Death by corn in a horror of a movie

February 01, 1993|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Film Critic

I sat through 73 bleeping minutes of "Children of the Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice" for one reason only: to see "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" because I just assumed that He Who Walks Behind the Rows would be Orville Redenbacher.

But it wasn't, and I'm ticked. I want my 73 minutes back.

Anyway, this one is a retread of an earlier corn dog of a movie, which evidently originated in a Stephen King short story, which in turn must have had its origins in a peculiar brand of rural horror tradition. The genre usually involves some sophisticate discovering a particular ghoulish and primitive ritual out in the spooky sticks, something that harks back to Druid or Indian times, depending on the continent. Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" is the masterpiece of the genre, but all share in common city people's innate sense of superiority to the country. And one only has to look at the state of the city today to see where that gets you!

Terrence Knox plays a reporter with his disaffected son who shows up in Nebraska to get the inside story of a rural massacre out there in corn country. (The movie evidently starts the day the first one ends, although it's five years later and all the original actors, having grown mustaches, have been replaced).

The new corn kids are shunted to the next town down the line, where they continue to congregate in the fields to the rhythm of Gregorian chanting while speaking reverentially of He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Knox's kid is tendered a recruitment offer and comes perilously close to sending dad's new girlfriend to the land of corn fritters before regaining his senses. Ultimately the head corn kid gets a ride in a threshing machine, which turns him into niblets before you can say "Ho, ho, ho."

The movie also shows people being corned to death: that is, speared on corn stalks and having their throats cut by corn ears. Alas, lacking either originality or coherence, "Children of the Corn 2" seems fated to live out the ancient prophesy: If they show it, nobody will come.

MOVIE REVIEW

"Children of the Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice."

Starring Terrence Knox.

Directed by David Price.

Released by New Line.

Rated R.

*

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