Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)

children of the corn iv the gathering poster 1996 movie
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 3/10

Better than Children of the Corn 3, Naomi Watts

Not tied to the other Children of the Corn movies

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Children of the Corn IV:  The Gathering

Studio:  Dimension Films

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  October 8, 1996

MPAA Rating:  R

children of the corn iv the gathering naomi watts karen black

Trust me, Naomi…careers can go south real quick

Grace Rhodes (Naomi Watts) has taken a leave from medical school to go home to take care of her ailing agoraphobic mother June (Karen Black) and her younger sister Margaret (Jamie Renée Smith) and brother James (Mark Salling).  Grand Island, Nebraska has a problem on its hands.  Filling in at the clinic of Dr. Larson (William Windom), Grace and Dr. Larson notice that something is wrong with the children.  A dangerous fever rises in all the children of the town and leaves at the same time…with many of the children saying they are other people.  When the children turn on the adults, it becomes a fight for survival, and Grace and a concerned father named Donald (Brent Jennings) must save the children before it is too late.

Directed by Greg Spencer (who cowrote the script with Stephen Berger), Children of the Corn IV:  The Gathering (also sometimes just called Children of the Corn: The Gathering) is a low-budget straight-to-video horror sequel.  Following Children of the Corn III:  Urban Harvest in 1995, the film is an in-name-only tie to the 1977 Stephen King short story “Children of the Corn”.

children of the corn iv the gathering killer twins kids

Twice the fun with twins!

It felt like for a while there were a lot of Children of the Corn movies and none of them were received with much fanfare.  In reflection, a few of the movies did later garner attention to actors involved in the film including Naomi Watts in one of her early leading roles in this film.  Largely however, Children of the Corn IV:  The Gathering is pretty forgettable.

The story is kind of a Children of the Corn story, but it also really isn’t.  The backstory is about a preacher kid who was essentially worked to death, killed his tyrants, and then was killed by the town.  The “preacher” infected the kids of the town and that is where they turned on the adults who left him to die in a well.  It kind of is a Children of the Corn story combined with The Ring (which also starred Watts), but it feels like it could have been any “creepy killer kids” story and that Children of the Corn was simply used to market it.

The picture is largely known for the early appearance of Naomi Watts.  Even though she is in a cheesy horror film, she does a decent job.  She is back-up by a few veteran actors in Karen Black and William Windom.  Child actress Jamie Renée Smith plays Watts’ younger sister with a secret while her brother is played by Mark Salling of Glee who ended up having a troubled live and career.

children of the corn iv the gathering ending melting

I’m melting! I’m melting! What a world! What a world!

The movie attempts to have jumps but largely is devout of any good scares.  The movie even employs the “double dream sequence” which seems like the basest of jump attempts.  Cornfields are often naturally scary and Children of the Corn IV:  The Gathering doesn’t really employ the built in horror.  It also fails to utilize scary kids (ok the terrible twins are a bit creepy).

Children of the Corn IV:  The Gathering isn’t the most dynamic film and it also isn’t a very good horror film.  It generally feels like horror filler which is usually the worst kind of horror movie.  Horror that is so bad it is funny is entertaining and horror that is good is entertaining.  Horror that is filler waste a lot of opportunities like this film.  Children of the Corn IV:  The Gathering is followed by Children of the Corn V:  Fields of Terror in 1998.

Related Links:

Children of the Corn (1984)

Children of the Corn II:  The Final Sacrifice (1993)

Children of the Corn III:  Urban Harvest (1995)

Children of the Corn V:  Fields of Terror (1998)

Children of the Corn 666:  Isaac’s Return (1999)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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