Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)


“I’m Not Getting a Good Feeling About This”

Main Cast: Terence Knox, Paul Scherrer

Director: David Price

While driving across the country, father Joe Weber and his son Jeremy … no, scratch that, that was RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT. We’re over here in CHILDREN OF THE CORN II.  While driving across the country, father John Garret (Terence Knox, Tour of Duty) and his son Danny (Paul Scherrer, Sons and Daughters) find themselves in Hemingford, Nebraska where the news is reporting the mass murder of all the adults from the nearby town of Gatlin.

The residents of Hemingford are taking in the orphaned children while the police investigate the goings-on in the town.  John, it turns out, is a tabloid reporter, and he and Danny stop to get the story.  They rent a room in a local bed and breakfast, then John sets out to work.

Meanwhile Danny meets local girl Amanda … no, again, RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT, sorry.  Meanwhile Danny meets local girl Lacey (Christie Clark, Days of Our Lives) and the two begin spending a lot of time together.

And while Gatlin may have been removed from the equation, the goings-on there are still very much going on.  With their leader Isaac dead, though, the children have turned to a new leader, Micah (Ryan Bollman, Mama’s Family), who has been possessed by He Who Walks Behind the Rows.  With the children once more on board, the killing of adults in Hemingford gets under way, first with Mrs. Burke, on whom the children drop a house. Literally.

Back in the land of adulthood, John is desperately trying to get the story. He used to work for Newsweek but was fired and has been working for the Worldly Inquirer ever since, but he’d REALLY like the chance to get back in the game at a major newspaper.  But every attempt to get the truth is met by anger from the locals.  That is, until he meets Frank Red Bear, a professor at a local university.

Together the pair discover a toxin that causes hallucinations in children, and John and Frank decide this must be what’s behind the stories of He Who Walks Behind the Rows telling them to kill all the adults in Gatlin.  Chaos ensues, and the vampires–I mean the children of the corn–are once again scattered, leaving yet another Nebraska town in tatters.

I suppose if I’m looking for something good to say about CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: The Final Sacrifice, it would be that it seems to at least be trying to be a direct sequel to the 1984 original. Unfortunately, it gets a lot of its inspiration from a different sequel, 1987’s RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT.  We’ve got a disconnected father and son traveling together, two people who want little to do with each other.  We’ve got that father and son finding themselves in a small town with a secret.  We’ve got a father trying to get to the bottom of things while the son is being wooed in the other direction, the locals trying to persuade him to join them.  We’ve got the father becoming involved with a local while the son follows suit.  We’ve got an outsider who appears seemingly out of nowhere to team up with the father in uncovering the truth.  It’s almost like they lifted the structure of RETURN, changed all the vampire references to children and He Who Walks Behind the Rows, and called it a day.

Now, the fact that CHILDREN OF THE CORN II was written by A L Katz and Gilbert Adler, both of whose previous credits include scripts for Freddy’s Nightmares, wasn’t great.  I guess high drama and authentic horror isn’t exactly playing to their strengths.  Then again, David Price at the helm couldn’t have helped; I highly doubt working on SON OF DARKNESS: To Die For 2 was all the prep needed to take on a King sequel.  I saw the first TO DIE FOR and that was not a movie that needed a franchise.

But I digress.

The biggest problem I had with CHILDREN OF THE CORN II wasn’t the never-ending similarities to RETURN TO SALEM’S LOT, it was that it was just plain boring.  We get a few deaths as the children murder their way through town, but those scenes feel forced and silly and as if they were added in later after Katz and Adler finished what they thought was a powerful script only to realize they forgot to include any action.  And the He Who Walks Behind the Rows gimmick only barely works here.

Knox and Scherrer are bland, while Bollman as Micah doesn’t even get that distinction.  I found nothing natural about any of the performances, and every line of dialogue uttered throughout the entire movie felt forced and stiff.

Overall, CHILDREN OF THE CORN II was just a poorly-made movie.  We had not a single standout performance, no memorable characters and Micah was an incredibly poor substitute for John Franklin’s Isaac from the first movie.

Unfortunately, this was only the beginning, and the Children of the Corn series would continue on for more movies than I care to admit, and not a one of them matched the original.  And that’s saying something looking back at that first movie.  They couldn’t even reach THOSE standards?  Sheesh.

I do appreciate the attempt to tie this story into the original, at least, and I did enjoy the fact it seemed to be giving us a plausible conclusion to that first movie, with the events being reported by a couple who had been making their way through town–Burt and Vicky from the first movie–having the authorities come in and discover all the adults had been murdered, then shipping the kids off to be taken care of elsewhere.  I’m not saying this is exactly what would have happened; I can’t honestly see them simply being farmed out to anyone in the next town over willing to take them in, but at least it’s something.

Unfortunately, that’s the ONLY something I was able to take away from this one, while every other single thing about this movie falls so flat it’s ridiculous.  As a standalone movie, CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: The Final Sacrifice is terrible.  As a King-related movie, it’s an abomination I can’t even begin to recommend.  Pass.

King on Film

Carrie (1976)

‘Salem’s Lot (1979)

The Shining (1980)

Creepshow (1982)

The Boogeyman (1982)

Cujo (1983)

Disciples of the Crow (1983)

The Woman in the Room (1983)

The Dead Zone (1983)

Christine (1983)

Children of the Corn (1984)

Firestarter (1984)

Word Processor of the Gods (1984)

Cat’s Eye (1985)

Silver Bullet (1985)

Srazhenie (1986)

Gramma (1986)

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Stand By Me(1986)

The Lawnmower Man (1987)

Creepshow 2 (1987)

A Return to Salem’s Lot (1987)

The Running Man (1987)

Sorry, Right Number (1987)

Pet Sematary (1989)

The Cat From Hell (1990)

The Graveyard Shift (1990)

IT (1990 Mini-Series)

Misery (1990)

The Moving Finger (1991)

Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

Golden Years (1991)

The Lawnmower Man

Sleepwalkers (1992)

The Dark Half (1993)

The Tommyknockers (1993)

Needful Things (1993)

The Stand (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)

The Mangler (1995)

Dolores Claiborne (1995)

The Langoliers (1995)

Sometimes They Comes Back … Again (1996)

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)

Thinner (1996)

The Shining (1997)

Ghosts (1997)

Chattery Teeth (1997)

The Revelations of ‘Becka Paulson (1997)

Trucks (1997)

The Night Flier (1997)

Chinga (1997)

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)

Gerald’s Game (2017)

1922 (2017)

The Stand (2021)

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