Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (David Price, 1992)
‘Koyaanisqatsi. It means life out of balance. My ancestors would have told you that man should be at one with the Earth, with the sky, the water. But the White Man has never understood this. He only knows how to take. And after awhile there’s nothing left to take. So everything is out of balance. And we all fall down.’ – Professor Frank Red Bear (Ned Romero)
‘Wait a minute. So that’s what happened in Gatlin?’ – city reporter John Garett (Terence Knox)
‘No. What happened in Gatlin is those kids went apeshit and killed everybody.’ – Red Bear
Those titular evil kids (the ones that survived anyway) from the first film (and you just know they’re all still bad the way the camera suddenly tilts every time it cuts to the menacing lot of them – but why do they always need to stand SO close together all the time? It’s Nebraska, for god’s sake… there’s plenty of room all around them), hypnotized with crazed religious fervor over ‘He Who Walks Behind the Rows’ (which is that underground-burrowing, what-I-can-only-imagine-as-Tremors-like creature raising a big ruckus down there, the one that we frustratingly never get a chance to actually see, other than the rolling dirt, even after two of these movies at this point!) are taken in by the people of a nearby small town with this entirely clueless religious folk, their heads clearly embedded in their asses, doing their best not to be unsettled by the blank look in the kids’ eyes, or how they keep congregating together at night and whispering conspiratorially amongst themselves)… not surprising, even with all the best intentions, things never really get off on the right foot (to say the least)…
Perhaps it’s a bit of that particular weakness of mine, known as cinematic nostalgia, softening me up, but I found quite a bit to like in this first of sooooo many sequel to come. There’s the uncovering of a big business conspiracy wrapped around greed (in the mould – pun intended, for those paying attention — of the more Leftie intellectual horror fare of the late great maverick filmmaker Larry Cohen – think toxic corn farming) as the possible contributor to why the children have gone nuts (nicely – and subversively — hinting that perhaps the kiddos aren’t so evil for killing the compromised parents who are destroying their future, which I admit lines right up with a pitch I once gave to Dimension for a “Children of the Corn” sequel that I really wanted to do but – as with most things film-ically attached to me – it didn’t happen). The Native American character, Prof Red Bear, is actually written as a full character (with even a sense of humor, as the above dialogue shows), not just as a prop to provide mystical information for the White Man. Even the death scenes aren’t bad for such a low budget effort, enlivened with black humor (the guy bleeding out in the church is a highlight, as well as the old woman who ends up crunched under her house, her legs left jutting out like the Wicked Witch of the East, crushed by Dorothy’s tornado thrown house – and if there’s any question about the filmmaker’s intent, the unfortunate old lady’s name in the film is Ruby Burke, so think slippers and a certain actor’s name who played one of the witches). And the burning alive of the entire town’s inhabitants (revealed as just a big a group of freaks as the kids) is admirably intense.
Yeah, it’s got it’s wonky bits (the sudden transporting of one of the evil kids into a cartoon plasma universe, where he de-atomizes and then re-assembles immediately comes to mind, a scene I guess trying to show how the ‘evil’ enters him, even though I thought he was already one of the evil ones, so to be truthful, I have no idea why the scene even exists, especially as, with its use of very primitive CGI, it looks ridiculous) but for all the universal derision this seemingly endless assembly-line franchise gets dumped on it, I have to wonder… how many people have actually seen them? Cuz the first two? A bit low rent, perhaps, but not bad. Not great, but not bad. And the second one, what the hell, at least it’s not just lazily re-doing the first film again, but trying to build a bit on the mythos. We’ll see how it goes from here.
No, not another King film!