Adults of the Corn, Gay Kisses, and Numbers Have No Meaning: Is Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999) Worth It?

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

Because the tagline “newest and most shocking” was already taken by the previous year’s entry

Sometimes you have to ask yourself why your life and your choices have led you here. Watching this movie is definitely one of those times for me.

Released only one year after the previous film, this movie abandons the slasher formula (gone too soon RIP) for the other late 90s/early 2000s classic formula: shoddily edited straight to video supernatural garbage. My last note to myself while watching this movie was just the word “where’s” which basically sums up my understanding of the plot.

A highlight is the return of Isaac, played once again by John Franklin. He also cowrote the script which…isn’t as exciting as seeing him play Isaac again. The director is Kari Skogland, who went on to have a prolific career directing television (her latest credits are six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier!).

Recap:

Credit where credit is due, this movie opens with a kid walking with a scythe through a corn field in slow motion so this is already delivering on the franchise guarantee.

We quickly meet Hannah and thanks to a voiceover we learn she is returning to Gatlin, Nebraska after 19 years to figure out her past. And yes, she knows some “weird stuff” happened back home okay?

She picks up a mysterious pastor who disappears after telling her children are in her future even after she says she fortunately has a choice in that matter. We later learn Hannah has “visions” which basically amount to cheap boo scares.

She encounters a stern police woman with straight to video Cybil Bennett vibes before the police officer realizes she knows Hannah.

She escorts Hannah to the Gatlin County hospital where she walks around doing her best Jennifer Love Hewitt impression.

While “spooky” stuff like this happens:

Yep, vaguely Amish looking teenagers making finger guns is where we at in terms of scares in this one

A Harbinger of Impending Doom harasses her in the mental asylum telling her only she can stop Isaac, because why not throw in harmful tropes about people with mental illness while we are at it. The Harbinger throws her into Isaac’s room, and we get our first glimpse of returning actor John Franklin. He has been in a coma for 19 years with no explanation as to how they are retconning his death in the first. But when Hannah gets near him, he opens his eyes.

Hannah flees the room, running smack into a generically hot 90s guy right out of “bad boy” central casting.

His name is also Gabriel and he’s a youth in Gatlin so 99% chance he is secretly evil

Hannah leaves the hospital to explore the town, and a mysterious figure in a pickup truck tries to run her off the road to music that sounds like a Resident Evil Boss Fight. Sidenote: not shocked to learn you can find this movie in its entirety on Youtube. I was a little shocked to learn it is from username “John Franklin fan” who also made this saccharine“Happy Birthday” video for the actor set to the Christina Perri song “A Thousand Years” ala Community “Gravity” style. That was a lot to take in.

Hannah finally escapes the mysterious pickup truck driver by seeking refuge at the Maize Inn. The next morning, the “children” seem obsessed with her.

Hannah returns to the hospital to try and look up records of her birth, and has a “scary” vision of Isaac walking with a walker at a distance.

Despite the fact Gabriel works at the hospital, they search for her birth records with flashlights because why not at this point.

That night, credit where credit is due, there is an unnerving moment when Hannah wakes up in the middle of the night to realize there’s someone in her room.

It’s mostly bad but it ain’t all bad!

Before actually touching her, the figure leaves and she realizes it is the pickup truck driver who tried to run her off the road earlier. After seeing someone has written “Get Out or Die” in her shower, someone starts banging on the motel room door. In another moment I thought was actually relatable and effective, Hannah tries to sneak a look at the person through the corner of the glass frame before opening the door.

The visitor turns out to just be Gabriel trying to help her with her quest to figure out who she is.

We learn through Isaac’s interaction with an adult Rachel (another returning character from the first film), that Hannah is the daughter of Rachel and Amos aka this super duo from the first film:

Honestly there’s probably awkward pictures of all our parents when they were young

Rachel regrets her time in the cult, and has been pretending Hannah died for years to spare her from being part of the cult. We also learn straight to video Cybil Bennett aka police officer Cora is all about Isaac and He Who Walks Behind the Rows, and fudged her paperwork in order to keep him in a hospital and out of jail on account of the multiple homicides.

Isaac realizes the town doctor helped Rachel smuggle her baby out of town, and kills him by leaving a sink running and throwing random live wires into the water. This is where we are at.

Hannah wakes up to Morgan, the front desk clerk at the motel, just staring at her sleeping while allegedly dropping off towels. This leads to the best exchange in the whole film:

Morgan: Brought you some towels.

Hannah: Well you could have knocked!

Morgan: Some people DO use the Do Not Disturb sign.

Hannah: …is that all?

Morgan: Gabriel wants you to meet somebody…

Hannah: Is he here?

Morgan: Hemingford…about 20 miles east

Hannah: Well where?

Morgan: Uh…the coffee shop! As soon as you can

Hannah: Which coffee shop?

