his captors, taking refuge in one of many abandoned buildings. Malachi walks by a window, sees something, and goes inside.

Burt crouches, and when Malachi gets close, Burt stabs him in the leg. Then he stands up and clocks himself in the head.

Still mobile, he runs again. Job finds him, and takes him to a cellar to hide. Sarah is also there. It’s actually an old bomb shelter, complete with food. It seems none of the other kids know about the place.

Job tells Burt about Isaac, and where everyone’s parents went. Burt takes all the news with little show of surprise.

In the corn field, Isaac and Malachi argue about what He Would Walks Behind the Rows really wants. Isaac thinks they should just sacrifice Vicky. Malachi thinks they should sacrifice both Vicky and Burt together.

So Malachi makes a power grab, and demands that the kids cut Vicky down and Isaac be put up on the cross.

Strangely, the kids go along with this, even though Isaac is the entire reason all the adults are dead. None of them even appear to question the idea.

So Malachi takes Vicky and a bunch of his foot soldiers back into town, and he yells out to Burt: “Outlander! We have your woman!”

Love it.

Burt doesn’t come out. So Malachi cuts Vicky, to get her to scream. Then he does some taunting. Only Burt can’t hear Malachi.

Burt tells Sarah and Job to lead him to the clearing where Vicky is being held. They all head out.

Back at the clearing, the kid with the carving on his chest is ready to “celebrate his birthday.” Malachi tells him that Isaac will be joining him. Isaac does the whole, “This is blasphemy!” thing.

Job and Sarah take Burt to a barn, and they look out the window on the second floor. They can see the clearing from there.

Burt leaves the kids there, and heads to the circle.

Night falls.

The kid with the carving on his chest hears the growling of He Who Walks Behind the Rows, and he walks into the corn. The ground moves like there’s something slithery and living underneath it.

Isaac, from his cross, calls out that he did everything the creature wanted. But it doesn’t matter. A really, really, really poorly animated red and yellow light flashes over him, and then his cross shoots in the air while he screams like a woman.

Burt runs into the clearing, grabs Vicky, and shoves her away, telling her to run.

Burt stands in the middle of the clearing, surrounded by kids with weapons, and demands to know what kind of a god demands that kids kill their parents. The kids seem unsure, and somewhat confused.

Burt continues to talk: “Any religion, without love and compassion is false. It’s a lie!”

This is a surprisingly philosophical movie.

Well, it was for a minute, anyway. Malachi leaps from the crowd and tackles Burt. They tussle. Burt gets Malachi on the ground and starts smacking him in the face. He gets up, holding Malachi’s knife.

Then he throws in the knife on the ground as a demonstration of this compassion thing he was talking about, and walks away.

Malachi yells out to the kids to get Burt, but they don’t move.

And then there’s some screaming: “Malachi! He wants you too, Malachi.”

Isaac is back, talking in a deep, and deeply freaky voice. He’s all white and ashy, too, which probably means something. Couldn’t tell you what.

Malachi looks very sad about this.

Isaac walks up to Malachi and grabs him by the neck.

All the other kids run to the barn where Job and Sarah are. So does Burt.

A storm kicks up.

Burt and Vicky debate whether it’s safer to stay in the barn, or to try to get back to the road.

Burt asks Job if anyone ever tried to hurt the creature. Turns out that the “blue man” did. It seems he talked to the preacher, and then came to the field with a page torn out of the bible.

For some reason, Job has the page now. He pulls it out, and Burt reads a highlighted section:

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. Where the beast, and the false prophet are, and shall forever be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Burt asks what that’s supposed to mean?

Vicky determines that this means the cop was going to try to burn the creature. Job says yeah, only he was stopped by Malachi.

Burt figures the cop must have been planning to use the fuel the kids were making from the corn (yes, this was mentioned before, but it was sort of ridiculous, so I left it out up until now) to burn the beast.

Burt tells the kids to get him a bunch of hoses and some glass bottles.

He gets one bottle, fills it with corn fuel, and makes a Molotov cocktail. Then he hooks up a hose to the burn-y corn fuel and heads out into the corn with an “I love you, Vicky.”

Things go okay until the corn attacks him, knocking to the ground and administering the kind of beating only corn can give.

Job runs out and frees Burt. Burt tells him to go back to the barn. Job does not obey.

Burt goes to some kind of machine, and jams the fuel hose into it. He tells Job to turn a valve. Then Job guides him through starting the machine.

I really wish I knew what the machine was.

Finally, it starts up. Turns out, the machine is one of those really large sprinkler systems that farmers have when they need to water a really, really, really large area.

So, it seems that Burts plan is to set fire to the entire corn field. I cannot say the man thinks small.

Bad animation rises up from the corn in a semi-threatening manner.

Burt runs over to Job and lights his Molotov cocktail. He throws it. He manages to hit the one part of the field NOT covered in fuel.

Job runs to pick up the cocktail, while the animation looms overhead, and also whatever it is under the dirt continues to run around under the dirt.

