Eva Mendes, Blow Up Dolls, and Smeat: Is Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998) Worth It?

This is part of the Horrorathon for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). 

Well it is definitely the newest chapter to date for sure!

From IMDb: Six college students on a road trip take a wrong turn and end up trapped in a strangely deserted rural town inhabited by a murderous cult of children.

Two years after Scream refreshed the horror genre, we get a bonafide Children of the Corn (#CotC for the real fans) slasher – just look at the poster! And it is worth the wait…even if the official teaser trailer for it consists entirely of clips from the previous three films.

Recap:

The movie starts with a kid walking up to a green fire in a corn field and then this happens:

Gif of green camp fire shooting out and hitting a child in the chest while he shudders in a corn field at night.
My wife: I love that there’s no setup or preamble 
Me: Nope they just launched right in to whatever this is 

One year later, our green fire child Ezeekial (sic) murders a man by using telekinesis to levitate him before striking him with lightning in a useful show of psychic power my wife accurately predicted would never be used again. The man’s wife is quickly dispatched by multiple children brandishing scythes.

The next day we meet a group of six friends who are traveling in two cars through a rural area. 

Charlotte and Lazlo are in the first car, and instead of just letting their friends follow their car like normal people, they use blow up dolls as landmarks for their friends to follow. 

A man in a wide brimmed hat affixes a blow up doll to a sign on the road
Mapquest exists at this point. For that matter maps exist at this point. Just saying.

In the second car, the friends are jostling around an urn of what turns out to be their dead friend’s ashes. They are traveling to allegedly pay their respects since they are “the closest thing he had to family.”

The driver is literally saying “hey buddy!” as he knocks on the urn

When the deceased friend’s girlfriend Kir (played by Eva Mendes) asks her friend Tyrus to stop, he replies “sorry I forgot you are playing the role of grieving widow.”

Close up of white man blinking in what appears to be surprise

Lazlo and Charlotte stop to put up another blow up doll. Charlotte critiques him for putting up a blow up doll at a gas station, worrying it will upset the locals. Then without another word, she turns around and runs into a field marked “No Trespassing” to frantically steal corn like she is grabbing bonus items on Supermarket Sweep.

short haired brunette woman clutching three ears of corn to her chest in a cornfield
I too love corn but why!?
A black man looks directly at the camera looking puzzled while question marks appear near his face

Charlotte and Lazlo are killed by murderous children sadly using scythes and not magic corn. One of their blow up dolls hits the windshield of their friends’ car and causes them to swerve off the road and crash in a situation that should definitely not cause a capable driver to crash.

This also leads to Kir getting covered in her ex-boyfriend’s ashes before Tyrus throws the empty urn over his shoulder into the field!

From left to right: Tyrus, Greg, Allison, and Kir.

The car is somehow undriveable. After a few children come out the corn to act creepy and leave without helping, they head into town and go to a local bar. After telling the locals their town stinks in a display of thoughts that definitely should have stayed inside thoughts, a farmer mentions the stink is due to a creepy cult of children burning a combustible corn flame on the outskirts of town. The townsfolk basically try to just avoid the cult. He also mentions they worships “He Who Walks Behind the Clouds” or something. This immediately catches Allison’s interest.

Our Final Girl in the works Allison

Allison clarifies that the farmer means He Who Walks Behind the Rows, and decides they need to leave town immediately (apparently she’s seen the previous movies!) But they are stranded after missing the bus out of town and discovering the car has been lit on fire. They ultimately break into an empty house that’s for sale to seek shelter. Luckily they find some canned food and beer so they are ready to settle in for a night of obligatory drinking, sex, and jump scares.

Allison also chooses to randomly tell the group that their friend Kurt didn’t die in a freak bungee jumping accident – he actually killed himself on purpose. She had found a suicide note and hid it before anyone else saw. Kir cries out that she is a liar, and Greg decides it would be helpful to immediately ask Kir if she is okay after learning her boyfriend actually killed himself instead of dying in an accident.

“So anyway can anyone pass the Smeat?”

Allison, seemingly in the mood for dramatic reveals after the Smeat dinner kicks in, tells Greg that she has a little brother named Jacob she abandoned when she fled their abusive father. She suspects Jacob might be involved with the He Who Walks Behind the Rows cult. So this means despite the fact they were traveling to honor Kurt, they somehow ended up near Allison’s hometown too?

That night, Kir and Tyrus sleep together and after she sees a strange, creepy child at the window of the bedroom, Greg and Allison find Charlotte and Lazlo’s dead bodies near some heavy duty farm machinery. They call the sheriff, who scolds them for partying near machinery and tells them to leave town immediately. Like you do when you find two dead bodies.

Allison refuses to go without seeing if her brother is part of the He Who Walks Behind the Rows cult, and her friends begrudgingly follow her. She meets Luke, the adult pastor who runs the cult. Dimension Films definitely called in some favors for this one since he is played by the late David Carradine.

David Carradine getting a paycheck and/or paying back a favor

He acknowledges that their ways “must seem strange to Allison” which…yeah. You are a grown man operating a cult of orphaned children. How have you not been arrested yet?!

