The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Children of the Corn : Revelation

franchisebannerFor a second I kind of had hope… I mean we’ve obviously hit a new era in the direct video series – we’ve gone past numbered sequels and into titled ones. Revelation (although IMDB also builds it as children of the corn seven – Resurrection). The quick cuts and flashes of disturbing imagery in this one remind me a bit of four and five, but then I got a glimpse of the exteriors (some of which let’s face it, are actually interiors) and the cheapness of it all dropped me right out of my suspension of disbelief and optimistic outlook.

What this is here, is strictly a film for license retention’s sake at this point. Now mind you, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing… the Hellraiser series has had its ups and downs and keeps getting made for very similar reasons – I imagine the license was set to run out about the same time in the children of the corn unless a new one got made so they both got sequels around the same time. Hellraiser however, has been in the hands of people who have a genuine passion for it… Thier biggest problem is that they keep getting hamstrung by dimension who slashes their budget further with each ill advised instalment. These children of the corn sequels suffer from the same budgetary problems, but additionally suffer from the revolving door of directors and production crew who are merely guns for hire with no real skin in the game.

Still, I like the creepy abandoned building, foggy blue streets and hurray! We have eerie corn children again, dressed in suspenders and old-fashioned clothes! The pale make up on them is a nice touch as well. This is the sort of stuff we should’ve been getting all along – and it’s a shame that it took a restricted budget to push them in these directions.

We have a young woman searching for her grandmother who was last known to be staying in a row hotel that is so rundown and creepy it would make 42nd Street crackheads in New York go “I’m not going near that place!”. The building is of course located near a corn field where eerie children wander, occasionally toss bloody corn (Man, this film loves mixing corn and blood for some reason) of the window and play hopscotch in chalked out pentagrams.

I know our ingénue, Claudette Mink from Kingdom Hospital – and she comes off a bit as a lower rent Maura Tierny. Also, what in the name of God is Michael Ironside doing slumming around this movie? If he were going to do a children of the corn film, he should’ve shown up three instalments ago when there was still some tread on these tires!

To be fair, the corn children have never had a great deal of characterization in these movies, but in this entry they’re not even people… They may as well just be scenery. They’re moving props. They’re certainly not characters.

I think my beef with this film is that it so different – both tonally and thematically. It comes with its own set of rules and concepts – The corn brings the children, and it grows magically where the dead fall or the children summon. There’s a greater evil driving everything – though no mention of he who walks behind the rows until a throwaway line near the end of the film. It’s things like this that make me leave I think the movie would have worked better in a vacuum. It could benefit from a name change and detachment from the whole children of the corn series.

It could also benefit from some polish – another week or two at the script, and a little bit more time and money – the sort of things that can translate into care and creative liberty. It might also have allowed them to have more than one or two corn children on screen at a time… I’ve mentioned before, the real scary thing about children of the corn is similar to the scary thing about zombies – 1 or 2 is no big deal, but a whole horde of them, (especially when led by a charismatic point man and his trusty second in command to give us some personality) that’s intimidating. Some creative, bloody kills would go along way towards comparing the ubiquitously cheap atmosphere that provides the film… Instead we get ominous warnings written in chalk, blood spattered milk cartons, that severed head and a lot of bloody corn, mixed with foreboding glimpses of the dead bodies the cornfield appears to be eating (I think?)

If you can make it through to the third act, there are some clever and creepy stuff that does begin to happen (Michael Ironsides finally has his first lines to speak about 19 minutes before the film ends) but you have to watch the film up until then for it to be creepy instead of just silly. The big problem, is that it feels so forced. We discover our corn children are specters, ghosts, demons or something like that. The period clothing is costume, not just the outfits they happen to be wearing. When this series began, and stretching all the way into the sequels, the look and motivation was organic. It was deep country fear of the unknown. It was religion gone wrong, and rural horror. It was logical, and it made sense. This is more like the monster intruding into our reality – and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t really work in the context of children of the corn.

This is one of those I think I definitely wanna watch again, but I want to do so divorced from the rest of the series and coming in with the perspective of it being a standalone film. I think I may like it better that way.

If you feel inclined to give it a chance the next time the Syfy channel plays it (it’s a perfect fit there by the way – with its enormous amounts of bad CGI, fire and corn stocks ) I encourage you to go into it with that same attitude.

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