Tip number one for spotting a bad movie : finding oneself looking forward to the “special guest appearance” of Michael Ironside.
Children of the Corn: Revelations is the seventh in a series of idiotic and awful movies built around a single Stephen King story so short it could fit on the back of a business envelope. Essentially, all seven movies deal with kids in a fanatical pseudo-Christian cult who worship “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” and who hate, and usually kill adults.
This belabored version of the Children of the Corn tale comes to use via first-time screen writer S. J. Smith and via the made-for-televison quality direction of Guy Magar a man best known for directing nondescript episodes of Werewolf, The Powers of Matthew Starr, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. This of course means he isn’t known at all. I can say this though, he’s apparently played a whole lot of the Resident Evil video games because he cribs the look and feel of Raccoon City so much that I felt like I had to watch the movie while holding my Playstation control pad.
But enough about Guy Magar’s direction...
Children of the Corn: Revelation follows the established formula of the direct-to-video franchise in that a handy-dandy adult is our guide into this world of corny evil. Her name is Jamie (Claudette Mink) a writer by trade who’s come to visit her grandmother in the small village of Fictionaltownname, Kansas who resides at the Hampton Arms hotel and condominium.
The building, or what remains of it, is a condemned old shit hole on the edge of a massive cornfield, where lights constantly flicker in the lobby, and a shopping cart loaded with garbage sits beside the empty front desk. Chris Redfield is definitely going to find some zombies in here... oh wait...
But, Grandma ain’t home. Where could she be? Is she the woman in the pre-credit sequence rolling around on the bed like she’s hit the Nyquil bottle a little too hard? If you said yes, then you might as well stop reading now because not a single thing I write from this syllable forward will come as a surprise.
Jamie notices a couple of silent Amish looking kids in the hallway before letting herself into Grandma’s apartment, but she’s not there (because she’s dead). She notices an open bible beside the bed with a particular passage underlined about the sins of the father being visited on the progeny. She also notices Grandma’s hat on the coat rack beside the bed.
If you haven’t already guessed the apartment has a weird layout. It’s like a loft or studio, and all the rooms open into one another, this makes filming easy, it also makes suspending disbelief very hard.
Convinced that Grandma is missing, Jamie heads to the local bustling police station and explains to Armbrister (Troy Yorke) that she want’s to open a missing person’s report. Armbrister explains that the police of the police department is to wait at least 24 hours before opening such a report because nine out of ten times the person is just lost.
No mention is made of Armbrister’s position in the police department, and since he isn’t wearing a uniform, I assume he’s a detective, but for all we know he could be the guy called whenever Barney Fife breaks the copier.
Jamie heads back to the apartment before wandering out into Raccoon City... er... Fictionaltownname to gather things to eat. Jamie passes another Amish kid hop scotching on a pentragram in an alley, but fails to notice anything out of the ordinary.
Jamie then visits a little corner store where the two Amish kids are waiting for her. She gives them a quarter to play House of the Dead (I like video games, but House of the Dead was always like Resident Evil for Dummies to me). Anyway, while paying for her chow. The clerk (Ron Small) gives her the freaky “those kids aren’t right...” speech but she ignores it completely.
One the way home she notices someone in the black coat and hat standing mid way down a blind alley. Being the intellectual giant of the film, Jamie wanders down and meets Michael Ironside. Sadly he doesn’t speak. He is, however, wearing a priest collar. What could it possibly mean? Yawn.
Back at the Hampton Arms Jamie snaps at Jerry, the front desk guy and resident head-case who is far to busy doing bong hits to worry about Grandma. Oh well, maybe some grub would make her feel better? While staring blankly out the window Jamie is assaulted by a spring loaded tomato. Someone must have thrown it but she doesn’t know who.
Rather than eat and settle in for a night of staring at the mildew that literally coats every single surface in every single room in the Hampton Arms, she decides to wander around the and see if Grandma is maybe in the laundry room or the cellar.
