The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984) ** ½

Remember back in the early 80’s where EVERYTHING Stephen King wrote got turned into a movie?  At one point I think his grocery list was optioned for a film, but nothing ever became of it.  This flick was the first full length feature to be based off one of his short stories from Night Shift.  

Director Fritz Kiersch (who also directed the ultimate James Spader NOT playing a yuppie movie, Tuff Turf) sets the stage with a strong opening.  A bunch of kids in the rural farming town of Gatlin, Nebraska wander into the town diner after church lets out and kill all the grown ups via poisoned coffee, meat slicer, and the ever popular farm implements.  

And you thought those Village of the Damned kids were bad.  

Flash forward three years later (although none of the kids have seemed to age a day) to where the adult hating kids have taken over and turned the town into some sort of satanic Amish death cult ran by the creepy kid Isaac (John Franklin who looks like a Prozaced out Damien) that don’t allow music or games (some kids don’t go for his tyrannical reign and rebel by playing Monopoly) and worships “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”.  A young doctor (thirtysomething’s Peter Horton) and his girlfriend (Salisbury MD native Linda Hamilton) are passing through when they run over a cult escapee and wander into town where they are labeled as “Outlanders”.  

The carrot topped Malachai (Courtney Gains from The ‘Burbs), Isaac’s rival to the throne of devil worshipping tykes kidnaps Sarah Connor and take her into the cornfield.  Meanwhile Horton checks out a decrepit church where there’s a blood drinking ceremony where we learn everyone on their 19th birthday “Go to HIM”.  Horton hides out in a bomb shelter until Malachai calls him out by screaming “OUTLANDER!” like a hundred times.  Horton follows the children out into the cornfields where Malachai offers up Isaac for sacrifice to “HWWBTR” in which he turns into something that resembles a video game on acid.  But Isaac comes back with a vengeance and lays the smackdown on Malachai.  When “He” finally does show up he gets around the same way Bugs Bunny got to Pismo Beach, by burrowing his way under the ground.  

If that doesn’t crack you up, the scene in which Peter Horton is attacked by demonic cornstalks will.  

Anyhow, the finale has Horton fertilizing the fields with gasoline and blowing up the “He”, which leads to the obvious question, if you blow up a devil monster in a cornfield, wouldn’t there be popcorn for everybody?  

You know after defeating a hulking android from the future in The Terminator, you’d think Hamilton could have taken out a bunch of pint sized devil worshipping runts.  The performances are okay but the film never manages to top the excellent diner massacre scene and slows waaay down in the middle section.  

I guess that’s what you get when you turn an 11 page story into a 90 minute movie.  

Franklin
returned to the series fifteen years later for Children of the Corn 666.  Followed years later by several direct to video sequels.

Tags: c, children of the corn series, horror, stephen king
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