The least worthy entries in the series
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 12/27/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"No other author in recent memory has had as much consistent success selling books as Stephen King. For roughly three decades the Maine writer churned out book after book, each one selling more and more copies. He's a world unto himself, the lucky fellow! He's so successful that he could throw out his pens, put away his typewriters, bury his word processor six feet under, never write another word in his life, and STILL have enough money to wallpaper the Great Wall of China five times over. In many respects, it's Stephen King's world and the rest of us are just living in it. But, and this is a gigantic but, an enormous number of metaphysically bad films based on his novels threaten to put a serious dent in his legacy. We all know the good ones, the ones that not only scared audiences stiff but also helped propel King's career to even greater heights. "Carrie" is probably the best example, followed by "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Dead Zone." These are wonderful, magical films that one can watch again and again without wearying of them. Then there are the rest: the truly wretched refuse that reminds one of dental plaque or the junk that washes up on the shores of a filthy river. Welcome to the Children of the Corn franchise.
"Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return" introduces us to Hannah (Natalie Ramsey), a young lady heading back to the now infamous Gatlin, Nebraska in order to answer some important personal questions: why am I drawn to a town out in the sticks? Who is my mother and where is she? Will accepting this role in a schlock, straight to video clunker enhance my career opportunities? You can quickly grasp the metaphysical importance of such ponderings. In quick succession, Hannah runs into a string of problems. Pushy town cop Cora (Alix Koromzay) gives her sass before she even arrives in town. Doc Michaels (Stacy Keach), the town quack, insists on imprinting his own weird impressions on the girl. But the most bizarre occurrence confronting Hannah during her first visit to Gatlin is the sight of a short man hooked up to a slew of machines in a hospital. This figure is none other than Isaac (John Franklin), the original apostle of "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" in the first film. Apparently, the boyish preacher did not perish at the end of "Children of the Corn," although it sure looked like it then, but slipped into a deep coma that has rendered him helpless for all these years. The arrival of Hannah, however, fulfills an old prophecy that will see Isaac out of his coma and possibly bring about a reemergence of the corn demon.
"Children of the Corn 7: Revelation" is apparently the end of the road (row?) for one of the most unlikely horror film franchises in history. Once again, another hapless female falls prey to the malevolent corn cult and its evil machinations. On this outing the individual in question is Jamie (Claudette Mink), a young professional who heads to the Midwest to check up on her ailing grandmother at Hampton Arms, a condemned structure housing a host of miscreants and other assorted characters. Grandma disappears immediately before Jamie arrives at the building, so the young lady decides to stay in the old woman's apartment in an effort to discover the causes of the disappearance. Jamie runs into a lot of opposition to her various inquiries right from the start. Armbrister (Kyle Cassidy), a cop at the police station, initially doesn't take her missing person's report seriously. A visit to a few of the neighbors in the building doesn't pan out at first, either. The resident stoner Jerry (Troy Yorke) is so out of it an a regular basis that he couldn't tell Jamie what time it is let alone what happened to her grandmother. Then there is Tiffany (Crystal Lowe), a woman who works at the local gentleman's club, who is friendly but generally unable to help. What happened to grandma? Lots of bodies and a few "revelations" help explain the whole thing.
"Children of the Corn 666" is such a mess of a film that it easily ranks as the worst entry in the franchise. So many characters parade past the screen, from Gabriel (Paul Popowich) to Jake (William Prael) to a dozen others that it's impossible to keep it all straight. Only the presence of the attractive Natalie Ramsey and the very gorgeous Sydney Bennet in the role of cranky Morgan help keep this film down on stomachs made queasy with banalities. John Franklin, who also co-wrote the script, doesn't do much beyond what he did in the first film. Sure, he issues the usual biblical mumbo jumbo pronouncements to adoring audiences, but his middle age mug and rougher voice tell us this isn't the Isaac we remember from the first film. "Children of the Corn 7" is only a tad better. The only memorable scene in this film involves a storekeeper's head sitting in a freezer. This movie spends more time building the characters and trying to imbue the picture with creepy atmosphere, with decidedly mixed results. "Revelation" does give us Michael Ironside in what amounts to a totally useless cameo as a priest investigating the corn cult.
The disc for "666" contains no supplements. Extras for "Revelation" consist of trailers for parts four, five, and six of "Children of the Corn," "Mimic 2," "Dracula 2000," "Halloween: H20," and "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers." Perhaps "Revelation" is a fitting end to the "Children of the Corn" franchise, but the only revelation I received after watching the final two films is that the whole series should have ended much sooner. Never say never again, however, when dealing with a story from Stephen King. The corn cult may yet return!