Echo Bridge Home Entertainment // 1994 // 91 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 3rd, 2011
Let the harvest begin.
Full disclosure: the Children of the Corn franchise is not in my wheelhouse. Also, who cares? This movie stinks.
Two orphaned brothers end up with a city family, imported from their rural hometown. The older brother, Josh (Ron Melendez), is a normal teenager and he quickly makes friends with some of the raddest dudes in school. Eli (Daniel Cerny), the younger sibling, is messed up though. He's got the supernatural ability to convince other kids to do his bidding, which, apparently, involves killing a bunch of people and ushering in an environmentally-friendly corn utopia. As Josh scrambles to avert a bucolic apocalypse, Eli kills people in ridiculous fashion. It all ends with an epic face-off with a demonic corn monster (or something), which, in reality, is actually an exercise in how not to do special effects.
This second sequel picks up presumably where the first sequel left off as an old guy chases a kid through the corn and eventually gets turned into a scarecrow. Then it's on to the story proper, and even compared to that incoherence in the cornfield, the rest of the film manages to spiral downwards with gusto.
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest is a bad film. Terrible, actually, besieged by nonsensical plot points, robotic acting and gore effects that will induce derisive laughter before an upset stomach. Yet...it's got that something that makes it enjoyable on that unique plane of existence that allows horrible movies to find new life as inebriated target practice.
The reason for its salvage? The aforementioned special effects. Objectively, they are indeed garbage, a sad mixture of practical gags and clunky stop-motion animation. But, there's a charm to them, even when they've been so obviously designed to freak people out. As such:
My Top Three Favorite Horrible Special Effect Moments...
In one of the many odd ways that the writers crafted to dispose of their cannon fodder, this is the most out there. Just as the school secretary is about to light her cigarette, Eli appears out of nowhere and flashes a wicked douchebag grin and flames fly from the cigarette into her mouth and then we get a lengthy close-up of her face as it melts. It's about as convincing as a science fair volcano, but points for ambition!
I take it back. This death scene is the most out there. While digging around the cornfield for the Satanic farmbook, Josh's best friend gets wrapped up by evil crop tendrils and his head is ripped from his neck and extended ten feet into the air. In a blatant F-U to human biology, the effects guys have it so the poor kid's spinal column stretches all ten feet. A lot of work obviously went into this effect. And that's about as far as I'm going to go with the accolades.
Here it is, the big finale, where Eli -- SPOILER! -- transforms into a gigantic monster and starts killing his followers. The stop-motion puppet monster is an unidentifiable mish-mash of meat products, but the kicker is when Josh's girlfriend is devoured, or, more accurately, when an obvious Barbie doll that is sort-of made up to look like Josh's girlfriend is devoured.
That crap I just wrote? That's all I could do to make myself interested enough in writing about Children of the Corn III, so take it and be appreciative of my effort.
Echo Bridge's Blu-ray is a bare bones effort. The 1.78:1 transfer (1080i, AVC-encoded) is a few notches above DVD quality, sporting a just-noticeable increase in resolution. And since the DTS 2.0 stereo is a front-loaded, unimpressive track and extras are MIA, there's not much to recommend.
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest is godforsaken and the Blu-ray is a softball. Fun with doofy special effects is not enough to warrant a purchase.
Guilty. (Note my courageous refusal to use the word "cornhole" in this review.)
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Rated R