Burt keeps calling to Job, and for some reason it sounds like he’s yelling out, “Joey!”

Job grabs the Molotov, and runs back to Burt. He tells Burt to “throw it right this time.” Burt throws it. There is fire.

Also, some more bad animation. Back at the barn, Vicky and Sarah call out to Burt and “Job-y!” I guess that’s what Burt was yelling. Regardless, it sounds ridiculous. I’m wondering if the kid’s name was “Joey” originally, but then someone realized that didn’t sound all that biblical, so they changed it to Job in post, and then tried to cover it up.

At any rate, the four of them watch as the fire goes BOOM a couple of times. Then Burt suggests they run. Good thinking.

The fire rages, burning away the bad animation, which spontaneously develops into a huge, not-very-well animated face. The face screams. There is also animated lightning.

Then the face vanishes.

Job yells out, “Is he dead?” Burt says yes. The kid asks, “Then why are we still running?”

I dunno, Job. Maybe it’s because there are still a bunch of kids running around carrying implements of death?

Everyone reaches the car, which is still stuffed with corn, though for some reason it appears to be less stuffed than it was previously. Burt notes that the nearest town is 19 miles away. Vicky asks if they can walk.

Burt says yeah. Vicky and Burt share some light banter, and they kiss. Job and Sarah giggle. Since we’re getting to the end of the film, and the screenwriter needs to tie up some loose ends, Burt and Vicky determine that Job and Sarah can live with them for a while.

I’m sure that will raise no questions from anyone. I mean, it’s not like Burt is, like, 26, and Job is, like, 9, and he and Vicky aren’t married, and the kids don’t really look anything like them, and also Burt and Vicky were in that town where all the corn burned to the ground, and like 600 other suspicious things. And let us not forget the dead body in Burt’s trunk.

Burt gets into the car to grab their map, which has been SO useful up to this point, and when he sits down, the girl who stabbed him earlier is sitting in the back seat, waiting to finish the job.

She attacks, Burt fights back. He gets out of the car, she lunges, and he slams the car door, which knocks her out cold.

Burt asks aloud what he should do, and Vicky says, “Send her a get-well card from Seattle.”

The words THE END burn into the screen, the credits start rolling, and Vicky, Burt, Job and Sarah walk away from the car and out of town.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

For a change, we don’t get a scroll. Instead we just get a big block of text:

“August 18th, 1973. News of a bizarre, chainsaw wielding family – reports which were to ignite the world’s imagination – began to filter out of central Texas. Regrettably not one of the family members was ever apprehended and for more than ten years nothing further was heard. Then, over the next several years at least two minor, yet apparently related incidents, were reported. Then again nothing. For five long years silence…”

Oh, good gravy.

I guess the “apparently related” incidents are part 2 and part III?

I don’t really want to take the time to unpack everything that’s wrong with this, but I guess it’s my job, so here goes:


Easier than I thought.

Astoundingly, this doesn’t mention Sally and her invalid brother Franklin. Then again, it doesn’t mention Stretch, or Enright, or Michelle, or anyone. At all. And in direct opposition to part III, no one was ever apprehended. And we can pretend that Sally is still alive, though we have no idea if she’s in a coma still, or not.

I’m not sure that there are three sequels to “Chainsaw,” at this point. I suspect that, instead, what we have is one original and three different attempts to make a “Part 2.”

All right. Let’s keep moving.

First burn-in: May 22, 1996.

Annnd… credits.

Including an “Introducing,” tacked in front of the guy playing Leatherface.

Credits over. Moving along.

We’ve got a pair of lips. Lipstick is applied.

Then the tube of lipstick is dropped, and the girl who just put it on wipes it off.

A girl puts on what looks like a prom dress. She calls out to her mom.

There’s a flash, and we watch an older woman take pictures of the girl, and a guy. They are dressed up to go to what I’m guessing is the prom.

Then we’re outside a gym, and a bunch of kids are running around, only we haven’t established any of them, so I have no clue who they are.

Then we’re inside the building but outside the actual prom, and some OTHER girl asks an older woman if she’s seen Barry. Who we haven’t met. The woman thought the girl and Barry broke up, but this is not the case.

The girl talks to another girl who talks with some sort of a tick. Then she talks to the first girl we saw, and her date. They haven’t seen Barry either.

So the girl goes outside, where a bunch of people who we don’t know are having a conversation. And the girl yells out, asking if anyone has seen Barry.

I haven’t seen Barry yet, but I really, really, really hate that guy.

The girl walks around, and catches Barry making out with some other chick. Barry calls out to the girl, who runs away. Her name is Heather, by the way.

Heather gets into her car and goes racing around the parking lot, while Barry chases her. He catches up to her and gets into her car as she pulls out of the parking lot.

Heather is mad at Barry. Barry says he only kissed the other girl once. And also, guys need sweet, sweet loving or they’ll get “prostrate” cancer.

In the back seat, that girl we saw at the beginning of the movie and her date sit up, and the girl says, “That’s a lie.”

