Thursday, March 26, 2015

Children of the Corn 2 - The Final Sacrifice (1992)

The original Children of the Corn was already a stretch, being a whole feature length film based off a 30-page short story. But then they decided 'hey, we can one-up THAT in stupidity!' and decided to make a billion sequels to that original story. That's insane. That's pants-shittingly, madhouse, poop-flinging insane to levels that make the current 'shared universe' trend look positively conservative...I mean, at least the Harry Potter spinoffs are based on a multi-million dollar franchise, and at least the Marvel movies slated to come out for the rest of our natural lives are based on comics people already loved. What was there with Children of the fucking Corn? A 30-page short story by Stephen King. That's it. That was the extent of the inspiration for this franchise that ended up being like 11 movies long.

Sigh. Sometimes I just don't even know. But someone made the movies anyway, despite all logic, and so I am here to review it. This is just how it works. It's fate that everything is happening this way and I have no choice in the matter.

Director: David Price
Starring: Terence Knox, Paul Scherrer

Co-written with Michelle.

We start off with a guy discovering a bunch of dead adults in a basement, killed by the children of the corn before the film started. This presumably didn't really make the smell in his basement any worse than it was.

"I can't tell if it's the week-old salami down here or the rotting decrepit bodies of people I used to know, but man, it reeks down here now."

It turns out all the adults in a small town called Gatlin are dead and the kids end up in homes in a neighboring town. Like any respectable professional doctor, he gives them all lollipops and sends them on their ways, which I'm sure is a decent pacifier for the fact that their families are all dead.

Yes, they actually killed their own families, but the doctor doesn't know that...

The main character is this jack-off journalist who is traveling to the town to do a story on the killings with his son, because all good writers bring along their annoying sons to work. The son swears a lot and his dad reprimands him, asking him if he learned to talk that way from his mom, and then in the same conversation his dad also swears a lot. Because why make any sense even at the beginning of your movie?

They get to the town and have dinner with this hot chick who owns a hotel and wears shirts that say “Come sleep with me” as an advertisement for it – which I guess is actually brilliant advertising, if the person wearing it is attractive. At dinner, the son constantly makes fun of his dad and undermines his credibility at every turn – which makes the son my new favorite character for making fun of his weenie of a father.

The dad takes him outside and shouts at him about how he was an accident and a mistake, which is heartwarming in its honesty. I'm just so glad to see this family finally coming together and revealing all their secrets.

But yeah, the son leaves angrily, and the dad looks back inside at the boy who I'm sure he sees as a totally legit replacement as a surrogate smaller person to annoy some more.

"Wait, I need someone to project my own insecurities onto!"
"Eh, you'll do from now on."

While waiting for a bus out of town, the son runs into a hot chick, who flirts with him for no reason and then tells him as an afterthought that the bus doesn't come until Tuesday. What amazing priorities. I guess because he is the only person in town who is her age as well as NOT enjoying standing around staring unblinking and creepy, she immediately is attracted to him, which is exemplified in a later scene where she's standing underneath a waterfall in a bikini top and invites him over by actually non-ironically uttering the line “What, have you never seen a girl before?”

It's like she speaks solely in overused 1960s family movie romance cliches, and to really go all the way, just acts out every teen boy's fantasy too.

Speaking of kids who enjoy staring unblinkingly and being creepy, that's what the children of the corn do for most of the movie. I just love how unsuspecting everyone is about this – oh yes, that group of creepy kids who stand in a perfect group formation at all times and stare and smile creepily at everyone passing by CAN'T be up to anything bad!

Subtlety is, shall we say, not their strong point...

When they're not doing that though, they like to stand around in the corn and shout incredibly poorly written dialogue about how they killed the adults to make their own world a paradise. Being an adult for these kids is apparently just the worst thing you can be. It's like Peter Pan if written by Charles Manson.

My question though, is what happens when these kids grow up? Do they just get exiled or killed as soon as their voices drop and they start thinking about why exactly they're wasting their time with a cult of fucking moronic little children? If so, this is the worst cult since End of the Line.

The father, meanwhile, is just kind of wandering around doing nothing in a school, where he finds pictures of kids murdering their parents. He also runs into a stereotypical Native American man who does nothing but make insulting statements about how awful every white person is. While a Native American would have just cause to be suspicious of white people trying to take their land and shit, here it just comes off as out of place for a dumb Children of the Corn movie.

"I wanted a part in Poltergeist II, but instead I got shoved into this piece of shit. I've been drinking hard whiskey ever since."

