Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reasons Not To Have Kids #5: Children of the Corn

In the first of many (hopefully) guest reviews for RN2HK (I made it hip with the number thing there), fellow Mass Invader Rachael takes a gander at Stephen King's classic "Children of the Corn".

Let me make this clear: I like corn. I really like corn. It’s delicious. I’m not much of a fan of children, so I hoped this movie wouldn’t do anything to affect my love of corn. There isn’t anything inherently scary about corn. Unless you count the smell of burned microwave popcorn. That will haunt you for days. Oddly inbred-looking teenagers with perms? That’s another story. It’s the story of Children of the Corn.

Children of the Corn opens with a group of God-fearing folks leaving church service in their fine fashions from the Sears catalog. Only one child made it to church that day. The rest are in the cornfield with someone named Isaac. Isaac hangs out with his minion, Malachai. I was in high school when this movie was released and I remember that around that time, every red haired guy at our school got the awful nickname of Malachai. Poor gingers. I guess we could have called some of the kids Isaac, too, but there weren’t any really short kids who looked like Mr. Bean at my school.

Little Job went to church with his dad while his sister Sarah stayed home with a fever. Mom is watching over Sarah. Job and Sarah are the only children not hanging with Isaac and Malachai. They aren’t children... of the corn.

Job and his dad are enjoying an after-church milkshake when all corny hell breaks loose. The kids who weren’t in church have decided to kick ass on the adults in the town. Throats are slit. Hands go in the meat grinder. Job sees his dad get shucked. No more grownups! And while this is going on, Sarah is drawing pictures of everything. Her artwork is similar to those generalized courtroom drawings. I would love to see her rendition of R. Kelly on trial.

Now we are told it’s present day. And we see feet on a shag carpet. Some present. I’d return it. Anyway, it’s Doc Burt’s birthday. Vicky offers him a birthday wish. I think he wished that someone would finish cutting his hair. It looks pretty rough. He had a much better barber on Thirtysomething. Vicky gives Doc his gift - a lighter! Because all doctors should smoke, am I right? Then he gets a round of torture for his birthday. Sarah Connor Karaoke.

We’re welcomed to Nebraska. Thanks! Nebraska - land of woodpiles and Amish hooligans. One little hooligan, Joseph, is going to run away from the cornfield. He’s headed for the main road. Doc and Vicky are driving on that main road. We get a montage of windy corn and a bloody suitcase. Oh snap. Kid in the road. Doc runs over Joseph and utters the understatement of the movie, “There’s something very wrong here.” You bet there is. It’s a ginger kid with a knife and an attitude. Joseph’s body gets stuffed in the trunk.

Job and Sarah head off to their old home and play a little Monopoly and listen to records. Records are better than Monopoly. Records have an ending. Sarah can’t wait to be an adult and get rich. Like she does in Monopoly. When she asks Job for “thirteen thousand hundred dollars.” If you’re looking for a good reason not to kill off all the adults, I’d say educating children could be that good reason.

Malachai busts up the Monopoly fun (for the thirteen thousand hundredth time!) and brings Job and Sarah to Isaac. How weird is it to hear Isaac say to Sarah, “Bless you my child” when Isaac looks like a 13 year old himself. Creepy. Isaac appreciates Sarah’s ability to see the future in her drawings. He spares Job and Sarah and probably wishes he had a giant refrigerator on which to hang Sarah’s purty pictures.

New character alert. Old guy. Dammit. There’s a dog. I really, really hate when there is a dog in a horror movie. It just never bodes well for the dog. Dammit again. The dog is barking at the corn. Here boy! Come here, boy! Get away from the corn!

And... super dammit. Old guy gets it. The corn kids took him down. And there’s the dog’s bandana with blood on it. Cripes. I need to walk around the block and shake this. What does it say that a bunch of religious-frenzied kids can worship corn and kill people with machetes and I really don’t care but show me a bloody dog bandana and I’m beside myself? Then we get a really drawn out scene in the old guy’s garage that culminates into absolutely nothing. Makes me wonder if the actor who played the old guy was just a friend of Stephen King’s and wanted a part in his cool new corn movie.

Isaac is preaching to his flock of corn kids. I don’t know about you, but I think Isaac has a distinctly Linda Hunt feel about him. Like a little troll person. There is some discussion of a Blue Man. I was hoping there would be three dudes in blue body paint playing some frenetic percussion. Robbed! Blue Man is a police officer’s skeleton on a corn cross. I wouldn’t pay two hundred bucks for tickets to see that.