Then Heather slams her car into another car.

Then she drives away, to complete the hit-and-run.

The girl whose name we don’t know? Jenny. Her date is Sean. There’s a bunch of exposition, so that we can know lots of things about these characters aside from the fact that they’re kind of hateful:

Sean: Stoner.

Jenny: Hasn’t felt the touch of a man. Sean is just a friend.

Heather: Dumb.

Barry: Dumb, mean, and a liar. Also, they’re in his car. Or his dad’s car. I’m not sure which. It’s not Heather’s car. So I’m not sure how Jenny and Sean got in there, or what they were doing there, and I’m not sure why Heather is driving it.

Regardless, they keep on driving, even though it seems they all hate each other and the prom is the other way.

Heather turns off on some freaky side road, which passes through the middle of the woods. Why? Who knows.

Everyone tells her to turn around, but she can’t find a place to do it. Then a car runs into them. Where did that other car come from? No idea.

Now the two cars are in a ditch. The other driver gets out of the car, and says he’s not hurt. Then he falls to the ground. Heather is all, “He’s gonna die.” The rest of them figure the kid will live.

Barry tries to drive his car out of the ditch. It won’t go. No one thinks to try pushing the car, because why would they?

Jenny is smart enough to try random dude’s car, but it won’t even start, so no luck there.

Jenny decides that they need to go get help, and everyone argues about who should go. Heather really wants to come along, but she asks Barry for a flashlight.

Jenny starts walking. Barry and Heather go with her. They have a flashlight. So they walk for a while. To build suspense. Also, Heather talks about a dream she had where she was chased by a murderer. She says they’re all going to die.

Heather jerks around and knocks the flashlight out of Barry’s hands. It falls to the ground and stops working, so Heather thinks they should stop walking and start a fire.

I am growing less and less shocked that Barry cheated on Heather.

Barry gets the flashlight working. There’s something dead on the ground. No clue what that is. This is the most poorly lit movie I think I’ve ever seen. It’s like they shot every outside scene using pen lights with four-year-old batteries.

They find a small building that has the light on. They go in. There’s a woman at the desk.

They tell the woman at the desk to call an ambulance because there’s a guy dying.

Heather demands that someone bring her a glass of water, even though there’s a water cooler perhaps three feet from her arm.

The woman calls some dude named Vilmer, who isn’t there to pick up the phone. She flashes some cleavage, which Jenny admires. For some reason.

The woman tells Jenny that they’re phony as three-dollar bills, but that they changed her life. She doubled her commissions.

Well, this is an awkward conversion.

Barry gets Heather some water. No idea why.

The lady talks to Vilmer, and gets him pointed in the right direction. She hangs up, then tells a blond joke, which Heather doesn’t get. Wow, is this not a fun movie.

The window shatters as something flies through it. Or maybe it just blows up, because really it just goes BAM and there’s glass.

The lady seems not at all worried about this. She claims it’s some “farmer’s wife.”

She goes to the window, and says, “Like I’m even interested.” Then she pulls up her shirt and adds, “See ‘em and weep, boys!”

Outside, a car drives by. There is hooting. The woman says that the high school boys are always doing something to get her to flash them.

She seems pretty nonchalant about the fact that someone just smashed her window.

Moving right along, we head back over to Sean and the hurt kid. The hurt kid mumbles something, and a tow truck drives up. I suspect these two things are unrelated.

A dude with a contraption on his leg gets out of the tow truck, and Sean asks if there’s an ambulance coming.

Contraption man walks over to the hurt kid, and says he’s dead. Sean says the kid is not dead. Contraption man snaps the kid’s neck. Man, some dudes just don’t like to be wrong.

Sean starts backing away from Contraption man. Contraption man tells Sean that there’s no point in Sean running away.

Sean asks what Contraption is going to do to him. Contraption says, “First, I’m gonna kill you.”

He keeps talking, and while he’s talking… um… I guess Sean runs away. We don’t actually see him run away, mind. Instead, Contraption says a few more lines of dialogue, and then gets in his truck and starts driving in an unclear direction.

I guess he’s going after Sean.

And now we’re back with the rest of the gang. They’re going to go back to Sean. The woman who did the flashing a little while ago says she’s can’t give them a ride. They ask if someone at the “service station” across the street could give them a ride, but the lady says the man who runs it is likely to shoot first and ask questions later.

Okay, so, there’s a service station across the street? Why didn’t they go there first?

And maybe it’s just the way the movie is shot, but the “service station” just looks like a house.

The gang starts walking down the road.

And now we’re back with Sean and Contraption. Sean is, in fact, running away, with Contraption driving slowly behind him. Contraption catches up to Sean, and Sean asks what he did wrong.

Contraption says Sean is just out of luck.

Sean asks that Contraption “give him a chance.”

If Sean really wanted a chance, perhaps he could consider RUNNING INTO THE WOODS, where Contraption’s truck can’t drive. That would sure help his cause. Also, as pointed out before Contraption has a crippled leg. So he probably can’t follow all that well, either.

