Ranked: Children of the Corn series

If you can even it call it a series.  Other than the first movie, the first sequel and the sixth installment, these are all basically stand alone films.  There are certain things and themes that bring these movies together, other than the title.  The use of “He who walks behind the rows” is mentioned in every movie.  Crazy religion, Nebraska and corn.  I can’t even say the “Children” are one of the ongoing themes in the movies.

I sat down and watched all 10 of these movies over the last four or five days.  Some were reliving some nostalgia and others were really brutal.  I remember my teenage years, 1993-1999, a new Children of the Corn movie came out every other year.  I was there to rent the movie and judge it.  Growing up, I loved the original and my mother swears it is the first horror film I’d ever seen.  I don’t know if that is true, I did see Freddy’s Revenge around the same time, 1986ish.  I loved seeing these film, I went to the theater to see the Final Sacrifice in 1992 and I absolutely hated the follow up, Urban Harvest.  It has been years since I have last visited Gatlin and it’s surrounding area, so it was time to re-visit the Children of the Corn…if for nothing else, to rank the movies.

I did get completely caught up with the “series” and did see Runaway, which was released in 2018.  Runaway, it really reminded me of the Hellraiser series.  What do I mean?  Well I know Hellraiser Inferno was not meant to be a Hellraiser film, they show-horned Piinhead in and added Hellraiser to the title probably because the film was a mess.  I see the same thing in some of these movies, Genesis, Runaway and Revelation all seemed to do less with the series, so they added, “He who walks behind the rows” to make it a Children of the Corn movie.  These are also the newest editions to the series, other than the 2009 remake.  Really, the series died in 1999, with Isaac’s Return.  The last three, stray so far away from the series, they are not worth watching.

So, let’s get to the ranking.  I know, you know what the #1 movie will be, right.  Well, you’d be correct, the original is the possibly the best and really it should be.  If not for the first we would not have the others.  But I wanna make a not in saying, I do think there are two movies that are better than the original.  Sure Children of the Corn (1984) should be the tops, but it is longer than needed and really drawn out, kind of boring at this point.  While gets the top spot out of respect, it surely isn’t my favorite of the bunch.

It is so awesome there are 10 of these movies…On with the list!

10. Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)

Determined to save her estranged brother from a suicide cult, a young woman faces murderous children and worse.

By the fifth movie, a film series should be a “well oiled machine”, right?  Well, this was far and away the worst, most boring and absolutely nothing happened.  The set up seemed decent enough, but nothing happened.  It was a giant let down and I do think it could have gone into some weird places.  Execution was a huge problem and this should have been the end of it all.  No, not because of any absolution, no, because this was the worst effort.

9. Children of the Corn: Revelation (2001)

After her grandmother vanishes, young Jamie (Claudette Mink) decides to stay in the elderly woman’s apartment in Nebraska in order to look for her. Unfortunately, all Jamie finds is a slew of sketchy neighbors and a large cornfield outside the window frequented by a bunch of creepy kids. As Jamie continues to look for her grandmother, the adults around her start to disappear, the children become more threatening and things take a supernatural turn as an evil spirit arises from the fields.

This is an impostor movie.  Boring, bad casting, just nothing there.  It is slightly better than Fields of Terror.  Slightly, but I have no good reason.  The cast was forgettable and the lead annoying, this is a movie I remember watching and hating and I still do.  Revelation makes you realize you do not need to see all of the Children of the Corn movies.  But you will, because you wanna see the next one, right?

8. Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011)

Seeking refuge at a secluded compound, a couple (Kelen Coleman, Tim Rock) encounters a mysterious cult that worships a possessed boy.

Trend, the movies from 2000 and on are the worst, except part 5.  I honestly have forgotten this movie.  But I do remember thinking, this would be an ok stand alone film, just remove the Children of the Corn elements.  I will waste no more time on this.

7. Children of the Corn: Runaway (2018)

A pregnant woman escapes a murderous child cult in a small town and spends the next decade living anonymously to protect her son. After they move to a new town, she realizes something evil is following them, and she must confront it to save them.

