Sunday, October 2, 2011

Children of the Corn: The Gathering (1996)

I guess it won’t come as a surprise that I have a fondness for DTV and “meaningless” sequels to movies that wasn’t popular in the first place. But I see sequels, especially in the direct to home video market to be a very fine for of exploitation. Very pure, often a lot better than the originals because the often boost the violence and lowers the drama. Good old entertainment without an illusion of being anything else. When it comes to the Children of the Corn franchise I always loathed the first movie – mostly for the lack of gore and just being way to boring. The sequels are much more fun, and Children of the Corn: The Gathering is probably the best of the bunch when it comes to ambitions.

Naomi Watts (of all people!) plays a young doctor, Grace, who just returned to her hometown to take care of some family business, mostly her mentally unstable mother June (Karen Black) and her very young sister. But our favourite demon/devil is growing again and takes the shape of a young preacher boy who possesses all the other children in the town with his evil. Soon they are starting to kill their parents and it’s up to Grace to stop them!

What’s interesting here is that they actually tried to build a story, create characters to care and root for. You won’t see it in the short text above, but compared to the other movies this is a lot better. The build-up with the children acting sick, having convulsions and getting high fever is a good detail and feels a lot scarier than them just starting to act weird one day. Here everyone think they’re fine for a moment and calms down – and then the little critters attack fast and bloody!

It’s still the third sequel to a movie no one liked anyway, with a good amount of blood and gore and – believe it or not – tension. Naomi is one of the reasons the movie works so well, because she really create someone we care about. She’s a good actress and always been, and its fun to see how she can raise the quality so much by just doing her job.

The other actors are doing great to, especially Karen Black as the mother. Like almost all the other Corn-sequels this has a character actor in a minor role (the following movies have David Carradine, Fred Williamson, Michael Ironside and Billy Drago) and Karen really gives all what she got here. She didn’t have to, but she’s excellent in the part and it’s a pity she has to bite the dust without a good final scene against Naomi.

The gore is creative and graphic, from scythes through heads, decapitations, impalings, chopped of fingers, a man cut in half and so on. It’s well-made kills and gives a good story some spice. There’s really not that much to say about The Gathering, but it’s clearly the best and most successful of the sequels and it outshines the boring original movie (the SyFy version, from 2009, of the Stephen King’s original novella is a lot better by the way, skip the original and watch the TV-version instead!).

So Naomi, if you read this (come on, I’m sure you Google yourself sometime – I do!), don’t be shamed of this little horror movie. You did you best and it shows, good for you!


Jesper said...

This is my favourite of all the Corn movies together with part 3!

forestofthedead said...

One of my favorite movies!

forestofthedead said...

An excellent film!

Ninja Dixon said...

Part 3 and 5 are my favorites! Part 3 is so insane and I love how the budget seem to run out at the end when the big monster comes... :)