At any rate Sean then runs down the road in the opposite direction, so Contraption starts driving after him. Backwards. He hits Sean. I think. It doesn’t really look like it, because it’s really poorly shot.

Then Contraption drives the truck over Sean’s body a few times, though we don’t actually get to see it, because everything is super-dark. Inside the cab, it just looks like the vehicle is nudging back and forth, and outside, it looks like the truck is just moving forward and backward.

If there’s something under the wheels, it isn’t visible.

I confess I’m feeling less than terrified at the moment.

And now we’re back with the rest of the gang. Heather’s feet hurt, and now she wants a piggyback ride.

Barry tells her to lose 20 pounds. Yes ladies, he’s a catch.

A car comes up the road, ignoring all the kids. Barry yells to the car, saying that they’ll pay the dude in the vehicle. He drives past them, and turns down a side road. Heather and Barry chase after them, leaving Jenny alone with the flashlight.

After a moment, Jenny finally starts walking after Heather and Barry. She whisper-yells to them. Why? Who is going to hear her? A maniac in a tow truck, perhaps?

Either way, she tells her “friends” that she’s going back to Sean.

A motorcycle drives by, but doesn’t stop.

Jenny starts calling out. She wants to know who is there. No one is there. Suddenly, a PLASTIC TRASH BAG BLOWS ON HER FACE.

I guess the writer/director couldn’t afford a cat.

Jenny presses on.

And now we’re back with Heather and Barry. Because I want you to understand how little fun Heather is to be around, allow me to share with you the little monologue she gives to Barry while they continue following a car that’s not headed towards their friend in any way:

“Barry, wait. Stop. What if they’re murderers and they want us to follow them, so they can hide behind trees and stab us? There could be dead people buried all around us, and we’d never know. They could tie us up in a cellar and no one would ever hear us.”

Barry points out that no one has cellars in this area.

So Heather KEEPS TALKING: “Okay, that’s it. Don’t call me dumb, Barry. I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I’m not stupid. I just act that way sometimes to get people to like me. All those stories about murders and people following me, I know it’s not true. It’s better than being bored. I’ll tell you what’s stupid, is that line you gave me about you and that girl, Brenda. Not even a little kid would believe that.”

Honestly, I’m not going to say that the original “Chainsaw” was a brilliant character analysis. The characters barely had names, barely had a reason to be where they were, and when you examine everything that happens in the original flick, it’s doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

But at least it was kind of freaky, and you didn’t actively hope that certain characters would be the first to go.

The fact that both these characters are vapid, even if they admit to it? It doesn’t make them fun to be around. Worse yet, it doesn’t make them interesting, either. I can appreciate that the writer is trying to give us something to cling to, but all he’s doing is giving them less sympathy, not more.

Heather concludes her monologue by saying that she wishes she was more like Jenny. It seems that Jenny’s mother is always getting married “every 15 minutes” and her dads are always hitting on her. Heather says, with envy, that she’s had P.E. with Jenny, and Jenny has a body to die for.

Now, somewhere in this world exists a longer cut of this movie, which makes some scenes even LONGER (Why? Why!?) and puts in a subplot about Jenny being molested by her stepfather. I tried to find it, but didn’t have any luck. And I can’t say I’m too hurt by that. Spending another 10 minutes with these characters doesn’t exactly hold a lot of appeal.

And speaking of Jenny, now we’re back with her. She’s still walking along. Alone. Calling out to Sean. At least she’s yelling again, instead of whisper-yelling.

The flashlight dies. Jenny stands there.

Heather and Barry finally reach a house. It probably took them longer to walk there than it would to get back to where Sean was. Heather says to offer them $50, but to not actually pay it. Just have them send a bill. She says her father does it all the time.

They get to the door. Heather knocks. No one answers. Barry says the people might be out back. In the dark. Right. So he goes to check.

All the windows are boarded up, by the way. But there are lights on.

Barry keeps walking, and peeks through a window slat. He just sees a broken-down old house. So he keeps on walking to the general “around back” area.

On the porch, Heather sits. She shuffles a little. Adjusts her dress. Then a dude walks up behind her, and sniffs her hair. The movie is shot in a strangely dark way, so you can’t really see much of anything, but it appears to be our old friend Leatherface.

Leatherface sniffs Heather’s hair. Really, she should clean the wax out of her ears because that porch should have made an awful ruckus when Leatherface climbed up on it from wherever he came from.

Barry keeps walking around the house, until some dude with a shotgun calls him out. They banter, and the dude with the shotgun calls Barry a moron. He speaks the unvarnished truth.

On the porch, they do the hair-smelling thing a couple more times to get some laughs out of it or to try and build suspense. Either way, it doesn’t work. Heather gets up, Leatherface knocks over a broom, and she finally sees him, and screams.

Leatherface grabs her and carries her towards the front door.