She stumbles on an indoor tomato garden in a “locked” room (the lock is broken) and manages to anger Stan ( Michael Rogers) the resident survivalist gun-nut. Back in Grandma’s apartment Jerry arrives and offers to cook a steak for her on the roof where the view is good this will somehow make up for his inattentiveness to passing Jamie’s messages on to her Grandma. While listening to Calypso Muzak (I kid you not) and fighting the blaze that occurs in his grill, Jerry notices the two Amish kids sitting on the ledge of the roof. They are laughing and pointing at the ground some five stories below. Jerry, being an idiot, looks over the side enough so that the kids can throw him to his death.
Jamie arrives on the roof but Jerry’s gone so she goes back downstairs. In the hallways she is nearly run down by Cranky Man (John Destry), an old guy in a wheelchair who screams and yells all the time. Sufficiently rattled by her brush with wheelchair inflicted bruises Jamie fumbles with the lock to the apartment door. We’re kind of due for some character development now don’t you think? The script does too, and so we’re introduced to Tiffany (Crystal Lowe) another resident of Hampton Arms. Tiffany is a stripper.
With character development comes expository dialogue, and we get plenty, turns out that Jamie and her Grandmother were never that close, but following a house fire that claimed both her parents, Jamie hopes to get to know more about Grandma. Since Grandma isn’t around (she’s dead, duh) Jamie is stuck wandering around Raccoon City... er... Fictionaltownname until proof of Grandma’s death can be located.
Tiffany then fills us in on some of the pointless details of her life, although she’s a stripper, she’s had ten years of classical ballet training, the club she works at is nice, the cops are good tippers, the building is condemned, she won’t pay rent until the owners fix things, but it doesn’t matter now because the place is condemned and they have all been evicted.
Whew, that’s a lot of exposition, none of it matters in the slightest.
It’s been a full 24 hours now and Jamie heads back to Armbrister’s office. He’s thoughtfully compiled a complete history of Grandma, which not only stretches the limits of credibility, it completely defies them. Honestly, if the local police can compile a complete dossier on a person in 24 hours it’s time for me to move to another country. But, don’t worry, this has nothing to do with an intricate spy ring, it’s to provide a scene of ridiculous exposition where Jamie reads the single important fact about Grandma’s childhood that gives her the running start to make a logical leap so long and ridiculous I wanted her checked for performance enhancing drugs.
Seems Grandma, the lifelong atheist, was as a child, a member of a suicidal cult of children led by “Boy Preacher Abel” who committed mass suicide at a tent revival in a cornfield sixty years ago. Therefore, according to Jamie, Grandma was abducted by survivors of the cult, and the now full grown Boy Preacher Abel, and that’s why she isn’t at the Hampton Arms.
Um... Hello? How on Earth did ANYONE come to this conclusion from that little bit of information? I mean, for all intents and purposes she could have also concluded that since Grandma was a lifelong atheist, and survived a suicidal cult fire, that Twinkies Snack Cakes are actually made of bullfrog testicles.
Adding to the profound inability to make two-plus-two equal four Armbrister suggests that anyone who survived the fire would be, “what, eighty years old or so?”... Hello? If it was a cult of kids who died sixty years ago then they would be, maybe, seventy, and even so, everyone died, so there wouldn’t be any other survivors at eighty years old or otherwise.
Then the cream of the stupidity crop appears when Jamie says her Grandmother was 84. Well, if she was 84 then what in the hell was she doing in a children’s cult that committed mass suicide 60 years ago? The newspaper clippings about the fire conveniently located in the dossier, show a picture of Grandma and Boy Preacher Abel, and they are both kids, and I mean like eight years old.
Did anyone read this script before it was green lighted? I mean, I can understand continuity errors, but for the life of me, the glaring errors in the most basic mathematics just make me sick. You’d think that even counting on their collective fingers S. J. Smith and Guy Magar could have figured out that 84-60=24 and adjusted the script accordingly, but no, they leave that job to me.
