I tend to enjoy my horror one of two ways: swathed in darkness and dripping in grue or tongue firmly planted in cheek and silly. Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest fits the silly aspect of my second group of preferences to a T, though I’m not entirely certain this movie was made with any self-awareness as to how silly the concept really is.
In this movie, the third entry in the long-winded series, everyone’s favorite creepy “almost Amish” kid Eli and his older brother Joshua are put up for adoption after the “mysterious” death of their father. Luckily for them (particularly for kids their age), they are quickly adopted by one of the WASPiest couples in Chicago and thus, transplanted from their podunk roots in Nebraska to the big city of Chicago. Enter the “urban” aspect of the movie.
I have to give it up to Hollywood, they always love trying to stay topical and mimic what’s “cool” with the kids. As it so happens, hip hop and “urban” culture was kind of a big deal in the mid-90’s so we got more than a few notable “urban” horror movies out of it. Leprachaun: Back 2 Tha Hood anyone?
So, pretty much as soon as they get to the big city the unintentional goofiness starts, like little Eli and his suitcase filled to bursting with corn. Maybe this should have acted as a warning sign to his new adoptive parents that it was time to take a drive back out to the country and come back with an empty seat in the car. The suitcase coupled with his fire-and-brimstone heavy version of grace would have sealed the deal in my house any day.
Very conveniently, the adoptive father happens to trade in corn. Alright, I’m sure this is a thing, but this movie plays it like he’s a big wheeler dealer in the corn hustling business which is strange in and of itself to me. Is this a thing? If so, can someone tell me how I can become a corn pimp? Anyway, dear old Dad discovers later in the movie that his creepy, adopted “almost Amish” son has taken some of the corn he smuggled into the city and planted a field of it in the yard of the abandoned factory… that just so happens to neighbor their suburban property. This is still totally normal behavior apparently; nothing to worry about at all right?
Through the power of the almighty yellow kernels, Eli manages to get the majority of his school under his control, attempting to lead them in a plan to kill anyone over the age of 19. Let’s just ignore that fact that the majority of kids under his thrall are bordering 18 as it is because if we poke holes in his plan, he might cry.
Anyway you cut it, this movie is fun to watch. The concept is so stupid it comes around full circle into entertaining and the whole fish out of water Amish kids in the “hood” slant it has is worth the price of admission. There are also a decent amount of slasher-esque kills in this installment which, though they seem sort of out of place at times, really add to the enjoyment of watching it. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for 90’s gore gags. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the terribly done tentacle monster fight that’s in here – it’s this awesomely designed, terribly executed rubber monster “thing” that really pushed this over the edge into So Bad, It’s Good territory for me.
- Crappy rubber monster? Check!
- Connection to a remotely respectable movie? Check!
- Bad acting? Check!
- Ridiculous concept only a lover of bad cinema could get behind? Check!