Barry almost decides to be a hero, but then he remembers that he’s got a shotgun pointed at him. Though even if the gun weren’t there, I sort of think Barry probably would have been, like, “Whatever. I have other options. Apparently Jenny is super-hot, and has low self-esteem…”

Leatherface drags Heather into the house. She gets free, and goes into another room, and latches the door.

There’s freaky stuff in that thar room.

Leatherface breaks down the door. He grabs Heather, and pulls her down the hall for a while. I will say, Heather puts up quite a fight.

Finally, Leatherface sticks Heather in a large freezer. Heather kicks her way out. Leatherface shoves her back in. They do this a couple of times, and Leatherface finally realizes he should put something heavy on top of the freezer.

Leatherface runs out into the hall, away from the screaming girl in the freezer.

Outside, Barry is still getting walked around by the shotgun guy. They go to the front door. Barry informs the man with the gun that if he goes inside, it’s considered kidnapping.

Then he decides to go in, noting that he needs to use the bathroom anyway. The moment he’s in the front door, he locks the other dude outside. And calls him a name.

The dude does not shoot the door. Even though it appears that none of these people are related to anyone in the first (or second, or third) movie, I guess he still remembers Leatherface getting in trouble for messing up the door in the first movie.

Barry wanders through the house, calling to Heather. And also, he really is looking for a bathroom. He’s very, very leisurely about the whole thing, considering there’s a dude with a shotgun outside the front door.

He finds a bathroom, and goes to make urine. He brags to Heather, wherever she is, about how he locked the dude with the shotgun outside. I like the fact that he has yet to consider how he’s going to get back out of the house.

He finishes emptying his bladder, turns around, and notices the decomposing body in the tub. He freaks, and runs into the hall without washing his hands.

Leatherface is there with a sledgehammer. He clocks Barry in the head.

You know what would be kind of awesome? If Jenny never saw any of these people again. She just wanders out of the woods, and catches a ride home, never to appear in another scene.

How cool would that be? No idea where she went, people all watching the movie and wondering what happened. I’d love that.

And it wouldn’t make any more or less sense than what’s happened so far.

Disagree? Okay, then. Question for you: Who’s the dude with the shotgun? And what’s with the guy with the bad leg? The opening text implied that these were all the same people, but guess what? With the exception of Leatherface, they aren’t.

Speaking of Leatherface, he kicks Barry for a while, then drags him into the room with the freezer. Heather calls out to Barry. Who knows why?

Leatherface pulls her out of the freezer and sticks her on a meat hook. Heather doesn’t enjoy it. But at least she stops talking.

Outside, we finally get back to Jenny, who flags down the Tow Truck O’ Death.

Contraption and Jenny back and forth, with a whole, “Where’s Sean?” “Get in, I’ll take you there,” thing.

That takes a little screen time. Then Jenny gets into the vehicle, and Contraption says that it’s dangerous to get in cars with strangers, and that some girl got in a car with a dude who cut off her arms and left her for dead. Contraption thinks that guy lacked imagination.

Jenny starts to realize getting in the vehicle was a bad idea, and Contraption tells her to look out the back window. She says that if he stops driving, she’ll look. He stops. She looks. She can see a dead Sean and that other random dude hanging there.

She asks, “What’s gonna happen to me?”

I’m not sure I understand why people in a movie like this ask that question. Also, she seems a lot less hysterical than she should be. She just saw that her friend was dead. On a freaked scale, she should be at something like a seven, and she’s at a two.

She throws herself from the vehicle and runs. At first, she does the same thing that Sean did. Run down a road so the truck can chase her easily. But finally, she runs into a group of trees, out of reach of the vehicle.

She’s kind of stuck in there, though, and she stops moving. Which is dumb, but still makes her the brainiac of her social circle.

Contraption shines a light on her, and babbles for a bit. He concludes with, “Okay. If that’s what you want. It’s up to you. Live and learn.”

Then he drives away.

Jenny looks around the dark, dark woods.

Nothing happens. Then: CHAINSAW!

Yep, it’s Leatherface. Time for running and screaming.

They do that for a bit, then Jenny makes it to the House O’ Death. She locks the door, and runs up the stairs.

Once again, Leatherface forgets it’s his house, and he starts slicing up the door.

Jenny, meanwhile, finds a dead stuffed cop. She takes his gun and starts walking down the stairs.

Leatherface breaks into the house. Jenny points the gun. It goes CLICK. Jenny throws the gun at Leatherface and runs upstairs.

She jumps out a window, and lands on part of the roof. Leatherface steps onto the roof, and they run around on the roof for a while. Jenny climbs the TV antenna, and then leaps into the air and grabs a cable, which I guess is the line to their phone?

Either way, it’s pretty strong, as she starts climbing along it, and that works great until Leatherface cuts the line.

(I feel ashamed to say it, but, “Oh, snap!”)

Jenny falls through what looks like a half-completed shed, and lands on the ground.

She gets up. We get a little cleavage shot. Jenny looks around. And then: CHAINSAW!

How did Leatherface get off the roof so fast?

Whatever. Chase sequence.

