Children of the Corn
Donald P. Borchers, Terrence Kirby, Earl A. Glick (executive), Charles Weber (executive) for Gatlin Productions, New World, Angeles Entertainment Group, Cinema Group, Hal Roach Studios
directed by Fritz Kiersch
starring Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger, Anne Marie McEvoy, Julie Maddalena, Jonas Marlowe, John Philbin, Dan Snook, David Cowen, Suzy Southam, D.G. Johnson, Patrick Boylan, Elmer Soderstrom, Teresa Toigo, Mitch Carter (voice)
screenplay by George Goldsmith, based on the short story by Stephen King, music by Jonathan Elias, special effects by Eric Rumsey/SPFX Inc.
Children of the Corn
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Passing through the massive cornfields of Nebraska, USA, Burt (Peter
Horton) and Vicky's (Linda Hamilton) car hits a young boy ... whose throat
has actually been slit prior to the accident they find out when examining
the body. To report this, they head for the next town, Gatlin, a village
of less than 1,000 souls - to find it all empty, and all evidence suggests
it has been like this for 3 years now. But then they find two young kids,
(Robby Kiger) and Sarah (Anne Marie McEvoy), who tell them the entire
population of the village over 19 years of age has been killed, according
to the command of "He Who Walks Behind the Rows", delivered by
his teenaged prophet Isaac (John Franklin). And all local children safe
Job and Sarah, who have found a safe place in their deceased parents' bomb
shelter, have been following Isaac ever since - and happily sacrifice
themselves to "He Who Walks Behind the Rows". Soon, Isaac and
company get wind that two grown-ups are in town, and Isaac's second in
command Malachai (Courtney Gains) manages to capture Vicky ... and it's
only thanks to the fact that Malachai and Isaac get into a power struggle
that ends with Isaac being crucified that Burt manages to save Vicky. But
saving Vicky is the easy part, getting away from the homicidal kids' cult
and especially "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" is the real
Veteran actor R.G. Armstrong plays a mechanic eventually
killed by the children, but his character serves little purpose.
Stephen King's short story of the same name this film is based on is maybe
nicely written ultimately but too derivative of the classic
Star Trek episode Miri
and the Euro-shocker Who Can
Kill a Child, with sprinkles of Herschell Gordon Lewis 2,000
Maniacs even, to be called wholly original. And objectively
speaking, this film isn't a trailblazing horror masterpiece, nor one of
the better Stephen King adaptations even - basically, the whole backstory
of the film remains too vague to carry a feature film, the plot as such is
pretty formulaic and rarely strays off the beaten path, the characters are
a bit on the shallow side and not totally believable in their actions, and
the macho attitude of the movie seems strangely out of place at least from
today's point of view.
On the plus side though, this is one atmospheric
chiller, making the most of its cornfield backdrops, and delivering iconic
images (first and foremost of course crucified Linda Hamilton) in the
process. And the thing's nicely enough paced to let one forget many of its
shortcomings. And at least if you are into 1980s horror, this really ticks
all the boxes and delivers everything you expect as a well-made package.