Children of the Corn (1984)
Director: Fritz Kiersh
Anne Marie McEvoy/Sarah
A cute couple (Horton, Hamilton) find themselves stuck in some hick town in Nebraska called Gatlin. A group of adult-murdering, corn-demon-worshipping kids make their stay a living hell.
This flick is based on a short Stephen King story from his “Night Shift” novel.
When I was a wee little brat, this flick gave me the freaking creeps. Now that I’m an older brat, I’m saddened to say that the only thing that this film gave me was a “hurling” sensation down my throat. And it’s a damn shame because there’s actual potential for a chilling story somewhere in there. Now before I proceed to stick a corn on the cob up this film's yahoo, I will go on record and say a few positive things.
This poor film did manage to put out a couple of somewhat brrr-inducing moments. By the way of the creepy cornfields, the initial “adult” slaughter or the eerie sight of children closing in on an adult in a deserted town, weapons in hand. But the rest of the movie wastes those moments effortlessly. Now butter it up because here comes the corn!
This movie rubbed me the wrong way from the get-go with its narration (by little kid Robby Kiger). I found it unnecessary and corny (pun intended). The film continued to lose its grasp by including an extended stalk sequence that wound up being a dream sequence (that killed all of the impact the scene should’ve had). Then, the flick totally lost me when two of its prominent “corn fetish” kids (Isaac and Malachai) started to spit out dialogue. Oh my god! The horror, the horror of those lines! With crap like “I have your woman outlander”, “question me not”, “seize him” or my personal favorite, they call the leads: “interlopers”-- the film just went too far and had me groaning.
Add to that a hero (Horton) that keeps on making extremely dumb moves (would you leave your wife alone in a deserted town after finding a dead kid with his throat slit? If you see a cornfield part by itself, do you enter it???), a kill scene that takes all kinds of time to unfold and eventually doesn’t even bother paying off (with a character that talks to himself, keeps blaming it on the wind and who’s not impressed by clouds moving at light speed…BARF) and an incredibly ridiculous ending (with tacky visual effects, a demon that travels under the soil like a gopher, a mano-a-mano confrontation filled with backhand slaps and a makeup job that had me in stitches laughing)...and you get one lousy movie.
Children Of The Corn’s biggest sin is undoubtedly the way that it handles its element but running a close second is its snore-inducing pace. Taking into account the premise of this flick, how the hell did it wind up being so boring? This could’ve been "creepy fun" if treated differently but as things stand now, this flick should’ve stayed behind the rows…
Most of the kills are off-screen. We do get a slit throat, a light stabbing and lots of bright red blood splashing all around. The film likes to set up kills and then cheat us out of the payoffs.
Props to Peter Horton (Burt) who manages to keep a straight face during this mess. Linda Hamilton (Vicky) is as charming as ever and her chemistry with Horton is on. Robby Kiger (Job) does ok but more fear out of him would have been nice. Anne Marie McEvoy (Sarah) is a cutie and will grow up to break some hearts one day (today she’s all growns up, so yes...she must be breaking hearts). To be fair John Franklin (Isaac) is stuck with the worse dialogue but his Shakespearian delivery didn’t help his case. His voice also hurt my ears. Ease down, young Jedi! Courtney Gains (Malachai) is one creepy looking dude and he does what he has to do, unfortunately he too has to sputter putrid dialogue and got on my nerves.
T & A
Horton goes shirtless; Hamilton and the corn keep their clothes on.
Kiersh adds a bit of coating on this turd. He has a few groovy wide shots, likes to show shadows of kids or weapons and goes coo-coo with close ups of knives. But the pace of the film is just too slow, the suspense scenes lag, the fight sequences are silly (what wuz up with that bitch slapping?) and he also tends to be a bit heavy-handed with his direction.
The score by Jonathan Elias works when a “chorale” is used but the rest of the time, it sounds pretty tacky.
Anchor Bay Entertainment
EXTRAS: Theatrical Trailer.
SOUND: Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.
IMAGE: Anamorphic widescreen transfer in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
I watched this one with my brother and here’s what came out of my mouth during the film: “The music is kind of creepy”, “Fuck me man, it was a dream!”, “Come on, get to the point!”, “What the fuck is that guy doing? What an idiot!”, “Will Isaac shut the fuck up already!”, “Malachai better get a good death”, “What’s he doing at the school, didn’t he say he was going to the town hall?”, “Oh man, will this ever end? Give me another beer NOW!”, “That’s it? Malachai deserved way worse!”, “The effects suck!”, “Fuck me man...this movie is awful!” RENT AT YOUR OWN RISK!
In the film, you can see a copy of King’s "Night Shift" on the dashboard of the car (the film is based on a story from Night Shift).
John Franklin returns in "Children of the Corn Part 6" as Isaac and he also co-wrote the screenplay.