No other author in recent memory has had as much consistent success selling books as Stephen King. For roughly three decades the Maine writer churned out book after book, each one selling more and more copies. He's a world unto himself, the lucky fellow! He's so successful that he could throw out his pens, put away his typewriters, bury his word processor six feet under, never write another word in his life, and STILL have enough money to wallpaper the Great Wall of China five times over. In many respects, it's Stephen King's world and the rest of us are just living in it. But, and this is a gigantic but, an enormous number of metaphysically bad films based on his novels threaten to put a serious dent in his legacy. We all know the good ones, the ones that not only scared audiences stiff but also helped propel King's career to even greater heights. "Carrie" is probably the best example, followed by "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Dead Zone." These are wonderful, magical films that one can watch again and again without wearying of them. Then there are the rest: the truly wretched refuse that reminds one of dental plaque or the junk that washes up on the shores of a filthy river. Welcome to the Children of the Corn franchise.
"Children of the Corn 5: Fields of Terror" is the archetypical low budget horror film instantly recognizable to fans of the genre. Its got a group of young people leaving their urban element to head out into the countryside, a few recognizable actors who once made bigger films but now must scramble for a paycheck, and an up and comer who would move on to better things. Allison (Stacy Galina), Greg (Alexis Arquette), Tyrus (Greg Vaughan), and Kir (Eva Mendez) take a trip to the sticks in order to attend a funeral. Also going along, but in a different car, are Lazlo (Ahmet Zappa) and his girlfriend Charlotte (Angela Jones). Tragedy suddenly erupts when Lazlo and his significant other wander into a cornfield and meet their maker at the hands of a bunch of kids armed with sharp farm implements. The other four kids don't know about this incident, but they do learn about the kids after Greg crashes his car in a ditch. Ezekiel (Adam Wylie) and a few of his cronies emerge from the corn to warn the four about trespassing on private property. They also direct these outsiders to the nearest town and bus stop, but they just miss said bus and must stop into the local tavern where Kane Hodder works as a bartender. After a thoughtless comment to the locals about an unpleasant odor in the air, our group learns that a burning corn silo is to blame. Wanna bet that silo will play a big part in the next hour or so?
In the interim, the group holes up in an abandoned house near town to await the arrival of the bus after discovering someone set fire to their car. Allison takes some time to explain her increasing funk: she heard an offhand comment in the bar about "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," a name that evokes memories of her brother Jacob (Dave Buzzotta). He ran off years ago to join a cult professing to worship this being, and it's no to learn that this very cult resides in the same area where Allison and her pals are now staying. Ezekiel, with the help of understanding adult Luke Enright (David Carradine), directs the ceremonies and sacrifices to "He Who Walks Behind the Rows," who just happens to live in the aforementioned burning silo. Allison reunites with brother Jacob and tries to talk him into leaving. Unfortunately, a book containing the cult god's holy writings fall into the hands of Kir, who reads it and promptly joins the group. Anyone in the cult attaining the age of eighteen must willingly jump into this silo fire so the demon can absorb their spirit, or some such nonsense. Needless to say a lot of people are going to go into that fire, including some local firefighters, a few cult members, and Jimmy Hoffa. Fred Williamson shows up from time to time as the suspicious local sheriff.
So all the elements listed above are here: the group of city kids ran into a rural evil, David Carradine and Fred Williamson showed up to collect their paychecks, and up and comer Eva Mendez put in her time as a snobby looker with a penchant for joining corn cults. All of the characters are appropriately irritating, with special mention going to Alexis Arquette as a mouthy city slicker who doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. His eventual demise at the hands of enraged cultists is uniquely satisfying and requires that I bump this film up from two to three stars. An added benefit to watching "Children of the Corn 5" is the number of people we see engulfed in flames. When you're going to set up a fiery god living in a corn silo as the centerpiece of your film, you've got to start passing out fire retardant suits to the stuntmen. The scenes where the firemen fall prey to the roaring flames shooting out of the silo transcend the laws of physics. Watch and see if you can figure out why.
The only extras on the disc are trailers for parts three, four, and six of "Children of the Corn," "Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers," "Mimic 2," "Dracula 2000," and "Halloween: H20." This installment in the extraordinarily persistent "Children of the Corn" franchise was the last one I could watch without groaning aloud. It takes a steely constitution to weather the next two entries, let me tell you. Give this one a chance if you like Eva Mendez (what guy wouldn't) or if you simply must see every horror movie you stumble across.