Nether Regions 04.13.10: Children of the Corn 2: The Final Harvest
Nether Regions started as a segment of the Big Screen Bulletin that meant to showcase films that have been discontinued on DVD, are out of print in the United States, are only available in certain regions outside the United States, or are generally hard to find. Now it is a column all its own! You might ask “Why should I care about a film I have no access to?” My goal is to keep these films relevant because some of them genuinely deserve to be recognized. Every time I review a new film I will have a list of those I covered below so you can see if they have been announced for DVD release, or are still out of print.
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice
Starring: Ryan Bollman, Paul Scherrer, and Terrence Knox
Most people I know are very hesitant to criticize the acting of children. Whenever I enter into a verbal debate on this topic I have to tread carefully because some get angry quite quickly. One of the first films I cite as a definite example of universally horrendous child acting is Children of the Corn from 1984. It is a franchise that has mysteriously survived for over 26 years, including 6 sequels and a remake. Considering the ridiculousness of the original, and the putrid excuse for a sequel, I have no idea how this series has managed to stay afloat, but to each his own I guess.
|The Spanish poster
is much creepier don’t you agree?
I loathed the first film starring Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton, and understood approximately zero of what transpired. It wasn’t complex, just incompetent. Before actually watching the original, I noticed the first sequel, Children of the Corn 2: The Final Harvest had never been released on region 1 DVD, and is very hard to find. I decided to hunt down a copy of the VHS, and mercifully it wasn’t very expensive. Since enduring that initial 92 minutes of torture, I have procrastinated on diving into this “Nether Regions” selection. But, my brief hiatus in the past two weeks has allowed me to build up my courage and tackle The Final Harvest. That’s a pretty silly title considering this saga would go on for 5 more sequels. This was the tagline in 1993: These Children Are Home Alone Too, But Their Parents Won’t Be Coming Back. I suppose this is taking after the Home Alone movies which were popular in the early 90’s? Who knows? Only in Children of the Corn 2 could a tagline be as dumb as the story.
The story picks up after the first massacre when the bodies were found and news crews have made their way to Gatlin, Nebraska. In turns out the people of the neighboring town Hemingford have agreed to adopt the remaining children. John Garrett (Terrence Knox) and his estranged son Danny (Paul Scherrer) have joined the fray as well. John works for the World Enquirer, a gossip rag. One of the kids, Micah (Ryan Bollman), becomes possessed by a demon that was sent by “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” This is the evil entity the cult worships. Micah leads the group of Gatlin children on a quest to kill everyone in town, including those kids who do not support their cult.
I must confess something. I do not know much of what happens in this movie. I have watched it. I have thought about it. I have wondered how my brain will continue to function after the movie. I do know that this involves defiling the corn, pissed off Gods, and sacrifices for “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” That must be the bulk of the lines. The characters repeated this title over and over again until the viewers’ heads spin around in madness like in The Exorcist. The screenplay by A.L. Katz is made up of largely pretentious dialogue, meaningless deaths, and idiotic romantic sub-plots. Phrases like “Life out of balance”, “circle of light” and “cleanse the stalk of its poison” are tossed around because they sound smart. Apparently we discover that the Sheriff and the town Doctor are also involved somehow, but then they are killed off by the cult too, so it leaves us stumped. Most of this franchise is inexplicable. It is about a God of corn, folks. Perhaps the Stephen King story is riveting and intriguing. I have not read it. All I know is that corn stalks are not a good starting point for a horror story.
|Here we have Christie Clark
as a much older and mature Lacey
Hellerstat. Very nice.
The gore is certainly amped up for this adventure. Amidst the silly conversations and yelling at the corn, some poor townsfolk meet gruesome ends. While a fire-and-brimstone preacher Rev. Hollings (John Bennes) is passionately unloading his sermon, a healthy gentleman listening has a nose bleed that gets out of control fast. He ends up bleeding to death. Micah enters the church with a wooden voodoo doll and a knife and kills this guy because…..he feels like it. This random Joe had no importance before or afterward. An old lady, who did show up in the story warning everyone about the kids, is eventually crushed by her house in what has to be one of the most absurd death scenes ever. It’s not like she can’t walk or crawl, but she refuses to escape under that house. Instead of facing the kids, she would rather be smashed like the Wicked Witch of the East. Two unfortunate news reporters have some bad luck in the cornfields. One is pierced by a corn stalk. Yes my readers, corn stalks KILL! They can penetrate human flesh! The other has his throat slit by lightning. Don’t ask me to explain it. I have no clue.
