This is part of the Horrorathon for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO).
From IMDb: A journalist and his son travel to Nebraska to investigate the mysterious town of Gatlin where, unbeknownst to them, a murderous cult of children are still waiting in the corn fields.
The first movie ends with our protagonists escaping Gatlin with two young children after seemingly destroying He Who Walks Behind the Rows.
This sequel came out 8 years after the original movie and was somehow deemed suitable for a theatrical release. It will be the last theatrical release of the series for a good long while.
Despite the time gap between releases, this film starts very soon after the first ends, with the children of Gatlin getting bussed to the nearby town of Hemingford to be put into foster care following the grizzly murders of all the adults in Gatlin.
News reporters and investigators try to interview the surviving children including a shifty looking Goth kid named Micah and a ginger named Mordechai so you already know there is going to be trouble.
A reporter attempts to interview a little girl:
Reporter: “Did you see what happened to your mommy and daddy?”
Child: “I saw…I saw the corn.”
Reporter: “What is all this shit with the corn?”Someone get this man a Pulitzer!
The authorities blame Isaac and the dead children for the murders, and the remaining children either seem to have amnesia or refuse to talk. For obvious reasons, not everyone is a fan of having a murderous cult of children come stay in their town. An elderly woman named Mrs. Burke rides up on her bicycle to scream at the town sheriff and smack off his sunglasses the way only a white woman could to show her utter displeasure with letting a murderous cult come stay in her town.
We also meet our main protagonists divorced dad/reporter Garrett and his teenage son Danny.
They have a tense relationship as evidenced when Garrett straight up tells Danny he was a mistake:
“I was 17 years old and I made a mistake! Now you deal with that anyway you can. I’m still trying to figure it out”Garrett
Danny is stuck playing sidekick as Garrett tries to revive his career by writing an article about what happened in Gatlin.
Meanwhile I’m delighted to say corn itself starts killing people in this movie – no children needed!
Of course the corn is being sneaky so the town is none the wiser about this.
Our resident Goth Micah wanders into the corn at night when he sees the other children are out there. And then…something happens to him in a clip that defies explanation. I think evil corn merges with his DNA maybe?
After this, Micah is now the leader of the “children” of the corn.
The children quickly get to work to killing various adults in Hemingford, starting with Mrs. Burke who tried to serve as the Harbinger of Impending Doom by warning people this is exactly what would happen if they took the Gatlin children in.
The children smear some kind of corrosive dirt on her house. Despite the fact this clearly looks like it could be feces, our intrepid protagonist Garrett 1) touches it to 2) sniff it (instead of just sniffing it without touching it!) and 3) rubs it on his khaki pants.
After luring Mrs. Burke under her house which has been elevated in order to be moved, the children kill her cat offscreen and crush her under the house as she laments “oh what a world” because you damn well know they are referencing The Wizard of Oz here.
The children then set their sights on an adult that tried to identify them as murder accomplices to the reporters. Micah uses a wooden Voodoo doll to dispatch of this adult, causing him to bleed profusely from multiple orifices WHILE THE PASTOR JUST CONTINUES TO PREACH:
John encounters a Native American professor named Frank Red Bear while he investigates Gatlin, leading to so many great exchanges it is hard to pick, but I’ll just highlight one:
Frank: “My ancestors would have told you that man should be at one with the earth, the skies, and water. But the white man has never understood this. He only knows how to take. And after a while, there’s nothing left to take. So, everything’s out of balance. And we all fall down.”
Garrett: “Wait a minute… so that’s what happened here in Gatlin?”
Frank: “No. What happened in Gatlin was those kids went ape-shit and killed everyone.”Frank being one of the best parts of this movie
Meanwhile Mrs. Burke’s sister Mrs. West laments her sister’s death and immediately starts blaming the children. My favorite part of this exchange is Mrs. West’s Stedman of a husband who wheels her up to everyone so she can yell at them all, and then silently rolls her away when she seems finished for the day.
Later, the children also kill Mrs. West (played by the same actress Marty Terry) in a scene so ridiculous it needs to be seen to be believed:
Micah approaches Garrett’s son Danny after hearing him argue with his dad, and mentions “I used to have problems with my father too.” The cornaganda has started in full force! But Danny is pretty ready to start sinning with a local girl named Lacey so it seems unlikely he will convert.
Unfortunately for these young lovebirds, they realize they are surrounded by dismembered body parts which they somehow didn’t notice when first laying down in a cornfield. They run off to presumably tell the police…except they don’t? They just run to their own places after finding dismembered bodies, and get kidnapped by the evil children.
Garrett and Frank find a barn full of toxic corn the town plans to sell with the current crop. The aflatoxin on the corn can cause hallucinations, leading Garrett and Frank to believe that the children may all be hallucinating. They are nearly killed by the town’s sheriff, who is part of the plan to sell the rotten corn. He tries to kill them by tying them up and turning on a corn harvester to try and run them over. That’s right – he just turns on the harvester and leaves.
The children also burn most of the town’s adult leaders to death at a town hall, leaving the path open for them to sacrifice both Garrett and Danny’s love interests in the fields. Garrett and Frank drive the corn harvester into the field, stopping the sacrifice. Garrett proves he has far less scruples about killing children than other adults:
Garrett, Danny, and their love interests manage to escape when Micah gets caught in the corn harvester driven by a dying Frank as he succumbs to an arrow wound from one of the children. Interestingly, the entity possessing Micah seems to break away from him in the last few moments, causing Danny to watch a seemingly innocent Micah realize he is about to die horrifically in a moment that gives me serious Angelus/season 2 Buffy vibes:
The rest of the children flee.
The next morning, Garrett decides to burn Frank’s body in a traditional Indian burial method Frank told him about, apparently not stopping to consider how unwise let alone inappropriate it is to burn a stranger’s body in the middle of a crime scene. Hopefully this is what Frank wanted?!
Angela asks Garrett “what about the children?” and he says “we tell their story. Let the healing begin.” Okay Garrett.
- Much like the first movie, there are hints that the children are hallucinating or making things up. But also much like the first movie, the narrative makes it clear there is an evil entity in the corn equipped with Predator-like infrared eyesight and an ability to kill people as needed.
And Frank notes that in the past, the children acted evil because the adults weren’t treating the land correctly, and balance needed to be restored. So by the film’s own logic…are the children right to do what they do?
In that case, the tagline “the ultimate adult nightmare” wouldn’t merely insinuate that the ultimate nightmare is the idea of being murdered by children. The ultimate nightmare would be that the children were correct in their actions…
- ANYWAY, I also wanted to note Garrett has a completely random sex scene with the Bed & Breakfast owner where they 1) leave the door cracked open (!) and 2) his son Danny walks by and says “Dad…” while grinning which is not a reaction one should have when they accidently hear their parent having sex!
- Micah is clearly painted as the “lost cause Goth kid who is a bad influence” and Danny is an All-American, baseball loving blonde teenager “with his whole life ahead of him.” Micah also reads as queer to me. It seems like there are some earnest fans of the character and Ryan Bollman’s performance, and like Isaac in the first he is definitely a standout from the rest.
Is It Worth It?
This is not quite as fun as Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes or Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, but it is knowingly silly and relatively entertaining throughout its runtime.
So is it worth it? Well, if you are the kind of person who watches this montage and needs to know more than you should absolutely watch this movie:
The next movie Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest brings the killer corn to my city – Chicago! I’m a big fan of Poltergeist III so I have higher hopes than I should for a third film set in the Windy City.