This one is still fresh in my head, yet…I cannot find words to describe this one.  It is just bad.  It falls to number 7 by deault, when really all 4 of these movies for complete shit.  I am almost ashamed I own all of these movies, but…$2 not bad.

6.  Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999)

Hannah (Natalie Ramsey) is the daughter of one of the original members of a murderous cult composed of children who worship a demonic spirit called “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” Hannah travels to her hometown of Gatlin, Neb., to find her mother and explore her past. Upon her arrival, Isaac (John Franklin), the original cult leader, begins to wake from a coma. As Hannah tries to find out the truth about her lineage, violence, threats and strange rituals surround her.

This could have been so much better, but yet it was wasted.  It kind of works as a direct sequel to the original movie and really you could form a, well sort of trilogy with this and The Final Sacrifice, oh and the original if you want.  I it was cool seeing Isaac back, but less creepy..  Overall, it is the epitome of the Miramax direct to video movies of the 90s.  It was nice to see John Franklin reprise his role as Isaac.

5. Children of the Corn (2009)

While traveling through rural Nebraska, a couple (David Anders, Kandyse McClure) encounters a religious cult of murderous children who worship a god that lives in their cornfield.

Acting and casting are the issues in the remake.  It sticks closer to the source material, which gives you a better ending.  The young actor playing Isaac is, hard to take seriously.  Overall, it isn’t that bad.  I enjoyed most of the remake.

4. Children of the Corn II: The Last Sacrifice (1992)

A tabloid journalist and his estranged son encounter a cult of murderous children under the spell of a cornfield demon.

Ever wonder what happened after Burt and Vicky left Gatlin?  Now you don’t have to wonder.  This is a decent follow up and it does follow the original, where the rest pretty much stray.

3. Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)

A boy uses his powers of mind control to recruit Chicago children for his reign of terror against adult mankind.

The lead is wonderful, I am honestly surprised he didn’t do more with his acting career.  This movie, I hated it when upon my first watch, but as an adult, it is better.  Oddly one of the best sequels.  It takes you out of Nebraska to a big city and does something kind of big, well it tries.  World domination by corn!  The effects are not great, but fun and overall, this it isn’t too bad.

2. Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)

Grace Rhodes (Naomi Watts), who is studying to be a doctor, returns to her hometown as a strange illness is afflicting the local children. The symptoms include a high fever and spasms, but even weirder is what happens the next day: All those with the illness claim they are somebody else — then they begin murdering the grown-ups. After her sister undergoes the same sinister metamorphosis, Grace comes to believe there is some connection to an evil cult figure who may be returning from the grave.

After the displeasure of watching the third movies, I was excited to see another was being made and coming sooner than expected.  The trailer looked good to me.  This movie does stray away from elements in the original, but the story is solid with Naomi Watts leading the way.  A good mix of cast, this may be the best of the series, for real.  We see more of a supernatural element, more than some kind of demonic force.

1 Children of the Corn (1984)

As physician Burt Stanton (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend, Vicky (Linda Hamilton), drive across the Midwest to his new job, their trip comes to a sudden halt when they encounter the body of a murdered boy in the road. In trying to contact the authorities, Burt and Vicky wander into a small town populated only by children, followers of sinister young preacher Isaac Chroner (John Franklin). Soon the couple is fleeing the youthful fanatics, who want to sacrifice them to their demonic deity.

Eh, whatever.  It is close to the original story, but has a way too happy ending.  Nostalgia really gets me and possibly most.  This movie, is barely a horror film and isn’t really that great overall.  I think I enjoyed watching 2, 3 and 4 over the original.  Still it has its place in horror history.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see an actual theatrical remake soon.  Stephen King’s work is getting, reworked, with IT, Pet Semetary and Carrie in 2013.  I bet more and more will come.

The series is what it is, but so many movies that probably shouldn’t have been made.  What are your thoughts on our list.  Let us know and don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel for every single episode of THS LIVES!  Follow The Horror Syndicate on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

 

About Ray Marek III 442 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)