Monday, March 3, 2014

Children Of The Corn: Revelation (2001)

From Stephen King’s twenty-nine-page short story, Children Of The Corn, nine films have been made. Children Of The Corn: Revelation is the seventh. It begins with an old woman having a nightmare of a fire in a cornfield. She wakes and rushes outside, shouting, “Where are you?” There’s no answer. Instead, we get the opening credits. Hey, Michael Ironside is in this one. I get excited for a moment, until I recall that earlier sequels had Naomi Watts, Karen Black, Fred Williamson, David Carradine, Stacy Keach and Charlize Theron, and none of those films were very good.

A taxi drops Jamie off at the building, the driver wishing her luck. The building is rundown, and two creepy blond kids get on the elevator as she heads up to the fourth floor to visit her grandmother. By the way, whenever I meet creepy-looking children, I just immediately stab them in the neck. Better safe than sorry. Jamie lets herself into her grandmother’s apartment, but can’t find her grandmother. So she goes to the police. In this film, there is actually a police station with police officers and detectives, instead of just one sheriff as in previous films. For some reason Jamie changes her clothes. It’s still the same day, for she says to the cop, “I came out from California today, and she’s gone.” But she must have thought a V-neck sweater and pants more appropriate for a police station than the turtleneck sweater and skirt she had on earlier.

Jamie is alarmed because she found a copy of The Bible next to her grandmother’s bed, though she’s been a lifelong atheist. Jamie wants something done immediately (though, again, she took the time to change her clothes, so it’s not really urgent), but the cop says nothing can be done for twenty-four hours.

That night someone throws food at the window, so Jamie goes out to investigate. She hears the laughter of children, so decides it’s a good time to take a walk and pick up some groceries. The creepy kids from the elevator are in the store. She gives them a quarter so they can play an arcade game, The House Of The Dead. The kids enjoy the game, but the store clerk tells Jamie, “They ain’t normal.” And look, Jamie has changed her clothes again. Her sweater is the same color, but went from a V-neck to a crew neck. This must be her investigating-things-in-the-night sweater.

She then comes across a priest bent over a pentagram. Hey, it’s Michael Ironside. It’s some sort of hopscotch version of a pentagram, with numbers in various segments. Ironside refuses to speak to Jamie. When Jamie gets back to the apartment building, she finds that someone has written “Jamie Go Home,” each word in a different color of pastel chalk. The kids took a little time to be creative with their message. But Jamie doesn’t heed the instruction.

Then we get one of my favorite things to see in any film – someone typing an email. Yawn. In the subject line of her email, Jamie indicates she’s in Omaha. I guess Gatlin is left behind in yet another sequel. Poor Nebraska. Is there no town that is safe from creepy children there? While Jamie is typing, she hears children playing in the hall, so she goes out to investigate. They’re not there, but instead of going back inside and finishing her message, she wanders down to the basement. A cardboard sign says, “Do not enter,” but we’ve already established that this chick doesn’t follow hand-written directions. And hell, maybe her grandmother is playing with the kids down there. But what she finds is a sort of greenhouse. In the basement.

Jamie then gets to know her grandmother’s neighbors, including Angry Wheelchair Guy and a stripper named Tiffany. She tells Tiffany that her parents died in a fire. That’s a nice getting-to-know-you detail. The guy who runs the building invites Jamie up to the roof for a meal. But the creepy kids throw him off the roof before she gets there. When Jamie arrives, they refuse to answer her questions, but do a little teleportation trick for her.

Finally Jamie goes to bed, and immediately has a nightmare, in which her grandmother wanders outside and onto the tracks and is hit by a train. Then cornstalks shoot up in the spot, and a little girl comes out of the corn.

The next day Jamie returns to the police station because it’s been twenty-four hours, and now they should be able to start an investigation. The detective is already on the case and tells Jamie her grandmother survived a fire when she was a kid. Grandmother was a member of a cult of children, and their revival tent caught fire, killing all the rest of the kids.

Tiffany, the stripper, takes a bubble bath, and suddenly one of the creepy kids is in her bathroom watching her. This, of course, is the most normal thing these kids have done. I’d watch her bathe too. But he drops some magic corn kernels into the tub, and some kind of corn monster grows and kills her. Her screams draw the ire of Angry Wheelchair Guy, who pounds on her door and tells her to quiet down. All of this happens while Jamie and the detective are driving back to the building. It must be a long drive, because they were already on their way before Tiffany even arrived home.

Anyway, the detective gives Jamie the file on what he’s learned about her grandmother, and then Jamie begins reading parts of it out loud to him as if he hadn’t just given it to her. She says, “Hey, listen to this.” Why doesn’t he say, “I know, you silly bitch, I’m the one who prepared the file, so just read it to yourself”? The fire where the kids died took place in the spot where the apartment building stands. The fire was sixty years ago, so it took place in 1941 (forty years before the murders in Gatlin, so I guess Isaac wasn’t the original boy preacher).

The detective asks Jamie out on a date, and she accepts. Meanwhile the kids kill Angry Wheelchair Guy and get a good chuckle out of it. Their sense of humor is clearly a bit warped, but living in Nebraska could do that to anyone. Jamie is wearing a light pink turtleneck sweater, but a little later when she sees someone from her window, she has changed to a darker scoop neck top. She hasn’t even been in town for two full days, and she’s worn six different outfits if you count her sleepwear (but not counting the various vests and jackets). How much clothing did she bring with her? That is one magic little suitcase she has. It's the size of a carry-on. Forget trying to make money on these silly Children Of The Corn movies; instead, the filmmakers should market these magic carry-on suitcases they invented. Especially with all the airline restrictions, and how most airlines charge now for checked luggage, these things would sell like crazy.

Soon Michael Ironside sneaks up on her in the building and speaks his first line of dialogue in the film (with only twenty minutes left). He then forces her to drink wine, and tells her she should never have been born because her grandmother should have died in the fire. That’s according to He Who Walks Behind The Rows (yes, he’s finally mentioned). Ironside also mentions Gatlin – “a whole town murdered by children possessed.” Jamie asks what that has to do with her grandmother. He tells her her grandmother is dead, and that her only chance of survival is to leave. And then he himself leaves the film.

Okay. But if the children are after her because she never should have been born, why are they killing the other tenants of the building? And why didn’t they kill her already, instead of playing video games? The ghost kids sure like to play video games. Well, they take Jamie to the basement, saying they know where her grandmother is. The tomatoes that were growing down there have been replaced with corn. And all the ghost kids are hanging out down there. They want Jamie to join them. She pretends to  agree, but then sets a fire.

It’s not a bad ghost story, but really has little to do with Children Of The Corn. In fact, if you cut out the one scene where Michael Ironside talks, it has basically nothing to do with the original film (except for the corn grabbing Jamie at the end). By the way, there are some very cool-looking ghost faces rising out of the fire at the end.

The next Children Of The Corn film was simply a remake of the first one. And the ninth film… well, I’m not sure about that one. I think I might be done with this series, at least for now. I do enjoy bad movies, but there is only so much I can take.

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