Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering
Promotional poster
Directed byGreg Spence
Produced byGary Depew
Written byStephen Berger
Greg Spence
Based onChildren of the Corn
by Stephen King
Music byDavid C. Williams
CinematographyRichard Clabaugh
Edited byChristopher Cibelli
Distributed byDimension Films
Release date
  • October 8, 1996 (1996-10-08)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering is a 1996 American horror film directed by Greg Spence and starring Naomi Watts, Brent Jennings, and Karen Black. It is the fourth film in the Children of the Corn series. The plot follows a medical student returning to her hometown in Nebraska, where she finds the children to be falling under a mysterious mass illness connected to the town's past.

The film expands upon the origins of "He Who Walks Behind the Rows". The film marked the first time Naomi Watts received first billing, and was also the debut of actor Mark Salling.


Medical student Grace Rhodes returns to her hometown of Grand Island, Nebraska to take care of her agoraphobic mother June (Karen Black), who refuses to leave her yard. She is having recurring nightmares of being attacked by children. Grace must also look after her younger siblings, James and Margaret. She takes a job at Dr. Larson's local clinic, where she'd worked before. James and Margaret become ill, showing similar symptoms to those of the children in June's dreams. While working at Dr. Larson's office the next day, Grace notices that many other kids have the same symptoms. During the night all of the kids get worse as their fevers skyrocket. Suddenly it all stops and the fevers drop.

Local parents Donald (Brent Jennings) and Sandra Atkins notice that their son Marcus is acting strangely. One night, a group of children descend upon the house, led by a child preacher, and Sandra is murdered in front of Marcus. The police arrive and question Donald; Marcus flees into a field and is chased by the sheriff, whom the child preacher confronts and kills. A suspect in his wife's murder, Donald goes into hiding and is taken in by two elderly sisters, Jane and Rosa (Marietta Marich).

The children stop answering to their names and claim to be other people; longtime resident Dr. Larson recognizes the names they use as those of dead children from the town's history. One night, he is killed in his office by two children. When Grace arrives the next day, his body has vanished, and the children's blood tests reveal inexplicable signs of decay and death. June's recurring nightmares start up again--but she is not dreaming; it's all actually happening. She flees her house and drives away; spotting James entering an old barn, she follows him inside. She is captured and killed by the child preacher, after which children gather at the barn.

Grace decides to go to Dr. Larsen's house to find him. Donald hijacks her and her car and forces her to drive at gunpoint. They go to Jane and Rosa's house. Rosa reveals that the child preacher, Josiah, was the bastard son of a local woman. He was taken in by traveling preachers and became a gifted preacher. Over the years, Josiah stopped aging and never grew out of boyhood. The traveling preachers gave him over to darkness to stunt his growth, but when word got out, they abandoned him. Josiah killed the preachers, then the townspeople burned him alive and sealed his remains in a wall.

Meanwhile, Mary Anne, Grace's best friend and co-worker, is attacked and killed by Josiah. Grace and Donald return to the clinic and discover that Margaret is missing, but they learn that Josiah's weakness is mercury. It is also revealed that Josiah is Rosa's son. Margaret, James, Marcus, and all the other children gather at the barn and offer blood to Josiah. Marcus is a hemophiliac, so he would bleed to death with even a small cut, but he cuts his hand and offers his blood to Josiah, and Margaret offers Josiah her soul. Marcus collapses from blood loss and Margaret is pulled into the pool of blood, from which Josiah emerges.

Donald and Grace arrive at the barn and connect its sprinkler system to their supply of mercury. Donald fills two of his bullets with mercury and gives Grace the gun. Donald stops Marcus' bleeding, but the children try to kill him. Josiah attacks Grace, but she shoots him with a mercury bullet. She then finds the bodies of June and Dr. Larson. Josiah attacks her again, but she activates the sprinklers, which shower him with mercury. Grace slashes him with his own scythe, finally killing him. The children stop trying to kill Donald and return June's and Dr. Larsen's bodies. Josiah attacks her again, but Grace activates the sprinklers which shower him with mercury. Grace slashes him with his own scythe, finally killing him. The children stop trying to kill Donald and return to normal. Grace finds Margaret; she's nearly drowned, but Grace manages to revive her.

It is revealed that Margaret is actually Grace's daughter, and that she abandoned her with June as a teenager. After the victims' funerals, Grace, Margaret, James, Donald, and Marcus all move out of Nebraska.



Filming for Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering took place in Austin, Texas in the middle of 1994.[1][2] According to Watts, she was paid $5,000 for her work in the film.[3]


Like its immediate predecessor, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest, the film did not receive a theatrical release. It was released straight-to-video on October 8, 1996. It later received a North American DVD release on October 9, 2001.[4] Miramax later released it as part of a six film set containing parts 2-7 and on a nine film set also featuring titles three titles from the Halloween series.

On November 29, 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment in a four-film set, also featuring Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest, Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror, and Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return.[5]


Matt Serafini of Dread Central gave the film a positive review, calling it "a marginally better effort than [Part III], even if it ignores the previous film’s lead-in ending in favor of taking things back to rural America."[6] He also praised Watts's performance as well as Karen Black's, but noted that the latter "doesn't have much to do."[6]

Film scholar Mark Browning gave the film a middling review, criticizing it for its failure to "ground" the religious community of He Who Walks Behind the Rows.[7] Browning also praised Watts's performance and noted that "a few images might remain with viewers,"[8] but ultimately deemed the film "highly derivative without any sense of wit or irony."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Webster, Stephen C. (June 12, 2014). "The 10 Worst Movies Filmed in Austin". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering". Richard Clabaugh - Filmmaker. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  3. ^ Stern, Marlow (December 21, 2012). "Naomi Watts on 'The Impossible,' Personal Tragedy, and Playing Princess Diana". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 4, 2015. “I was in Children of the Corn IV or V, and got paid $5,000 to do that whole film, but so what?” she says. “In retrospect, I would have loved to have had more time in my 20s playing different roles, but maybe I would’ve gone off course or got seduced into doing things I wasn’t good at. It was the right way.”
  4. ^ "Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering". Amazon. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "Children of the Corn Series: Miramax Multi-Feature Blu-ray". Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Serafini, Matt (October 18, 2011). "Children of the Corn: 4 Movie Collection (Blu-ray)". Dread Central. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. ^ a b Browning 2011, p. 68.
  8. ^ Browning 2011, p. 70.

Works cited[edit]

  • Browning, Mark (2011). Stephen King on the Small Screen. Intellect Ltd. ISBN 978-1841504124.

External links[edit]