I don’t know why I picked up every single Children of the Corn movie. It started years ago when I did Chwineka Watches 31 Netflix Horror Movies for October and all the Corn movies up to that point (minus Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice for some reason) were available for streaming. Then years later I decided to inflict it all on Movie Night, which… well it didn’t require me to pick up physical copies, but it helped facilitate watching. And now here I am, watching the whole series for a third time. Which is a long winded way of saying that having seen all the movies, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest is the best sequel (although that doesn’t mean it’s good).
We open with himbo in training Joshua and his creepy younger brother, Eli. Eli has evil powers from He Who Walks Behind the Rows, as well as a… well, Wikipedia says the book is called the “Necronomicorn,” and who am I to argue with Wikipedia? I mean, you really think someone would do that? Just go on the internet and tell lies? Anyway, the two get placed in foster care in Chicago. While Joshua makes friends, Eli gets his foster dad–a day trader of corn–to take an interest in his evil, brainwashing corn. Also it turns out Eli has been a child for decades, and was totally in the background of the first two movies, you guys. He was really there, we swear! With most of the school under his sway and any adult opposition killed, Eli is prepared to get all the other students to kill all the adults or whatever, but Joshua stops him by stabbing both Eli and the Necronomicorn. That would be the end, but then Eli turns into a huge monster that may or may not actually be He Who Walks Behind the Rows, but Joshua kills that, too.
Most of practical effects in this movie are really well done–far better than you would expect in a direct to VHS sequel. When a character’s prosthetic head cracks open and spills cockroaches on the ground, it looks astonishingly real. That can be credited to Mr. Screaming Mad George, a masterclass special effects artist. His filmography isn’t very large, but he worked on Predator as well as A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Bride of Reanimator, Beyond Reanimator, and the bizarre “superhero” film Faust. As for the non-practical effects… hoo boy they’re bad, even by 1993 standards. Also the corn monster is ugly in a bad way, and when it grabs Joshua’s girlfriend you can clearly see that she’s been replaced with a doll.
This movie was also the big screen debut of Nicholas Brendon, AKA Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer! He plays “Basketball Player One,” a vital role. Oh, yeah, and I guess it’s also the film debut of Charlize Theron. That’s right the star of The Old Guard and Mad Max: Fury Road was an uncredited student under Eli’s sway, and I’m pretty sure the corn monster at the end kills her via sexual assault with a tentacle. But we all have to get our start somewhere, right…?
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