*. As I’ve noted before, the films in the Children of the Corn franchise are all basically standalone features, with no narrative continuity. Despite this, the credits always state that the films are “based on the story by Stephen King.” Which is nonsense. In this one, however, they change the credit to “based on characters created by Stephen King.” This, however, is even worse. What characters? None of the characters in the original story are even referred to in this film. So what does this mean?
*. As with the previous film, Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return, there are hints of potential. I like the surreal Hampton Arms hotel, which is plopped down right in the middle of a corn field. The set design is nice, conjuring up a Twin Peaks atmosphere. But after a few minutes you realize the director, Guy Magar, has shot his bolt. His bag of tricks consists of (1) a lot of Dutch tilts, even when they make no sense (as when they’re presented as being from a character’s point of view); (2) crazy Bava lighting, splashing reds and blues and greens on the screen; and (3) some dreadful CGI. None of this is scary, or in any way effective, and its overuse becomes tiresome.
*. Almost as tiresome as the heroine’s screams. I know screaming is what the final girl is supposed to do a lot of, but at the end of this movie I was yelling at Jaimie (Claudette Mink) to shut up. She was giving me a headache.
*. There aren’t even any good kills. One guy is thrown from the top of a building but we never see him land, or are even shown his body afterwards. A cranky guy in a wheelchair is thrown down a stairwell. Again we never see the impact or the splat shot. Compare the wheelchair kill in Children of the Corn II, which was a highlight for this series. And finally another guy simply has a heart attack when seeing the kids scares him to death. This is all very dull.
*. Since the hotel is surrounded by corn fields, why do the children have to grow the magic corn in a basement lab? And why is the psycho guy only growing tomatoes down there? I was expecting a somewhat greener crop.
*. I always try to find something nice to say about even the worst movies, so I’ll give a nod here to Michael Ironside. It was great to see him again. But . . . playing a priest? That is some insane casting. He’s also a totally superfluous character who simply disappears after reciting a bit of unnecessary exposition. A point which leads me to add that even at only 82 minutes there isn’t a lot of substance here.
*. Why Revelation? I guess every mystery story has something that ends up being revealed, but I think they just picked it because it was in the Bible and it sounded cool.
*. It really is a mystery to me how this franchise kept going for so long. This entry only had a budget of $2.5 million, but that’s still something and it rates a better movie than this. I don’t know if this is the worst film in the series — that would be a very hard call, in my opinion — but even fans of such dreck should take a hard pass.