Not one member of the cast is fun or enjoyable to watch. Ryan Bollman is Micah, who resembles a young Alan Rickman. As he is possessed by the demon, we are privy to a special effects showcase that literally comes out of nowhere and absolutely does not belong anywhere in the story. It’s straight out of Heavy Metal. Paul Scherrer is a young blonde heartthrob named Danny that constantly argues with his father who he is now stuck with. Boo hoo. Scherrer twirls his hair and frolics in the water with a girl in town. His father John is portrayed by Terrence Knox, and they have what you might label as the opposite of chemistry. The role of John Garrett is an easy one, but Knox stumbles through it the entire time, occasionally battling the kids for who can overact the most. John obtains the majority of his information from a local Native American named Frank Redbear (Ned Romero). He is that wise old Indian whose tribal wisdom is of course directly connected to the problem at hand. Yawn.
|Rosalind Allen in
her “Sea Quest” uniform.
The only saving grace is the girl that Danny hooks up with. Her character is Lacey Hellerstat, and she is a striking young lass that looks nice in a bathing suit. And she has a cool name as well. She is played by Christie Clark, whose notable parts include A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and now a bunch of soap operas. The lovely Rosalind Allen is the love interest for Danny’s father John. He gets some. Danny does not. Better luck next time sonny. The woman who gets crushed by her house is Marty Terry, and she actually has two parts here as Mrs. Burke and her own sister. Was there a shortage of old ladies to cast?
This gem was directed by David Price, whose resume includes such masterpieces as Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde and Son of Darkness: To Die For II. He couldn’t have had any control over the production. The entire picture is a mess and no logical or discernable aim/scope/tone/mood can be detected. The special effects are not only cheesy, but laughable and unnecessary. Numerous plot threads and characters are dropped and left out to pasture. At one time the actions of the children are blamed on toxic mold. It is fleetingly referred to now and then. The performances are all over the place and completely inconsistent. Did I mention the plot makes no sense? In case I forgot, this is a reminder.
If I’m lucky, the legions of Children of the Corn fans will read this and provide comments so that I can finally understand the fascination and longevity of this series. I am a completist, but I honestly don’t know if I can make it through another one of these. You can bet this one concludes with a near sacrifice of an attractive female, a lot of yelling by the children, and eventually a huge fire that burns them all in a chaotic inferno. The heroes are dull, the plot is asinine, and the direction is inept. I can bet that issues with the rights have prevented this one from being released on DVD in the US. If Phantasm II can see the light of day, you can bet this pile of excrement will too. Will anyone care? I hope not.
Final Rating = 1.5/10.0
The Heartbreak Kid – Still Out of Print
Homicide – Now Available
The Taking of Pelham 123 (1998-TV) – Still Out of Print
The Stepfather – Now Available
The Stepfather 2 – Now Available
The Stepfather 3 – Still Out of Print
Phantasm II – Now Available
Red Cliff Part 1 and Part 2 – All Versions Now Available
America, America – Still Out of Print
Salem’s Lot – Still Out of Print
A Return to Salem’s Lot – Still Out of Print
Latin Lovers – Still Out of Print
State Fair (1933) – Still Out of Print
The African Queen – Now Available
Wings – Still Out of Print
Cavalcade – Still Out of Print
Sleuth (1972) – Still Out of Print
Johnny Guitar – Still Out of Print
Sorry for the absence these past two weeks. It has been a bit crazy and if I had written a column, it would not have been very good. That is why this film was a great one to ease back into the groove with. Since this film was super bad, I could have some fun with it. I have managed to watch some movies when I can. Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck and Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger were both excellent. Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout was good but not great. In terms of music, even though I was not crazy about The Runaways biopic, I have been listening to some Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, along with some Lita Ford lately. As for wrestling, I can’t say anything positive about current storylines, especially those involving Swagger. I can say that I watched Samoa Joe vs. CM Punk II in Ring of Honor. That was a classic. Make sure to tune in next week for a film that will hopefully be a lot more entertaining.
-Thanks to Jeremy Thomas for my banner.
“The plural of Chad is Chad?”
–From the movie Recount