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John’s Horror Corner: Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998), Eva Mendes goes on a horrible college road trip in this horrible horror sequel.

April 30, 2023

MY CALL: This movie is… not good. There’s worse out there among the 90s video-era horror ether. But this movie royally fails its franchise as the worst sequel yet and it has no vital connection to any of its predecessors. MORE MOVIES LIKE Children of the Corn V: Children of the Corn (1984) spawned many video-era sequels over the years (1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2011, 2018) leading to the most recent remake (2020). Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992) was dumber but funner, and Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995) seems to follow this yet dumber and yet wildly funner pattern to delightful “bad movie hidden gem” perfection. It’s not totally awful, but I’d skip Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996).

TIMELINE: CotC 1 ended with the cornfields of Gatlin burning with the defeat of an ancient Corn God. Then CotC 2 transpired in the week following Vicky and Bert’s escape from the Gatlin. In CotC 2, the evil is defeated with the death of possessed Micah. Similar to CotC 2, CotC 3 ends when Eli and his corn Bible are destroyed. However, Eli’s backstory predates and overlaps Isaac’s, thus defying the franchise storyline. But that doesn’t matter since CotC 4 likewise ignored all of its predecessors, ending with the weakest ‘big bad’ demise of them all.

This sequel begins with all of the mind-numbing gracelessness of a later Leprechaun sequel (like parts 4-6) when a boy wanders up to a green fire in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of the night, and is possessed by the spirit within the flames with no explanation whatsoever. The boy sizzles a nearby farmer’s skin to a Freddy Krueger over-easy and summons all the other recently possessed kids armed with farm tools to gang-murder the farmer’s wife. The scene is executed about as well as it was written. Sooooo… not awesome. But, I guess, amusing nonetheless.

Following CotC 1, CotC 5 gives its possessed cult of murderous kids a diminutive leader Ezeekial (AdamWylie; Return to Sleepaway Camp; Species: The Awakening). Unfortunately, the writing is about the worst of the franchise to date. So he just comes off as an insidious kid telling other insidious kids to kill people of at least voting age. Strangely, there are a surprising number of adults left to live their lives in the nearest town who are well aware of the homicidal kids. Somewhere around CotC 3, the movies began to focus less on eradicating adults and more on the blight of evil kids resurrecting their prophesied leader or conjuring the Corn Devil or something. A moderate pivot from the norm, this CotC sequel brings us the “adult” prophet Luke (David Carradine; Waxwork II, Evil Toons, The Warrior and the Sorceress).

Having wandered into the wrong cornfields on their road trip, college co-eds Allison (Stacy Galina), Greg (Alexis Arquette; Bride of Chucky), Kir (Eva Mendes; Urban Legends: Final Cut), Tyrus (Greg Vaughan; Poison Ivy: The New Seduction), Charlotte (Angela Jones) and Lazlo (Ahmet Zappa) will all likely find their demise to an ancient elder CGI Corn Lord’s disciples. The first two death scenes feature many swings of a sickle and ax with none of them making contact on screen. Yup, it’s gonna’ be one of those movies.

Now numbering only four (left alive), the remaining co-eds crash their car, learn about a farm run by adopted religious fanatics who worship “He who walks behind the rows,” and are ordered to leave town by Sheriff Skaggs (Fred Williamson; From Dusk Till Dawn, VFW). It’s so contrived—a completely forgettable piece of 90s video-era horror that makes me miss Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996), which I now regard as only the second worst CotC movie. And the worst scene in this worst sequel may just be Eva Mendes leaping into a green CGI fire with no build up or consequence whatsoever.

Director Ethan Wiley (House II) brings us the most boring of the CotC movie so far. After two ho-hum death scenes, basically nothing happens beyond cultivated boredom until the prophet Luke’s head gory-chunky splits open a la The Thing (1982) and blasts a whole through the sheriff’s head—and if that reads like it makes no sense, it makes no more sense when you see it happen. It’s a pretty wild moment. But that moment is the least sucky thing about this movie, which is really poorly made with respect to the franchise. The deaths are largely lame and the action is clumsy. Even the brief Kane Hodder cameo feels devoid of any satisfaction other than to say to yourself “oh, yeah, that’s Kane Hodder.”

Like Josiah in CotC IV, Ezeekial never feels like a real threat—even less so than burnt-zombie Josiah. This sequel ends when the lamest of all CotC evil kid leaders (Ezeekial) is cast into a silo fire in an extremely unsatisfying finale. He yelps, he falls into the fire, the movie ends, stupid throwaway twist ending. That’s it. Would not recommend this to anyone.

This seems to have no direct link to the original movie. And maybe things are better this way. I truly regretted this movie.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2023 10:54 am

    I’ve never seen this one and will continue to give it a skip. Thanks for saving me the time and misery.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 30, 2023 11:56 am

      I suffer so that you may thrive. 😉 But do watch part III if only one CotC sequel at all.

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