Doc and Vicky are prowling around Gatlin looking for a phone. Good luck with that, folks. The creepy kids with bad hair are circling! Doc and Vicky (also known as the “outlanders”) wander in to Job and Sarah’s house. I expect Bob Vila to show up and discuss renovating the floors. Where’s Norm? Doc and Vicky meet Sarah. There’s a long, drawn out scene with Sarah being coy and weird. Doc wanders into town. Vicky stays with Sarah.

Town is deserted. And covered in corn. Doc wanders by the main buildings, each one empty and in disrepair. Alice Cooper was right - school’s out forever! But the Malachai Gang is circling. At this point in the movie, I find myself wondering about refrigerated food and septic systems. Rogue teenagers, typhus and other problems. Yikes. The Malachai Gang is worse than bees. They swarm Vicky and haul her off to the cornfield. It’s fortunate that Vicky is wearing her utility-length shorts and semi-sensible shoes.

Doc finds a drawing of Vicky at Town Hall. And his car has been corned! Now he has to get Vicky back from the corn gang. But back in the cornfield, Malachai has grown a pair. He’s displeasing Isaac. There’s a lot of chanting “Kill! Kill! Kill!” and the corn parts like the Red Sea. We see some defaced Christian art (the Virgin Mary with a Shoop da Woop face - no joke, it’s there) and various biblical sayings. All to prepare us for a ceremony. A kid named Amos is giving his blood for a ceremony. When the kids turn 19 they are sacrificed to the corn god. Sure saves on college tuition. I hear that’s like, thirteen thousand hundred dollars these days.

There’s a bunch of running around town and fighting and hiding and I found myself looking out the window a lot. Until Job and Doc finally find each other. While hiding in Job’s bomb shelter, Doc learns about what Isaac was like when he was young. When he was young? That little Mr. Bean dude isn’t a kid? I’m corn-fused.

Meanwhile, Isaac and Malachai are having a showdown. Malachai organizes a mutiny and gets Isaac up on a corn cross. A fairly petite corn cross. We get more town history from Job. Malachai parades Vicky through the town and cuts her face Dexter-style. Malachai looks like a sadistic version of Rocky from the movie Mask. I wish Cher was in this movie.

Isaac is up on the cross, screaming his tiny lungs out. He sounds a lot like the fly from the movie The Fly. “Help meeeeeeeeeeeee!” Amos is ready to go to He Who Pops The Corn or whatever the corn god is called. Tremors-style worms roll through the cornfield. There’s a glowing Tron-larva and Issac gets rocketed into the sky. Really. That’s really what happens.

Doc starts to kick Malachai’s ass, it turns into a slapping fight. We get a lesson about merciful gods, blah blah blah. Doc asks the surly teen corn gang if their god would really tell them to kill their parents. Mine might, but really, that’s a discussion for me and my therapist.

Then, when you think the movie has already gone off the deep end, Isaac comes back. And he’s got the voice of Darth Vader. He finishes off Malachai. Doc, Vicky, Job and Sarah hide in a barn while the cornfield gets all rave-y with colored lights and craziness. But wouldn’t you know it? Little Job happens to have the Bible passage that could take down the Corn Devil. And it’s all about burning the cornfield with Gasahol. Everyone seems so resigned to fighting a Corn Devil. Like, it’s just the thing to do.

Doc drags a fuel hose through the corn (not a sexual euphemism) and the corn starts slapping him (not a sexual euphemism). But the hose doesn’t fit (now I’m just confused about what is or isn’t a sexual euphemism). Corn fuel is bubbling. A giant glowing bubble gum cloud grows in the sky. And Doc’s birthday gift lighter will save the day!

As the Tremors worms approach, Doc throws a firebomb out to the field. Corn inferno. Roasted corn everywhere. I bet it smells really good. And that is how you take down a Corn Devil.

The most resilient people in the world (Doc, Vicky, Job and Sarah) giggle over the whole incident. Crazy teenagers with knives? HAHAHA! Corn Devils? HAHAHA! Remember when you got stabbed? Oh HAHAHAHA!!!!! Doc and Vicky take their little corn children and walk away.

Ain’t Nebraska grand?

This movie was corny. And the special effects at the end? Corny. Acting? Corny. Children? Very corny. It did, however, make me want to watch Mask again. Or listen to Cher.

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