Children of the Corn II: The Final Harvest (1992)

I have stated before that going to the movies was one of my biggest past times in the early 1990s.  I wasn't always concerned about quality, but rather about consuming what came out that particular weekend.  In all honesty I was not a big fan of Children of the Corn at the time and, upon a recent rewatch, I'm still not.  It has certain fun b-movie qualities, but it did signal a certain desperation to get out as much Stephen King product as possible.  However, when the sequel came out in 1992, it was a movie, and I watched it. 

The original had practically no budget - supposedly a good portion of what would have gone to effects went up King's nose due to a high price of using his name - and had a pretty abrupt ending.  Isaac and Malachai both die, He Who Walks Behind the Rows is destroyed by fire and, after surviving one last attack, our heroes and their two new wards appear to be stuck walking out of town.  It seemed like no one making the film cared anymore at that point and probably thought the audience felt the same way.

King never wrote a sequel to the short story and there really wasn't much room for one in the movie.  However, New World Pictures ended up going under and the rights to a number of their properties were purchased by Larry Kuppin, who formed Trans Atlantic Entertainment.  From there he planned to start churning out sequels to the more popular properties and, despite being a lackluster film, Children of the Corn had its fans.  He also had a crew already sitting in North Carolina who had just finished making Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, another of New World's Properties he now owned.  After wrapping on that project they joined with director David Price to quickly churn out this sequel.

The outside world has found out what happened in Gatlin, Nebraska, and the remaining children are now being put in temporary foster care in neighboring Hemingford.  Not everyone is happy about that as there were adults that survived the massacre in Gatlin and know that the children were to blame.  Most of them still seem under some sort of control, particularly Micah (Ryan Bollman), who becomes their new leader after an encounter with He Who Walks Behind the Rows in a cornfield. 

The story also attracts tabloid reporter Garrett (Terrence Knox) who shows up in town with his teenage son Danny (Paul Scherrer) in tow.  The two don't get along which makes Danny perfect prey for Micah and his cult.  While exploring Gatlin Garrett meats an anthropology professor named Red Bear (Ned Romero) who fills him in on the some of the history of the area as they try to find out why the children did what they did.  But it's not only the children up to no good; the town of Hemingford is up to something as well that has stirred He Who Walks Behind the Rows. 

Ryan Bollman is the highlight of this.  He emulates neither John Franklin nor Courtney Gains from the first film, but instead encapsulates less of a zealot and more of the style of a hellfire preacher.  The kids are sufficiently creepy and a few of the death scenes are creative.  Although it's a group of children this sequel is more in the style of a slasher film than a religious horror flick.  Unfortunately, it is still on a low budget, so when the creature does get revealed near the end it is with cheap CGI.  Since it was the same effects team as did the CGI on Hellraiser III I was not surprised at how bad it looked.

Micah is the only one of the group of children with any real personality and, despite the time gap in making the movies, this is supposed to be occurring not too long after the events of the first.  Danny is a typical troubled teen, and the movie does tease with some eye candy with Christie Clark as local girl Lacey and Rosalind Allen as Angela, the owner of the local B&B, but it's only teasing as both obviously had no-nudity clauses.  I hate to see another "magic Indian" in a horror film, but at least Ned Romero seems game.  Terrence Knox, despite being the lead, is pretty much forgettable. 

Still, I do like this better than the original, probably because it knows it's just a cheap, derivative horror film and doesn't try to be anything but.  I expected to really hate it after all these years and, while I don't love it, it's a watchable, if somewhat forgettable, time waster of a film.  I just wish they had more budget to do off-the-wall crazy stuff like the wheelchair scene throughout. 

Children of the Corn II: The Final Harvest (1992)
Time: 92 minutes
Starring: Terrence Knox, Paul Scherrer, Ryan Bollman, Christie Clark, Rosalind Allen



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