Jenny runs and runs, until she ends up at that shack again, where the woman who likes to flash guys is.

Hey, remember this scene in the first movie? Where Sally is running, and she talks to the Pump Jockey, who turns out to be evil? I’m sure that won’t happen again, right?


The woman goes out and yells for a bit. Then she comes back in, and says, it’s “Nothing.”

Jenny retorts that there’s a guy out there with a chainsaw. She actually saw the word chainsaw three times in about five seconds.

The woman makes a phone call. This time, she calls a guy named W. E. W. E.? The guy who was tried and executed in the opening scroll of part III? The W. E. who never appeared in any of the other movies?

That guy?

My head hurts.

The woman comforts Jenny for about a minute, and then W. E. shows up. He was the dude with the shotgun, earlier. How did he get there so fast?

The woman tells W. E. to tie Jenny up. W. E. pokes Jenny a couple times with a device that administers a little shock. She falls down. He hits her a few times.

A little while later, she’s tied up in the back of the woman’s car. He shocks her a few more times for fun. The woman tells W. E. to tell Vilmer that she’s going to pick up some pizza and bring them home.

Is this another reference to part III? The pizza thing?

Also, don’t they eat people? What’s with the pizza?

The woman drives away, with Jenny in her trunk. She picks up her food at a drive-through window. The dude at the window tells her he can hear something in her trunk.

She says it’s someone she’s got tied up back there. She asks the dude if he wants to come see. He says yeah. She pops the trunk. He says he probably shouldn’t come out and look, as he might get in trouble.

She steps out of the car and goes to close the trunk again. She tells Jenny to shut up and quit kicking the car. Jenny says she can’t breathe.

Um. Jenny. Now is your chance to kick and run. Go! Go! Go!

Another person pulls up at the drive-through. A bunch of kids also walk by, none of them commenting on the woman talking to Jenny in the trunk.

The woman agrees to poke a hole in the bag on Jenny’s head if Jenny will shut up. She pokes the hole, Jenny shuts up. The woman closes the trunk.

A cop gets out of the car behind the woman, and asks what’s in the trunk. She gets all coy, and says she can’t tell the cop. Then the man in the eatery tells her that her drinks are ready, and the woman takes the drinks and drives away.

Then, as she drives away, the cops drive by and she gives a little wave. Just in case you thought to yourself, “Well, THAT was a stupid scene.” This way, you think it was a stupid scene, and you’re extra annoyed, because it’s actually two stupid scenes now.

Next thing we know, the woman is driving along a dirt road, and there’s Heather. In the middle of the road. Lying down. For some reason.

The woman stops, and Heather asks for help. The woman says she needs to go get a blanket, or something. Then she gets a broken branch, and hits Heather with it. Lightly. Because I guess she isn’t very strong.

While Heather says things like. “Don’t hit me. Stop.”

Not that she tries to get up and run away.

The woman gets back into her car, with the admonishment that Heather shouldn’t try crawling away, or anything. Then she gets in her car, and drives to the house. She pops the trunk, and brings the pizza in.

Leatherface and W. E. come out. Leatherface pulls Jenny out of the car and brings her in. W. E. pokes him with his electric toy.

The woman also tells them to go get Heather, since she’s crawling off down the road.

Inside, the woman talks to Vilmer, who isn’t happy that none of his batteries are charged. They argue.

Then W. E. comes in, all mad about the door that got chopped up.

Interestingly, the front door was just fine in the previous shot. Continuity much, people?

Vilmer tells everyone to be quiet a second, and opens the bag that’s holding Jenny, so they can have some crazy banter. I’ll admit, the banter sure is crazy, and I think if we had a movie that consisted of just Vilmer and Jenny, the creep factor would be a lot higher.

But no. We’ve got the other lunkheads in the movie too, which means that Vilmer eventually stops yacking about how he might or might not kill Jenny, and instead tells everyone to look at the busted door. Which he then tosses in the trash on the floor.

W. E. quotes something at the woman. (You know what? I’m tired of calling her that. So I looked up her name. Darla. I’m sorry, I just can’t hack it any more.). W. E. has been doing this the whole movie – at least half his dialogue is random quotes.

Interesting character trait? No. No, it is not.

W. E. goes out, and Jenny asks Darla for help. She wants to know what’s up with Vilmer. Darla says she thinks Vilmer is from outer space.

Vilmer and W. E. drag Heather in, and now Jenny wonders aloud what they’re going to do to Heather. Turns out, Vilmer is going to bite her in the face, while Leatherface lifts Jenny in the air, and W. E. pokes Jenny with his shock-stick.

This scene cuts to one in another room, where Darla comforts Jenny for no reason at all, and says she’s really pretty, and says she’s got a really nice dress that would look great on Jenny.

Jenny says, “I just don’t want to die.” Darla says, “Of course you don’t.”

Okay, first of all? I am SO happy this is the last chapter in the saga. This movie makes no sense, these characters make no sense, and I have no idea what’s going on.