Morgan: Get a clue! How many coffee shops do you think there are?

Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return

Once again we are treated to what passes for “spooky” in this film:

Hannah gets run off the road by a drunk Matt aka Isaac’s son, who hands her a shovel and says “my lineage goes all the way back to Isaac” even though Isaac is his dad so it doesn’t have to go back too far.

Rachel confesses that she is Hannah’s mother, and that she wanted her to stay away because a prophecy states she will give birth to a superior race.

In the cornfields, Isaac brands his son Matt, and Hannah is captured by children just circling around her and giggling before drugging her. She wakes up in the straight to video prequel to Midsommar.

Hannah is branded but she escapes before they can make her hold hands with Matt in order to complete their cult marriage ritual. Matt’s girlfriend Morgan helps her escapes because she obviously doesn’t want her boyfriend to marry another girl (corn ritual or not). This is why she was trying to convince Hannah to leave town that morning.

Gabriel rescues Hannah, but Morgan is captured and murdered by Isaac because none of the weak hearted children of the children cult are willing to do it.

Back in my day, children would stick a man’s hand in meat slicer for me!

Hannah says she “needs a shower” which translates to hose water with her clothes on?

Only white people would call this a shower

Hannah and Gabriel have sex in a random montage of sweaty, seemingly disembodied body parts that is unintentionally the most horrific moment in the movie.

Just in case you didn’t believe me!

Afterwards, a disillusioned Matt shows up and Gabriel points him towards some farm tools, suggests he only “needs one” and promises “he will be with Morgan.” Then Gabriel KISSES HIM.

Finally an LGBTQ+ CotC. Here’s the representation we are looking for!

We get another groundbreaking (corn shucking?) Children of the Corn first as Matt kills himself by propping a scythe on the ground, blade up, and falling dramatically on it in a hilariously edited slow motion moment (aka a favorite style choice of this film) to Goth rock music:

Hannah and Gabriel go to where Isaac is holding Rachel hostage, and Gabriel lets Hannah run ahead while he continues to mind control people into killing themselves. What a shock the dark, brooding young man with a biblical name in Gatlin turned out to be evil!

It is revealed that somehow Gabriel is secretly the REAL first son of the children of the corn AND the living embodiment of He Who Walks Behind the Rows. How does this make sense? It’s simple! It doesn’t.

He murders Isaac by floating above him and throwing a pipe through his chest because Gabriel is just a catty bitch that lives from the drama of it all. Rachel kills him with a hand scythe, but he tells her it is too late because “the seed has already been sown” just to hammer home that Hannah is pregnant just as the mysterious pastor told her she would be at the beginning of the movie. Time to exercise that freedom of choice while women still have some bodily autonomy in the United States Hannah!

Gabriel then reveals he “faked” being dead, but then blows himself and hospital up anyway. He does this by saying “boom” and the hospital just explodes, signifying once again, like the evil children before him, he had an enormous amount of power that he didn’t use during the rest of the film for no good reason.

The film ends with Rachel and Hannah walking through the corn with an overlay of a decanted sunrise to probably remind us of the pregnancy again.

Random Notes/Analysis:

  • Presumably heteronormativity is once again preserved since Hannah sounds oddly resigned about her pregnancy in the voiceover at the end despite there being no moral or logical reason she would carry this baby to term
  • I legitimately can’t tell if this was meant to be a very sparsely populated town or they couldn’t even find extras for most of this movie
  • There is a mysterious pastor at the beginning and we briefly see Isaac in a church when he talks to his son Matt, but once again there isn’t really a Christian foil or parallel to the corn cult
  • This movie not only retcons Isaac’s death, it basically retcons the second film where the remaining Gatlin children are bussed to Hemingford to wreak havoc there. Say what you will about the Hellraiser series, it basically never retconned itself till the atrocious Hellraiser: Judgment Day seemingly reverted Pinhead back to a human before he would later appear as Pinhead in space
  • Love that the IMDb Trivia page includes this groundbreaking gem:

Just like the Friday the 13th, the Children of the Corn is one of the longest lasting horror series ever. Unlike Jason Voorhees, who is present in each Friday the 13th film as main villain, there are many different villains in Children of the Corn films.

IMDb Trivia for Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return

Is It Worth It?

Absolutely not. Despite John Franklin reprising his role of original HBIC of the corn cult, nothing could save this movie from itself. This is the most blatantly obvious need to churn out a sequel I think I’ve seen thus far. And I’ve seen Hellraiser: Deader!

Next movie is Children of the Corn: Revelations. Are we talking revelations in the biblical sense or the dramatic reveals sense (I guess the bibical one is a pretty dramatic reveal to non-Christians)? Will we get children or adults this time? Where does Isaac go?

One thought on “Adults of the Corn, Gay Kisses, and Numbers Have No Meaning: Is Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999) Worth It?

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