Starring: Daniel Cemy, Ron Melendez, Jim Metzler, Nancy Lee Grahn
Directed by: James D.R. Hickox
Licensed by: Arrow Video
Release Date: October 2020
Two orphaned brothers, Joshua (Ron Melendez) and his younger brother Eli (Daniel Cemy), who were connected to the murderous cult led by the children of the rural town of Gatlin Nebraska, are brought to the city of Chicago to live with their newly adoptive parents; William (Jim Metzler) and Amanda Porter (Nancy Lee Grahn). As Joshua starts to get used to his new surroundings, he starts to feel more distant towards his younger brother, as Eli begins to show his distaste towards those living a more modern lifestyle in the city of Chicago. Due to Eli’s distaste of his new surroundings, he summons the demonic entity known as; ‘He who walks Behind the Rows’, which therefore causes all hell to break lose, as mysterious gory deaths starts to occur, when Eli begins to recruit the local children living in Chicago to join his newly murderous cult, to carry on what had once begun in his hometown of Gatlin, by bringing the mayhem to the urban setting of Chicago.
‘Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)’ is the third instalment in the ‘Children of the Corn’ horror film series, which was based on a short story by Steven King. This movie opens with a violent chase scene in the cornfields of the town of Gatlin, Nebraska, where a drunken man threatens his son Joshua (portrayed by actor Ron Melendez) with a beating, which ends in a most gruesome death scene, setting up what we can except to see for the rest of the movie. With the death of Joshua’s father, both Joshua and his younger brother Eli (Daniel Cemy) are adopted by both William (Jim Metzler) and Amanda Porter (Nancy Lee Grahn) and are taken out of the rural town of Gatlin, Nebraska to the urban setting of the city of Chicago. To Eli’s distain and despite the rough start to their new life in the city of Chicago, Joshua starts to finally fit in with his other classmates through a game of basketball, which causes a rift between the two brothers. As the two brothers drift apart, Eli finds an old and abandoned factory near their new home, to summon the demonic entity also known as ‘He who Walks Behind the Rows’, by giving him an offering of the corn, he brought with him from his hometown of Gatlin. Through throwing the seeds on the spoiled soil, it results in the corn growing mysteriously fast despite being on the worst soil, which becomes very valuable to their newly adopted father William Porter (Jim Metzler), as Eli reassures him that it could make him and their newly family filthy rich. Their newly adopted mother Amanda Porter (Nancy Lee Grahn), starts to become suspicious and baffled by Eli’s strange behaviour and these suspicions soon becomes apparent to both Joshua and his new found friends, when Eli begins to recruit their classmates to become part of his new murderous cult, in carrying out the demon’s bidding.
From this movie’s opening, we witness Joshua’s (Ron Melendez) previous home life, through seeing how terrified he was of his drunken father, which will help the audience to sympathise with his character and therefore root for him. Joshua seems more normal than his younger brother Eli, as Joshua starts to both fit in with his new classmates and wear his new clothes rather than what he wore before, therefore showing that his character can adapt to change. This is not the case for his younger brother Eli (Daniel Cemy), who seems to dislike his new surroundings and the people in them. Eli starts to show from the very beginning of the film, that he doesn’t want to change and is more powerful than he’s letting on, as he seems to secretly have the power of telekinesis, as he was able to knock off a glass statue with ease, which was impossible as it was further away from him. Eli is a very unlikeable character due to the threatening nature he hides behind his innocent face. The characters of both William (Jim Metzler) and Amanda Porter (Nancy Lee Grahn) are introduced as a warm and welcoming couple, as they try their best to make sure both Joshua and Eli feel loved. Mr and Mrs Porter seem to be very in love and are happy to have children to be part of their newly build family, but for Amanda Porter, her opinion soon changes, when she starts to feel threatened by Eli, due to his bizarre behaviour making her feel uncomfortable around just him. William Porter’s character seems to be oblivious to his wife’s concerns about Eli, as her husband becomes more occupied with trying to profit off of the mysteriously fast grown and invulnerable to disease corn.
I truly enjoyed ‘Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)’ and dare I say I rather this sequel to its previous films, as I felt this had a more intriguing plot and I was pleased that the filmmakers decided to change the setting, by having it moved out of the rural town of Gatlin to the urban city of Chicago, as it brought a nice change of pace, with new faces brought in to be recruited, than the movie sticking with only all Amish like characters that was mainly used in the previous instalments. I enjoyed all of the innovative kills in the movie even the ridiculous cringe worthy ones. I loved the innovative kill, that involved a man having his limbs torn apart and his eyes and mouth being sewn shut, as I felt it was brilliantly executed and had made an impact on me, due to it being the first kill, therefore causing me to feel intrigued to see what the other kills will look like throughout the film. I loved the gore used in the scene, where a head is cracked open and split down in the middle and also a scene where another character’s head was pulled off from his body. The two death scenes that came to mind, that were hilariously cringe worthy, was firstly a death scene of a beloved character, where she got impaled by a broken pipe, which would of been effective , if it wasn’t obvious that it was a dummy, due to the hilarious image of her open mouth making an everlasting shocked expression. The other cringe worthy death scene, which was really the only negative aspect for me, was where a huge tentacle looking monster bursts from the ground and starts to eat the kids, which would have been chilling, if you couldn’t clearly see the monster eating a miniature doll version of the actors, which I felt took away from the sort of realism of that scene.
I highly recommend watching ‘Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)’, due to its supervising twist and blood splattering innovative kills, that were both brilliantly executed and sometimes humorous, making this film an entertaining watch. The actor Daniel Cemy who played the main character of Eli, had portrayed this evil character perfectly, from he’s innocent expression to his threatening mannerisms, that makes his character intriguing to watch, to see what extreme measures he will take, to please the demonic entity from whom he calls ‘He Who Walks Behind the Rows’. ‘Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)’, is the first in the ‘Children of the Corn’ film series to be made under Dimension Films and Miramax and the first to be released direct to video. This movie was also the film to start the careers of Buffy the vampire slayer actor, Nicholas Brendon, who had an unaccredited role, as one of the basketball players and the actress Ivana Milicevic who portrayed Riley Finn’s wife Samantha Finn and US military agent in Buffy the vampire slayer, had an unaccredited role in this film as Acolyte, a follower of Eli. The most noteworthy actress to appear in ‘Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)’ as their first film is the American – South African actress Charlize Theron, who had an unaccredited and non speaking role as one of Eli’s followers.
Overall: 8 /10