Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (James D.R. Hickox, 1995, USA)

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest is the third entry in the Children of the Corn franchise. By this point, the franchise had moved fully under the umbrella of Miramax's genre brand Dimension, and Dimension had a roster of talent to pull from behind the camera. The star behind the camera of CotC3 is Screaming Mad George, the Japanese-born makeup effects artist whose resume reads like a "best of" of 80s cult horror: Big Trouble and Little ChinaPredatorA Nightmare on Elm Street IIISociety... 

As many slasher franchises do (see Friday the 13thLeprechaun), the third entry in the Corn franchise brings the cult to the city. In this case, the city is Chicago. Eli and Joshua, two boys from rural Gatlin, Nebraska, are taken in by foster parents. While Joshua attempts to make friends with the local kids, Eli refuses to conform and ends up starting a cult of his own. He also starts planting corn behind his foster parent's house, which gets into a subplot involving agricultural futures (the foster father works on the commodities exchange). 


While the film is stupid on many levels, it takes the franchise in an interesting direction, and the creative and schlocky visual effects in the film fulfill the promise of the earlier films, where the monster was not properly visualized. Stephen King himself saw the film and enjoyed it, which is not surprising. The film is also notable for launching the career of Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron, who appears very briefly as one of the kids brought into Eli's cult. While Children of the Corn III feels somewhat sloppy and slapped together, it does deliver as a slasher film and feels certainly more polished - if not creepier - than the prior two installments. Worth checking out. 


5/10

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