MAY 25, 2011
After the previous better-than-expected entry, the series hits rock bottom with Children Of The Corn 666: Isaac’s Return, which is just as bad as Revelation (part 7) but doesn’t even have the hateful old man that movie had, giving that one a slight edge. Add in the fact that Echo Bridge’s blu-ray is, without hyperbole, the absolute worst looking Blu-ray disc I have ever seen, and you start to understand why the Bridge opted not to give this particular film its own high def disc (666 is only available on Blu with Fields Of Terror, as far as I can tell), so I guess it’s best to just look at it as a sort of bonus feature.
And it’s a shame, because on paper this one had promise, due to the fact that it’s the only one in the entire series that bothered to bring back a previous character/actor. John Franklin (who also co-wrote) returns as Isaac, apparently being rendered comatose by the immolation he suffered at the end of the original film. It’s now 19 years later, a jump of a few years in real world continuity in order to make some sense out of a nonsensical plot that involves the offspring of the original Corn cult. I guess Isaac was too busy dealing with Linda Hamilton to mention that he had a son on the way (since by the movie’s own design he has been in a coma ever since; unless they are suggesting some girl essentially raped him in his deep sleep).
The weirdest thing here is that there are some adults besides Isaac who were child cult members back in the day, which seems to betray one of their biggest “rules” about being sacrificed to He Who Walks Behind The Rows when they turn 18. I mean, I can see why they’d let Isaac live, but why the lady cop, or Nancy Allen’s character (Rachel, which was the name of one of the girls in the first movie but I can’t recall if she died and/or if it’s supposed to be the same one –they’ve more likely just run out of names to use by now)? And what the hell happened to their magic corn from the end of Urban Harvest? Sure, they brought Isaac back, but everything about it is half-assed and just calls the lack of continuity into stronger attention. What worked about Urban Harvest was, by taking things to a new area, they didn’t have to worry about things not matching up with what came before. By coming back to Gatlin, it just raises too many questions/plot holes.
Of course, you can ignore all of that stuff and it’s still a lousy movie. I don’t know if Franklin’s script was spotty, or if Dimension gave it their usual working over (read: re-edited it to the point of incoherency), but everything seems to happen out of nowhere in the movie, with our heroine shifting between scared and defiant sometimes in between shots. She somehow manages to get run off the road THREE times in the movie’s first 40 minutes, but yet still doesn’t seem to get that the town is crazy and she should just leave. She also seems to learn about plot points while the camera is off; we should be with her when she learns about the cult, Isaac, etc, but every now and then she just tells another character that she’s up to speed. Is she watching the Isaac scenes (for which her character is not present) on DVD or something? There’s also a baffling bit where she’s told to drive to another town and meet someone at a coffee shop; a plot point that is never explained, nor does she ever mention it again despite not ever getting there (due to one of her aforementioned car accidents).
Plus it’s just too goddamn boring. We learn early on that our heroine (who looks like a wonderful mix of Kristen Stewart and Elizabeth Banks – no complaints there) is supposed to fulfill some prophecy, which takes all of 9 seconds to figure out once Isaac starts talking about his own son and “pure evil” and such. It’s a bit clever how it all goes down, but only if you haven’t seen too many other cult movies in your life. But of course, this means that they won’t even TRY to harm her, so it’s a horror movie without any real danger. Thus, in order to get a few kills in here and there, we have poor Stacy Keach as a doctor who they presumably kept alive for all these years due to his needed medical skills, but ignored that once Keach’s 2-3 days on set ran out. There’s also a gothy girl who runs the motel that treats Ramsey like shit throughout the movie but then decides to help her out of nowhere at the top of the third act, only to be sliced in half for her trouble. You can almost hear Bob Weinstein (or whoever oversees Dimension’s DTV movies) yelling at the director that they need a kill here.
There were two moments where I found myself entertained. One was when Allen (poor woman; I hope whatever car she bought with this paycheck got good mileage) tells Isaac that his “prophecies never come true”, which took on new meaning this week, with that idiot who apparently forgot to buy a calculator with all the millions his even more moronic followers keep sending him once again naming a random date as the Rapture. The other was near the end, when the guy you thought would be the villain but actually turned out to be not so bad decided to kill himself rather than risk being used in Isaac’s master plan. Not only does he do it in a pretty badass and series-centric way (he falls on a raised sickle), but they play this hilariously cheesy metal song over it, with the Disturbed-type singer rattling off “Your hatred! Your bloodshed! Your future! Your death!” (and so on). I have put the video below instead of a trailer for the movie.
And of course, the icing on the cake, all of this is presented in a shockingly terrible transfer. As I said earlier, it’s the worst I’ve ever seen in high def, and I am truly amazed that Echo Bridge could possibly have the stones to charge people for this sort of shit - do they not have quality control over there? Ghosting, artifacting, smearing... you name it, if it’s a known problem with subpar mastering for a disc, it’s represented here. Even when things were perfectly still it looked like a standard DVD, but whenever the camera and/or actors moved at a faster than glacial pace it would turn into the worst looking Youtube video you’ve ever seen. The only thing I can think of is that they didn’t split the bitrate on the disc evenly between the two films (since Fields Of Terror actually looked quite good), so I’ll have to check the other double features they sent me to compare. I know H20’s was bad too (whereas Halloween 6’s was pretty good), but nowhere near as shoddy as this. I don’t care if it’s the worst movie ever made, they can at least provide a professional transfer, not this Mill Creek level disgrace. When I see this disc in the aisle of the frozen foods section of my Ralph’s, I will hide it behind a Hungry Man boneless chicken.
What say you?