Anyway... The residents of the Hampton Arms are now finding corn husk wreaths on their doors, which, incidentally, is a signs of pending doom. Jamie and Armbrister shoot the breeze and before you can say “hey, it’s a pick up scene”, he tries to smooth talk her into a date. She agrees and offers him coffee, but the stove won’t light (uh oh) so he gives her a lighter.
That’s good, Claire Redfield can use it to keep the bats away in the underground caverns and not waste her ammo on... oh wait.
Jamie tries to light the stove but can’t do it mainly because she’s an idiot, but mostly because the gas isn’t coming out right. Instead of neat little blue flames we get a big burst of yellow almost as if the stove was malfunctioning. Hmmmm, she better talk to the super about that. With the prospect of tea dashed like so many broken dreams, Jamie agrees to dinner with the cop.
Cut to she and Armbrister’s date, off screen of course. But, that’s okay because we can now focus on the other residents of Hampton Arms who are about to die. First off is Tiffany, she’s taking a bath so we get a nice boobie shot as she climbs into a massive claw-foot tub. She shaves her legs then notices the two Amish looking kids staring at her.
Since the tub is in the middle of the living room I guess she shouldn’t be surprised, but she is and insists that the kids leave. Rather than leave the boy part of the Amish pair throws a corn cob into the tub.
Of course, since the film has already demonstrated a complete inability to follow the plot-points established earlier in the film, the corn cob sprouts and some corn stalks kill Tiffany.
I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence, worse, I can’t believe that this scene was even shot? I mean honestly, how does someone look at a script page that reads “corn stalk kills stripper” and not just die laughing.
While Tiffany is thrashing around in the tub Cranky Man bangs on the wall screaming for her to shut up. Next in the murder schedule is, you guessed it, cranky man. He rolls out into the hall and is subsequently rolled over the edge of the fourth floor balcony by the Amish kids. Oh, but wait, now there’s an Amish kid with the same bathrobe that Cranky Man was wearing... Interesting (well, not really but you take what you can get).
Also, Stan our survivalist friend in the basement shows up again and has what appears to be a heart attack while looking at himself in the mirror. I guess if you are going to throw a survivalist into the picture, and you don’t want to have to show him kicking the collective asses of several small children, then you might as well give him heart disease. After all, it is the single largest killer of American men. It probably doesn’t help that he sees the reflection of a crispy critter in the mirror either.
Notice that Stan keeps his Nitrostat in a small, hard to handle in a panic, necklace.
Claire Redfield... er... Jamie comes back to the Hampton Arms and finds The Priest lingering in the hallway. He wants to talk with her about Grandma, and although he’s been skulking about in the corn, AND is Michael Ironside, she allows him inside.
He explains that Grandma was supposed to die in the fire, and because of that Jamie’s parents, and subsequently Jamie weren’t supposed to have been born, and therefore, (more logic, don’t you love it) “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” is coming to collect his due.
Now, take a minute to think about that, I’ll wait.
Right, if Grandma was supposed to die in the fire, then only ONE of Jamie’s parents was not supposed to have been born, therefore, assuming the one of her parents that wasn’t related to Grandma probably would have parented a kid who MAY have been named Jamie... Oh forget it, maybe Grandma was from Alabama and she was the mother of both of Jamie’s parents.
Jamie explains that she’s an atheist, but The Priest is undeterred and counters her disbelief with “he doesn’t care.”
The Priest makes Jamie drink some communion wine that he keeps in a hip flask and explains that he’ll pray for her, with that said, he leaves never to be seen again.
No really, this is all of the Michael Ironside fix we’re gonna get. Feel free to rewind and watch the scene again.
Okay, once The Priest leaves Jamie goes off looking for Tiffany to share some girl-talk. She can’t seem to get an answer from the door, but that’s okay because paranoid Stan arrives, with a pair of night-vision goggles on his forehead where they do absolutely no good... and tells Jamie that he’s leaving, and if she knows what’s good for her, she will too.