Meanwhile, the Academy Award goes to Eva Mendes and Greg Vaughan for this incredibly awkward moment:

I love how she nearly rolls her eyes right in front of him before walking away

Allison is permitted to visit with her brother Jacob who is about to turn eighteen. He also tells her he has a pregnant wife. She offers to take him home with her, but he gives her a Patent Corn Bible (TM) and tells her to leave.

Allison discovers that Jacob secretly wrote “HELP” in his Patent Corn Bible, and he refuses to sacrifice himself, resulting in Ezeekial taking him to a barn and torturing him for his insolence.

But no worries because Kir is brainwashed at this point! She joins the cult to sacrifice herself to the eternal flame and be with Kurt.

At this point, she allegedes she is 17 years old and thus nearly at the age the cultist are required to sacrifice themselves. HOW OLD ARE THESE CHARACTERS SUPPOSED TO BE?

The sheriff finally realize it is probably not okay to let one grown man run a cult in an isolated farm house with a bunch of orphaned children, and go to confront Luke with Allison in tow. So Ezeekial naturally turns Luke into a flaming Venus Fly Trap of sorts in another show of psychic power we will never see again while Allison just sort of watches.

Otherwise you tell me what’s happening! Seriously your guess is as good as mine.

Ezeekial reveals that Luke has been dead for years and he’s really been the HBIC the whole time. Allison wastes no time wasting children with the sheriff’s shotgun – proving once again it is pretty easy to kill evil cult children!

Allison finds Jacob dying and shares some final words with him. He thanks her for sticking up to their father and forgives her for leaving. In turn, she basically tries to get him to avoid implicating himself in the murders. It doesn’t go as planned.

Greg, Tyrus, and Allison find a car but are attacked by children who wield a chainsaw and an axe to switch things up from the corn and scythes. Tyrus gets killed by a machete to the neck before Allison kills the attackers.

And Greg…well this nonsense happens after he somehow doesn’t hear a chainsaw fight and his friend’s death cry in the same barn he is in.

Why would your instinct be to blow everyone up including yourself when you could have just…wiggled out and fled?! Also loving that 90s hair style on Lil Drilly.

Allison realizes she needs to light the evil green fire on fire or something. Meanwhile Ezeekial feels this is a good time to pause and give a whiny sermon before escalating into “you know what? Let’s just all go sacrifice ourselves to He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

“She got me in my feelings/Gotta be real with it…”

This starts a prolonged sequence of her climbing the silo – just what we needed in this movie. The kids see Allison slowly making her way up the silo and just watch?

And despite the fact the fire itself killed two firefighters who tried to extinguish it earlier AND we have seen that Ezeekial can levitate people, kill them with lightning bolts, and turn them into flaming Venus Fly Traps, he just…attacks her with a farm tool?

It pays off as one would expect when a small child attacks a grown adult, with Allison quickly getting the upper hand (literally and figuratively) before chucking Ezeekial into the fire.

Allison succeeds in destroying the eternal flame and is now our first bonafide Final Girl sans any other survivors in the franchise! Credit where credit is due, Stacy Galina delivers a pretty good performance when she has to explain to the other children who were seemingly kept away from all the murder, what happened.

Child: Did Ezeekial join He Who Walks Behind the Rows?

Allison: I don’t know. He just might have

Child: Will we get to go there?

Allison (as she starts to tear up): I don’t think it’s your time yet.

The final scene sees Allison adopting her newborn niece from the teenage mother and former cult member. Her parents don’t seem at all phased by the fact she was in a murder cult, only that she got pregnant in the process.

But just as Allison sings the little baby a lullaby…oh no!

Am I dreaming, or is this baby burning an eternal flame?!

Random Notes/Analysis:

  • I legit can’t tell if the characters no longer have to be children or this film has a deep misunderstanding of what a teenager looks like
  • Heteronormativity is not preserved! But patriarchal expectations of women are with Allison adopting her newborn niece despite being a single college student whose entire support system was just wiped out overnight.
  • Unlike the first three films which has a Christian foil to the cult, this joins the fourth movie in lacking any actual Christian pastors or churches. There isn’t even a passing acknowledgment of Christianity for that matter.
  • Also like the fourth film, it features a family member having an awkward reunion with estranged family
  • Stacy Galina does do a great job as the Final Girl Allison, giving the character some depth and pathos
  • Credit where credit is due to director & writer Ethan Wiley and cinematographer David Lewis – there are some great shots in this film that clearly show some skill:

Is It Worth It?

I mean, there’s definitely a better nonsensical narrative to watch that keeps repeating the words “eternal flame.”

That being said, I’m a sucker for slashers and enjoyed this blend of Children of the Corn and throwback slasher. If you are absolutely thirsty for 90s slashers and decanted angles, check it out. Otherwise just like the rest, this could be left in the cornfields.

But speaking of being left in the cornfields, the next in the series is Children of the Corn 666 Isaacs’s Return! Are there secretly over six hundred more of these movies? Moreover, where are the desperate fans waiting for a character who died in the first film to return?

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