Thursday, June 8, 2017

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice


**

A disgraced news reporter (Terrence Knox) arrives in Nebraska at a neighboring town of Gatlin where the adult bodies are found, having been murdered by the children, with an estranged son in tow, encountering more than he could bargain for as He Who Walks Behind the Rows seems to be up to his old tricks…possessing more children and persuading them to attack adults again. The reporter, John Garrett, and his NYC boy, Danny (Paul Scherrer) aren’t on the best of terms after the divorce, arriving in town with friction and tension. John meets Angela (Rosalind Allen), who operates a bed and breakfast, kindly giving a room to Micah (Ryan Bollman) who immediately shows signs of darkness, eventually chosen as the new leader of the evil children by He Who…yeah, you know the name. Eventually Danny meets this babe, Christie Clark (of Days of Our Lives; she’s nearly been on 500 episodes of the show!), portraying Lacey, always in bikini top and jorts. Yeah, Lacey bathes under a waterfall and gives Danny that flirty smile with those pearly whites. And not to leave John out in the cold, he’s soon getting his sin on with Angela, with her all too willing to sweat it out a bit in a room (considering there are plenty unoccupied as the tourists passing through are few and far between). Micah is out and about gathering up his troop of tykes, trying to also bring Danny into the fold. Danny, though, is consumed time-wise (and attention-wise) with Lacey so Micah is basically given a few minutes here and there. John continues to investigate the Gatlin murders, meeting Dr. Frank Redbear (Ned Romero, who was interestingly in House IV of the same year) while in the town’s rundown school, left in terrible condition after the kids killed the teachers. Redbear has this great line in the movie as John questions him about the reasoning behind the murders, looking for, I guess, some profound explanation he might provide…but Redbear just honestly believes, “No... what happened in Gatlin was those kids went ape-shit and killed everyone.” Redbear’s just a straight shooter. When Micah isn’t leading his troops into dropping a house on a elderly local who berates their presence, causing her wheelchair sister to take a flight through the window of a bingo parlor thanks to a remote control “malfunction”, or setting a building on fire with adults congregating to determine matters involving town function trapped inside, He Who…yada, yada, yada…is using a corn stalk as a javelin, with it serving as an impaling device through the throat of a news reporter rival of John’s or slicing the throat of the reporter’s van driver. Poor doc (Ed Grady, of all the television and movie work, sadly I know him as the pitchman for Fred’s Department Store) ends up with an office full of kids at night bombarding him with hypodermics until he collapses from the accompaniment of stab wounds.

He Who Walks Behind the Rows eventually wills Micah to force Danny into getting rid of Lacey and Angela in order for their blood to “seed the harvest” (or seed the corn, whatever…), so John and Redbear will need to interfere or else. There’s even a detour where the sheriff catches John and Redbear investigating “sick corn”, found in a barn mixed with good corn and sets up a farming machine to mulch them so the secret remains. The sheriff is confident he can just pay off whoever he needs to in order for the corn, poisoned or no, to go where it needs so they can make their profits. The sheriff is not even apologetic, guilt-stricken, or bothered by it! As John and Redbear are tied to a stake in the ground, the sheriff flaunts their demise and jokingly comments on how it’ll end badly for them! It ends badly for him, though, as he was in charge of the adult community meeting that was sent up into an inferno.

Bollman really gets into the part of Micah. His face and how he bellows HE WHO WALKS BEHIND THE ROWS certainly illustrates that. Soon his eyes are darkened and he scowls. I don’t know if it is best described as pouty face, but I think that is close enough.





Knox and Sherrer have their bouts due to “bad parenting”. Sherrer and Christie remain all cute and kissy. Romero as the wise Native American just up and steals the film, given a sense of humor and sarcasm I definitely appreciated. He even gets to be the hero, coming to the rescue on the corn harvesting machine, interrupting Micah’s chants of WE ARE ONE! Of course he gets the arrow from the bow into his side and dies, but not before saving the day… For my money, Micah causing a guy to gush blood like a leaky faucet during an intensely preached sermon in church takes the honors of harshest kill. He just can't stop the leak, hemorrhaging until he collapses into a heap.
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I failed to include a few personal details which often feature importantly in my reviews for films of my "video era". The 90s were like that, plenty of surveying rental stores, expecting some "direct to" offering, with sequels unconnected and unrelated to each other afforded the luxury (or is that notoriety?) of taking the name of a popular film. Watching Hellraiser: Revelations (2011) reminded me of just how far a franchise can indeed collapse. I guess The Final Sacrifice could be seen as just a patently mediocre sequel that followed a less than favorable film that had the good fortune of casting decently and having a sinister and campy edge to it. The second film does have some campy moments and bonkers death sequences to lure sequel horror fans. All of these Children of the Corn sequels seem to follow that. The first film primarily just kept things the children doing dastardly deeds, with some supernatural hokum arriving late. The sequels just say Fuck It and go crazy. Fields of Terror has David Carradine's head split open with this flame blowtorching Fred Williamson's face! So the franchise going forward after The Final Sacrifice followed its lead, it seems. And there were those suckers like me dropping crinkled double George's on the counter and a sequel VHS in the black box. We shoulda known better. Moth to the flame.

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