Stan commando’s himself into the elevator and starts his descent. Of course, once he hits the ground floor he decides to check a perfectly clear hallway with his infrared specs. Lo and behold, there are all the Children of the Corn bathed in green light. Stan flips the goggles off and they disappear, he flips the goggles on and they reappear. Of course, since Stan is packing heat and is covered in muscles, rather than have him shoot his way out as any other sane movie would have us view, Stan has a heart attack and dies.
That’ll teach him not to put the Nitrostat in that little necklace.
Back in Grandma’s apartment the two Amish kids show up and Jamie asks them where her grandmother is. One of the kids is wearing her Grandmother’s hat, so it’s inferred that this kid is in fact Grandma. But, of course, since you’ve read this far I am certain you figured it out waaaay back in paragraph three. Since Jamie is an idiot she hasn’t yet put two-and-two together yet. She asks to be taken to her Grandma.
Upon leaving the apartment one of the kids turns on all the stove burners.
Meanwhile Armbrister is talking with a medical examiner at the little convenience store we toured earlier. The store owner’s head is on the counter and it’s apparently been cut off by a corn scythe. Armbrister runs off to rescue Jamie because this obviously means that the cult of kids killed Grandma... Wait? What in the hell does the store owner have to do with Jamie’s grandmother’s cult? This doesn’t make any sense at all, and in the context of this movie that’s saying something. Since Jamie is the only one so far that we’ve seen twist two or three incomprehensible facts into a ludicrous conclusion, I guess having Armbrister determine that a severed head must certainly mean Jamie is in danger is some way to balance things out.
What doesn’t make any sense is why they killed the store owner. If Grandma was the ONLY survivor of the cult fire, and He Who Walks Behind the Rows is collecting his due as suggested by the Priest, then what’s up with all this collateral damage, why kill Tiffany, or Cranky Man, or Stan, or Jimmy? What do they have to do with anything other than picking a shitty place to live?
Okay, back at Hampton Arms Jamie and the Amish kids end up in the indoor tomato farm where the Amish kid in Grandma’s hat tells her to run. So, she runs. Why doesn’t she leave? I guess the building is too confusing for her (see, always take the map from the wall) she ends up in the hallway with all the Children of the Corn facing her. From their midst appears Boy Preacher Abel who babbles on about collecting his due. The dialogue is inane to say the least, but at this point I’d pretty much given up watching. Finally, Claire Redfield... er... Jamie “remembers” that she has the lighter in her pocket, takes a corn husk wreath from the door, lights it and throws it at the stove in the adjacent apartment.
Now wait a minute. Why in the hell did she go all the way back up to the fourth floor? We didn’t see the kids start any of the other stove burners, and even if we did, (which we didn’t) how come all the pilot lights were out on them as well?
And why is it that in an emergency, like say Amish kids on the rampage, do all the characters insist on using the elevator? Isn’t there a staircase in this goddamn building? I know one thing, come fire, flood, cockroach swarms, or Amish kids, I’m taking the stairs.
Of course the apartment explodes giving Jamie ample time to run away. Once she reaches the lobby a whole field of monster-death corn sprouts through the linoleum and wraps itself around her feet.
Before you can ask “just what in the hell is going on here?” Armbrister arrives and rescues her from her corny predicament, and as they flee, the whole building explodes.
End movie, place bag of store brand movie-theater-butter popcorn in the microwave, set timer to four minutes, press “start”, after popping slows to about one pop per second, remove bag from microwave, carefully tear opening (caution steam is hot!) and jam face into bag. Once the fluid in your eyes burns away and your are permanently blinded you can thank me (in Braille) for sparing you from having to see yet another Children of the Corn movie.
I guess that really pisses me off most about this movie, and not just the fact that I watched all 90 minutes of it, is the complete inattention to detail. I hate it when directors and writers think I am too stupid to fall through such gaping plot, logic, and mathematic holes.
The DVD comes loaded with chapter stops that I ignored, and a subtitle option that I also ignored, it also included the original trailer that, you guessed it, I ignored. Yeah, I hit the trifecta.
This is the seventh Children of the Corn movie. I mean, goddamn... seven Children of the Corn movies? Did the world need the FIRST Children of the Corn Movie?