Consider: We still have Leatherface, but no one else from the original family. Up to this point, we haven’t even seen Grandpa, the only character not named Leatherface that appeared in all the other films.

Second issue: So, are these people cannibals, or what? Eating human flesh is what these people DO. But not here. Here I guess they’re just serial killers. Except, not really. There aren’t many bones around, and they just bought a bunch of pizzas.

Consider the original. By now, Sally was well on the way to insane. Most of the second half of the movie is chasing, beating, and the dinner sequence. And what are these yahoos doing?

Talking. A lot. And while a little crazy talk can be fun, it’s more like they’re playing good psycho, bad psycho with her. To what end? This is a horror movie, right? So where’s the horror at? It’s like they keep forgetting what kind of movie they’re making.

But back to Jenny and Darla, with a note on an earlier scene:

A few minutes ago, Vilmer made a comment about the FBI having the house wired. And now, Darla goes off on some rant about there are people who control everything. Not the government, mind you, but some other group that’s been running things for 1000, or 2000 years.

Darla can’t remember which.

Having finished her crazy-speech, Darla is tossed out of the room by Vilmer, who then starts beating lightly on Jenny again.

He pulls out a knife, and counts backwards from 10, giving her these ten seconds to come up with a reason not to kill her. Her answer?

“You want me alive for some reason.”

This is good enough for Vilmer, who walks out of the room, saysing, “It kind of makes you think, doesn’t it? Smart girl.”

Ah. I see. We’re watching a movie about government plots. That might explain the distinct lack of terror I’m feeling.

Leatherface picks up Jenny and drags her back to the kitchen. Darla and Vilmer are beating each other up. W. E. is just kind of standing there. And Leatherface seems to be sad that Vilmer and Darla are fighting.

So Jenny gets up out of her chair, and grabs a nearby shotgun, which she brandishes at everyone. She tells everyone to get on the floor.

Darla, W. E., and Leatherface get on the floor. Vilmer decides to continue with the crazy talk. First, he takes out a knife and cuts himself. Then he tells Jenny the shotgun isn’t loaded. Then Darla says the pizzas are getting cold, so he knocks Darla over and steps on her neck.

Jenny tells Heather to get up, because she’s still lying on the floor. She’s been there all this time. Heather says, “Five more minutes.” Then she almost gets up, but changes her mind and lies back down.

Jenny, who appears offended that Vilmer is still stepping on Darla’s neck, sticks the shotgun in his back. He grabs it, turns around, and sticks it in his mouth. She pulls the trigger. CLICK.


Vilmer takes the gun from her, points it at the window, and pulls the trigger again. It goes BANG. Vilmer begins celebrating like the Sand Person who clocked Luke in Star Wars. Yes, really.

Jenny takes this chance to run away. She gets in Darla’s car, which still has the keys in it, and tries to drive off.

When she backs into the house, Vilmer jumps out of a window on the second(?)(!) floor and lands on the car.

So she drives, while he says crazy things and tries to grab her through the window. She stops the car, and he falls off.

She starts driving forwards, and the hood flips up in front of her.

So she gets out of the car.

And Vilmer grabs her by the ankles.

A minute later, he drags her back in the house, has W. E. hold her, and then he hits her in the face with a shotgun, knocking her out.

Elsewhere in the house, Leatherface dresses in drag. Including lipstick.

Darla goes to the kitchen. Remember how Vilmer has that contraption on his leg? Well, it uses a remote of some kind. Darla tells Vilmer he has to be nice to her, because she can always go back to her husband.

Then she takes the remotes and starts playing with his leg. They go into a passionate embrace. On the kitchen table. Darla appears to be dressed in a prom dress now.

Darla kind of shoves Vilmer off, and grabs a pizza, and goes into the other room, telling him to join her before the food gets cold.

It’s been like an hour. The pizza is cold, lady.

So now we’re in the dining room. Jenny is dressed in some crazy black and silver dress. And there appear to be more bones in the décor, though they don’t look human, for the most part.

Vilmer says, “Welcome to my world!” No idea why. Jenny is still unconscious.

He slaps her awake.

Leatherface, W. E., Darla, and a bunch of dead people are at the table. Jenny starts screaming. Her arms aren’t tied. Vilmer screams back. Finally, everyone stops screaming.

W. E. quotes something at an old dead guy who I guess is grandpa. Or not. No one ever says, and he looks younger and less dead than previous grandpas.

After all the screaming ends, Darla brings over a paper bag for Jenny to breathe into. Jenny says, “Are you gonna help me or not?”

Pretty sure she fell on the side of “not” a long time ago. Why keep asking?

Jenny goes on to say that Vilmer doesn’t work for anyone. He’s just crazy.

Darla says there’s something in her head, and if Vilmer touches a button, her head will explode. Jenny says there’s nothing in her head.

W. E. agrees. Tee-hee.

Vilmer pulls Jenny out of her chair, and says that Leatherface is sick of his current “face,” and that he wants Jenny’s. Jenny slaps Vilmer in the face a couple times, and says, “Don’t you ever touch me!” Vilmer gets the crazy eyes, and then takes a book off the shelf and starts to read it.

