Horror was huge in the eighties. It’s something about an AIDS pandemic and an upcoming nuclear war that makes people want to get scared in a save manner at the theatres. In 1988, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) spent 3 weeks at number one at the box office in the US, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) spent 2 weeks there, and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) a week. Sequels ruled horror.
And then the Berlin wall fell and so did the public’s interest in horror. The market was oversaturated. The top franchises had a film almost every year. In the 2000s, the same thing happened with a yearly sequel to Saw (2004) and Paranormal Activity (2007). Nothing new under the sun.
People still wanted horror, just not as much of it and, they didn’t really need to see it in the theatres. Everybody that didn’t get a VCR in the eighties, did get one in the nineties, and as the biggest franchises bowed out (Freddy was killed in a final nightmare and Jason went to hell), there was room for something new, or maybe sequels to something old, and thus we have a bunch of sequels to Children of the Corn (1984) (and Amityville Horror (1979)).
“Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice” came out 8 years after the original. It’s shot on film and released in theatres (the only sequel in the series to get that honor), but it was obviously made for TV; it pretty much has the look and feel of an episode of Melrose Place.
The plot is simple. People find out that all the adults are dead in the town of Gaitlin. The police from the next town, Hemingford, come over and find the remains, in a quite cool scene where we see that one parent was killed by being stabbed by a Barbie doll, another with a corn on the cob. The good Christian people of Hemingford decide to adopt the murderous children, putting all the blame on Isaac and Malakai.
One old bitty knows it’s a bad idea, and gets a house dropped on her by the children, but don’t worry, she has an identical sister who overacts just like her. Most of the other actors appeared in seaQuest DSV or other forgotten 90s TV. They are forgettable, but adequate. The new cult leader Micha has his moments but is just a pale copy of Isaac.
The film includes He who walks behind the rows, a deity that the children worship from the first movie, it has the vision of a cheap 80s music video. There are paranormal moments (one pretty nifty where a voodoo doll causes uncontrollable nosebleed in church), but there is also a subplot involving toxic corn vapors, or something, I didn’t quite get it.
Overall, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice is entertaining which is more than can be said about Children of the Corn (1984). That one suffered from uncontrollable dullness, which makes “The Final Sacrifice” a sequel that is better than the original. That isn’t a high mark, but it’s something.