Oh, and they find out there's actually some kind of conspiracy involving corn with mold growing on it, which they think released toxins into the air to make the kids go crazy and kill their parents. Somehow it's also some sort of conspiracy involving the sheriff, who goes insane and ties them up, trying to run them over with a corn harvester.

If you can figure out how this makes any sense in the film, well, you're better than I am at this sleuth work.
The wild eyes, the crazy evil grin, the completely over the top violent overreactions to everything - yes, elect him sheriff, he is perfect.

I dunno – he's just insane because GMOs, or money, or because sheriffs in small towns rarely have shit to do so they just like killing people with corn harvesters randomly. Either way I am sure the population of your local farmer's market will have an opinion about the purity of corn in some manner.

The whole movie is just confused as hell – we get scenes of the children of the corn murdering people mixed in with the random moldy corn investigation as well as scenes like these, which look like they came out of a cheap Harlequin romance novel adaptation:

"I thought I felt you getting frisky back there, but THIS is just ridiculous!"

To be fair though, most of those cheap romances don't end with finding disembodied hands on the ground while trying to have sex. If they did, I'd watch them more often.

The death scenes are even more over the top – witness the glory of a kill scene in a church where the main Child of the Corn stabs a voodoo doll thing and a guy bleeds to death from his nose.

This was the worst day at church since that day Millie had a hemorrhage from the bloody knife fight she had been in down at the retirement home last month.

Who was that guy? Why kill him specifically? I dunno. The movie never explains it. Hell, I'm also still trying to figure out how he managed to make that voodoo doll work, and why it's never used again for anyone else.

In another kill scene, they manage to rig an old lady's wheelchair so she gets hit by a truck and sent flying through a window of a nearby bingo hall.

To add to the super wacky comedy of the old lady in a wheelchair dying, some idiot then stands up in the rubble and goes “Bingo?”

This right here - this is the moment this franchise dies a cold death. There can be nothing else of worth spawned from this series at all after a scene this horribly cliched and hackneyed. It burns thine eyes even to gaze upon it for a second! AAAAHHHHH! 

As for how they managed to control that lady's wheelchair to begin with, eh, fuck it, I have no idea. Let's just get the rest of the review over quickly.

The finale is based around the son joining the children of the corn and going with them to their crazy ritual thing. They ask him to kill that girl he's been spending time with to prove himself, and the real indicator of what a great relationship they have is, HE ACTUALLY HESITATES AND CONSIDERS KILLING HER.

"It was fun having sex with you, but it was also fun having sex with the corn!"

Yes, really – he has to think about it for a few minutes. I guess it really was a hard choice between a kind and caring girl who seems to really like him, and a cult of weird Addams Family rejects whose only plan is to live out in the corn, cackling cartoonishly every hour or two, with no other ways of sustaining themselves until another town stupidly takes mercy on them. You know, I changed my mind; I can see why his dad hates him now.

They escape, and then get captured again, which really does great at padding out the bloated run time of this movie more than a fat kid eating a box of marshmallows all in one sitting! It's only 92 minutes, but don't worry; it feels like twice that.

There's a really lame scene where the leader of the children, about to die, pleads for the son to come save him because they're supposedly really great friends and stuff – I guess the movie forgot to show us those scenes – anyway, he turns into a demon for a few seconds, which does very little to influence the good guys' opinions.

Somehow the Native American guy died during all of this, and so they do the natural thing and burn his body right there in the corn fields before getting in a car and driving away like nothing ever happened.

Clearly he didn't have any relatives or loved ones who would have cared to know about this. Just burn his rotting corpse right now.

So this was pretty much complete nonsense. It seemed that way when we watched it, and afterward as I did this review, it seemed absolutely removed from reality in how crazy it really was. Plot threads were brought up and forgotten about just as quickly, the characters had no personality and the movie couldn't really seem to decide what it wanted to be. Is it a comedy, a horror film or some sort of weird message about food safety? Or is it just a piece of shit?

I think I'm going with that last one.

What was their plan when that town adopted them all after they killed their parents, anyway? I just can't imagine the complexities going on in their peanut brains. Really if they were so badass and ready to kill, they could have just slaughtered all the adults immediately and not even tried to pretend they were regular good kids - hell, they never tried very hard in the actual movie anyway, and instantly seemed evil without any provocation.

But whoops, if that actual logic had been applied, we wouldn't have been graced by the perfection that was Children of the Corn 2, or its gajillion sequels. Here's a picture of moldy corn to sum up what I really thought of this movie:

Images copyright of their original owners; I own none of them.