[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 12 – Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)

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Director: David Price

Cast: Terrence Knox, Paul Scherrer, Ryan Bollman, Christie Clark, Rosaline Allen, Ned Romero

Screenplay: A.L. Katz, Gilbert Adler

92 mins. Rated R for horror violence and gore, and for language.

 

“What is all this shit about the corn?”

-Actual Quote from the film

There are few franchises that just won’t die. I’m not talking about franchises like Friday the 13th or Halloween, which still maintain popularity with each release. I’m talking about franchises that just won’t die. Ones like The Amityville Horror or one we are going to talk about some today, Children of the Corn. As I watch each new film, I wonder to myself, “Who’s still watching these?” I get no definitive answer. There can’t be enough people that continue to frequent a franchise like this, with quality dwindling as each new installment drops. It’s a mystery, that’s for sure, and the only way to truly solve it is to dive right in.

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Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice follows the events of the previous installment. After the police discover the town of Gatlin and all the parentless children, they move them to the nearby town of Hemingford in hopes of getting the children to new families and better lives. The problem is that the surviving children of Gatlin aren’t prepared to let go of their deity, He Who Walks Behind the Rows. When teenager Micah (Ryan Bollman, The Neverending Story III: Escape from Fantasia, $elfie Shootout) is possessed by He Who Walks Behind the Rows, he begins enacting plans to rid  the town of Hemingford of adults and create a similar society like Gatlin. Reporter John Garrett (Terrence Knox, TV’s Tour of Duty, From a Whisper to a Scream) and his son Danny (Paul Scherrer, Rockets’ Red Glare, Standoff) have just entered town and are thrust into the middle, with Danny himself being courted to join the cult.

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice starts out with a promising yet all too familiar premise of the cult spreading to a new town. It quickly begins to fall though under the weight of its super-low budget. Director David Price (Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, Son of Darkness: To Die For II) used locals in all the roles outside of the principal cast and nobody is showing any signs of acting capabilities. The acting across the board is choppy and disappointing, which many could fault the screenplay from A.L. Katz and Gilbert Adler (Tales from the Crypt presents Bordello of Blood). It’s a dual disappointment I’m afraid.

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Price’s film doesn’t showcase any ability for storytelling, be it from the visual or auditory fashion. The film tries to retell the original film and instead only shows its own faults. Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice is just downright terrible. There’s no reason that there should’ve ever been a third film…Ever (to be continued when I review Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest).

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Fritz Kiersch’s Children of the Corn, click here.

[12 Days of Christmas] On the Second Day… Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

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Director: Lee Harry

Cast: Jean Miller, Eric Freeman, Elizabeth Kaitan, James L. Newman

Screenplay: Lee Harry, Joseph H. Earle

88 mins. Rated R.

 

Sometimes, you get sequels that enrich the original film while furthering the ideas put forth by its predecessor. Sometimes, you get a sequel that spends its first half with flashbacks of the first film. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is the latter.

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After seeing his brother gunned down on Christmas, Ricky Caldwell (Eric Freeman, Children of the Corn) begins to display the same disturbed behavior that Billy had. As he is interviewed by Dr. Henry Bloom (James L. Newman, Flags of Our Fathers, Evan Almighty), Ricky describes the events that led him to a psychiatric hospital, all the while displaying his anger towards Mother Superior (Jean Miller) for her involvement in Ricky’s descent into madness.

This film makes absolutely no sense and nothing actually happens. There are plot holes galore, like the fact that Ricky is just able to walk out the front door of his asylum unnoticed.

Eric Freeman’s performance is nails on a chalkboard. He says his lines in the same monotone voice that would drive anyone he speaks with to a mental institution themselves. Beyond getting himself immortalized in a Youtube video forever, Freeman cannot act himself through the framing device of the film’s first half. He might have Voice Immodulation, so I guess I can’t blame him. No wait, yes I can.

Elizabeth Kaitan (Twins, Spy Hard) is another such actress, but she holds up slightly better in other movies, barely. We know why she is here, though. She shows up. She gets naked. She gets murdered. Standard Elizabeth Kaitan performance.

The trouble started with a poor original film for a sequel, followed by a low budget and a bad screenplay. They continue on with more blandness until your finished project is so bad that a drinking game was invented to get through it. DRINKING GAME: Drink every time Ricky adjusts his eyebrows. Drink responsibly, though, folks. He does this at least 100 times in the film. You have been warned.

 

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“GARBAGE DAY!”

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is just plain garbage. There you go.

 

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Silent Night, Deadly Night, click here.

31 Days of Horror: Day 20 – Children of the Corn (1984)

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Director: Fritz Kiersch

Cast: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin, Courtney Gains

Screenplay: George Goldsmith

92 mins. Rated R.

 

I love Stephen King. I do. He has been one of the few authors in my lifetime that have inspired me to do what I do. I am currently reading his entire library of work chronologically, and I just find his writing fascinating. I was a big fan of the short story Children of the Corn from his collection Night Shift. It was terrifying at the core. The story, about a bunch of children in the town of Gatlin who turn on their parents and slaughter the adults of the town before forming their own society to serve the mythical deity He Who Walks Behind the Rows, is just so eerie and yet told in such a way that it becomes believable, which in turn makes it more horrifying. The film version is an inverse. It tells the story in such a way that it becomes wholly unrealistic and sometimes laughable.

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It stars Peter Horton (TV’s thirtysomething, The Baby-Sitters Club) as Burt and Linda Hamilton (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dante’s Peak) as his wife Vicky. Of the children performing, the only two who warrant any such fear are Isaac (John Franklin, The Addams Family, Python) and his servant Malachai (Courtney Gains, Back to the Future, Faster).

Horton’s portrayal of Burt is totally fallable and silly. He comes across as not even believing himself when he reads lines. Hamilton as well is given next to nothing in terms of character arc (her entire character stripped down to being Daphne in any episode of Scooby-Doo). The children cannot control their scenes and the film ultimately falls apart before any supernatural elements, like a rotoscoped demonic shade deity, enter the field. It is no wonder that director Fritz Kiersch and screenwriter George Goldsmith have gotten nothing back from Hollywood, but that’s what you get when you completely throw out the original script from the source material’s creator.

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It is disappointing to see such terrific source material mangled in such a way, but the film is just not all that good. Well, I guess when compared to the sequels…Oscar anyone?

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

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