Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999) Dimension/Horror RT: 82 minutes Rated R (horror violence and gore, some language, sexual content) Director: Kari Skogland Screenplay: Tim Sulka and John Franklin Music: Terry Hudd Cinematography: Richard Clabaugh Release date: October 19, 1999 (US, DTV) Cast: Natalie Ramsey, Nancy Allen, Paul Popowich, Alix Koromzay, John Franklin, John Patrick White, Sydney Bennett, Stacy Keach, William Prael, Nathan Brexton, Gary Bullock.
It’s the Children of the Corn sequel fans have been waiting for since child preacher/cult leader Isaac was presumably killed at the end of the original 1984 movie. The evil little guy, played once again by John Franklin, is back in Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return, the sixth chapter in the series loosely based on (and connected to) a short story by Stephen King. I have to admit that I was a little excited about seeing Isaac again. In the vernacular of 16-year-old MG 24/7, he was a creepy little dude. What I failed to take into account is that the actor aged in the 15 years since Isaac made his last appearance. While he stayed the same size (due to a form of dwarfism), he no longer looks like a kid. A creepy kid urging other kids to kill their parents is freaky; a middle-aged short person doing the same is not. In other words, Isaac’s return is more of a curse than a blessing at least as far as the movie’s effectiveness goes. That’s not to say Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return is entirely bad. As a horror movie, it’s merely fair.
This time the story centers on a girl named Hannah (Ramsey, Cherry Falls) who comes to Gatlin looking for her birth mother. She’s the first child born of the original cult and her coming back to Gatlin isn’t unexpected. There’s a prophecy about the firstborn child bringing about the reawakening of He Who Walks Behind the Rows and starting a new race of corn children (or some such nonsense). While snooping around the local hospital, she learns that Isaac isn’t dead. He’s been in a coma for 19 years. As per the prophecy, he awakens and the killings start up again. He’s determined to see that the prophecy is fulfilled.
As for Hannah, she does find her birth mom who turns out to be Rachel (Allen, RoboCop), the girl from the first movie who carved the pentagram in that boy’s chest. She’s the one that was hiding in the back seat when Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton returned to their car in the final scene. She also becomes fond of Gabriel (Popowich, Vampires Anonymous), a local teen who helps her find her mom. He also saves her life once or twice. That, more or less, is the gist of Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return. There’s also a lady sheriff (Koromzay, Kindergarten Cop) and a doctor (Keach, Up in Smoke), both of whom may or may not be involved in all the madness.
The movie itself is just okay. In fact, the same can be said of the three remaining movies (including this one) in the Children of the Corn franchise. It has a few cool kill scenes. A girl is split in half by a scythe. A boy impales himself on a scythe. A woman shoots herself in the head. Somebody’s nose is pushed into their brain. Another person is electrocuted. The acting is on par with what you’d expect from a movie like this. It’s good to see Allen again. She’s always good. Ramsey is okay as Hannah. Franklin tries but the magic is gone. While it’s cool that Isaac makes a return appearance, I wish they had done it sooner while he still looked like a kid. A kid that orders killings is far more effective than a kid-sized adult ordering kids to kill. I’ll say this in the movie’s favor; it’s not completely predictable. The storyline isn’t bad either. I really like the title; the 666 is a semi-clever touch. It’s really not a terrible movie. It’s not a particularly good one either. Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return is watchable which is better than anybody could hope for from a DTV horror sequel.