CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE
CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: DEADLY HARVEST
The good thing about Children of the Corn II is that it is a better film that its predecessor. Children of the Corn failed to expand upon Stephen Kings story, which was essentially only a lead up to a twist ending. Children of the Corn IIs success lies in taking the basic premise of the first film and conducting it along the formula lines of the modern horror film which essentially means having someone killed every few minutes and is something that works immeasurably for the film. Some of these killings are rather entertaining the old lady being squashed under the house while others verge on the campy the old lady being thrown through a window by a truck as someone calls Bingo numbers, the moment where the children place lollipops in the doctors mouth after killing him. Certainly, the sequel never amounts to anything more than a vehicle for producing killings at what seem to be timed intervals. It at least aspires to be an entertainingly mediocre, as opposed to the first film, which was only dull.
The other area the film improves over the original is in terms of explaining what is going on. Stephen Kings short story hinged upon a surprise ending, which meant that it never had to explain what was happening but in changing it for a more upbeat ending, the first film failed to see that and came across as slim and underdeveloped. The sequel compensates, in fact over-compensates, offering up two different and mutually contradictory explanations one involving Native American spirits who cause the children to rise up against the adults when the land is despoiled, and the second involving madness-causing toxic corn. In the end, neither idea quite jells, although the ending perhaps by after-thought appears to go with the supernatural angle but the film at least appears to have fun tossing such ideas about. The script also appears to offer more substantial treatment of its themes playing up the conflict between the estranged father and son. (In a nice moment of irony, the father engages in exactly the same sins he condemns the son for, which makes the son perfect pickings for the children). A much better film would have made this character conflict the centre of the story.
Many of the performances leave much to be desired. Terence Knox makes for a dull hero. Knox is not what one would call an intellectual performer. He always has this sweaty, untrustworthy intensity, as though he is a secret wife-beater or some such. The only part to ever exploit this to advantage was his role as the rapist doctor on tvs St Elsewhere (1982-8) and everything else he has been in makes him seem like a truck driver, a heavy or slightly slow on the uptake. Rosalind Allen is bland and almost entirely colourless. Ryan Bollman overacts the childrens leader part his only acting mode appears to be to deliver his lines entirely as a yell. Christie Clark is the films one find, giving a bright, natural and sparkling performance that leaves one looking forward to seeing more from her.
The subsequent Children of the Corn films were: Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995), Children of the Corn: The Gathering (1996), Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998), Children of the Corn 666: Isaacs Return (1999), Children of the Corn: Revelation (2001), Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011) and Children of the Corn: Runaway (2018). Children of the Corn (2009) was a superior remake of the original.