Jenny says, “If you’re gonna kill me, then do it.”

This makes Vilmer mad. So he hits Darla, and also W. E.

Grandpa gets up from the table and walks away.

Jenny says, “Now, I’m gonna leave, and no one is gonna stop me.”

I’d just about kill to have even one person in this movie act like a normal human being, or something close to it.

Leatherface gets up and yells. Jenny tells him to sit down and shut up. He does.

Vilmer comes in, throws lighter fluid on Heather, and sets fire to her. She waddles away. Darla puts her out with a fire extinguisher.

A horn honks outside. There’s a car there.

A moment later, there’s a man in a suit at the front door. And also his driver.

Vilmer asks the man what he wants. The man in the suit says he assumes that’s a rhetorical question. Then he refers to Vilmer as a “silly boy.”

He goes into the dining room. Jenny runs into his arms, and says that the people are crazy, and he has to help. He tells her that it’s all right, and does a whole, “There, there,” thing. And he has her sit down.

Suit asks if anyone knows what “this” is. I’d like to know, too.

Then he goes to talk to Vilmer. He says this is appalling, and continues:

“You are here for one reason, and one reason only. Do you understand that? I want to hear you say you understand that. It’s very simple. I want these people to know the meaning of horror. Horror. Is that clear? You don’t want to be a silly boy. Is that clear? Is that clear?”

Suit undoes his tie, and starts to unbutton his shirt. His torso has a strange pattern on it, and also it’s pierced in three spots.

First, he berates Darla for being with Vilmer. Next, he licks Jenny’s face, while Leatherface holds her.

He walks away. He picks up two pieces of pizza off the floor and puts them on the table. He leaves.

Vilmer goes to stand in the corner, and presses a button on his belt. He puts his foot on Heather’s head, and presses another button on his belt. There are crunching noises.

Jenny is finally getting her crazy on. She starts weeping and getting to like a six on the scale of ten.

Vilmer pulls out a knife and starts cutting himself again.

Darla says, “Don’t, it’s not your fault!” She tries to stop him.

Jenny stands up, and walks into the next room. She tries to break through the window, but it’s boarded up.

Vilmer comes and gets her.

They go back to the dining room. Velmar holds Jenny down while Leatherface brandishes his chainsaw.

Jenny grabs the remotes for Velmar’s leg, and starts pressing buttons. She wiggles out of his grasp.

Jenny runs out the front door.

Vilmer tells Leatherface to go get Jenny.

The sun has risen. An old couple, in an RV, drive along the road.

Jenny jumps in front of them and asks them to stop.

The wife says, “Don’t stop.” And also, “There’s a monster chasing her with a chainsaw!”

Then, after she lets Jenny in while they continue to drive, “Step on it, Mr. Spottish!”

I don’t know if he steps on it or not. About a second later, here comes the tow truck, with Leatherface on it, swinging his saw.

They pull alongside the RV, Spottish freaks, and they go off the road and ram into some branches, which causes the RV to flip onto its side.

A small plane flies by overhead.

The tow truck pulls up next to the RV. Jenny runs.

Leatherface and Vilmer chase her.

The plane dives, and rams a wheel into Vilmer’s head. He falls to the ground. There’s lots of blood, so he’s probably dead.

Leatherface, in turn, stands in the middle of the dirt road and screams.

A car honks. Jenny turns and sees it, and runs to get in. The car drives away.

Suit, from earlier, is in the passenger part of what I guess is a small limo. Jenny tries to get out, but Suit says, “You have nothing to fear.”

The car drives past Leatherface, who is still freaking out a bit. Leatherface watches it go, then does his little Leatherface dance from part 1.

But at least Suit is going to explain what we just wasted our time on, right? Wrong. This is what he says:

“This. All of this. It’s been an abomination. (Wow, is this guy ever right!) You really must accept my sincere apologies. It was supposed to be a spiritual experience. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. I suppose it’s something we all live with. People like us who strive for something – a sense of harmony. Perhaps it’s disappointment that keeps us going. Unfortunately, it’s never been easy for me. One of my many failings. Would you like to go to the local hospital? Or to a police station?”

Does anyone else think that whole thing reads like an apology from the writer/director, for making such a horrifically awful flick? “Sorry, folks! I tried to make a scary one, but it doesn’t make a lick of sense. My bad.”

A short while later, Jenny is sitting in a hospital, talking to a cop, who says: “You know, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. We will find out what this is all about. This is not the end of it.”

A woman is wheeled by on a hospital bed. Wow. It’s actually Sally, from movie number one.

Fade to a shot of the sun. Oh, and Leatherface doing his little dance.

And credits.

A fun note: The voices of “Couple in RV?” They aren’t the same as the people playing them. Those dudes are dubbed. That’s going to plague me. Though probably not as much as this little fiddle tune playing under the credits.

Though once again, I guess I’m just happy it doesn’t feature Leatherface rapping.