Children of the Corn, released in 1984, is a classic horror film adapted to movie from the Stephen King story of the same name. Set in a small agricultural town called Gatlin, Nebraska surrounded by corn fields, the kids of the town have perverted a religion making it their own and casting down all adults. Having rid the town of all grown-ups, the children take charge of their own lives and choices and begin their life anew.
After a failed crop season, the townspeople start to pray for a successful harvest. However, a twelve-year-old boy named Isaac (John Franklin) gathers all of the children of the town and indoctrinates them to follow a deity they call “He Who Walks Behind The Rows”. This is an evil deity. After indoctrination, the kids, under the direction of Isaac, murder all of the adults in the town, with Isaac’s right-hand man, Malachai (Courtney Gains), at the helm.
However, not all of the children buy into this “new religion”. Job and his sister, Sarah, don’t take part in the murders of the townspeople, which are meant to be human sacrifices to the deity. Sarah also has a special gift. She can see the future and she draws her visions in pictures on paper.
Meanwhile, a couple, Burt (Peter Horton) and Vicky (Linda Hamilton), are driving their way to Seattle and pass through Nebraska during the trip. The accidentally hit a boy with their car who runs out of the corn fields on the side of the road. Although he ends up dead after the collision, Burt, who is about to be a physician, notices that the boy has been stabbed and that is the actual cause of his death. They surmise that he must have been attacked in the corn fields and Burt goes to investigate, finding the youngster’s suitcase. Assuming the boy was running away from something they load his body and his baggage into their trunk and go in search for help. They come upon Gatlin.
Here they encounter the children, who have been without parental supervision and under the influence of Isaac and this deity for three years now. They are completely appalled by the children’s behavior and the lack of elders in the town. Their presence as adults is severely loathed and their defiance to the children causes the abduction of Vicky for preparation of another sacrifice.
During this ordeal, the kids string up Vicky on a cross type object like she’s a scarecrow. While Burt tries to rescue her Malachai and Isaac get into an argument because Malachai is tired of being under Isaac’s rule and decides to challenge his authority. He wins and they swap out Vicky for Isaac as the sacrificial human to the deity.
Isaac warns that killing him will bring bad things to the children but, like most children, they don’t listen. They go ahead a sacrifice Isaac and the cost is a great storm that rushes in upon them. Isaac returns with the storm to take Malachai to the deity as punishment for his treasonous ways and kills him.
To hide from the storm the rest of the children, Burt and Vicky, Job and Sarah, all hide in a barn. There Job produces a bible passage from his pocket that implies that the cornfields should be destroyed in order to end the reign of the evil deity. With this in mind, Burt figures out a way to drench the field in gasoline and ignites it with a Molotov cocktail, incinerating everything and destroying the demon deity.
Burt and Vicky take Job and Sarah and the four of them leave together, presumably to start their own family.
While there was really nothing actually scary about this movie, the creepy factor was pretty high in regards to the children. Isaac was King Creepster not only in his look but, in his weird haunting voice. It was a voice that reminding me of that weird little old lady in Poltergeist, the one that says “Carol Ann” all spooky? Yeah, that one.
Also, the whole perversion of a religion is quite creepy to me. Anything cult like can have a creep factor to it. It makes me think of David Koresh or Jim Jones. The amount of control and dominance one person has over so many people in a situation such as that just doesn’t strike me as a natural environment for humans.
It was also a little disturbing to see all these children behaving and talking like adults yet, clearly not being able to process the consequences of their actions at all. That just has disaster written all over it.
Plus, it’s kind of messed up that Burt and Vicky initially feel like they should help all of these children when they get into town yet, when they see how tragic the situation is, they opt just to take the two normal kids and make a break for it. I mean, seriously? What happens to these other children? There IS a loyal follower named Rachel who survives. She could possibly continue the faith for the flock. But, that hardly leaves one feeling satisfied about the situation, now does it? I suppose it’s best to look at the bright side that two of the kids, the two with potential, were removed and given chances at life.
I will admit that the children in this movie were better actors than the adults. Linda Hamilton, in my opinion, isn’t all that talented. I’m assuming she was thought to be pretty hot back in the 80’s. She definitely had the hair for the headband look going on. But the acting quality, eh…not anything to get all excited about.
Still, this was a good classic horror film to get together with some friends and watch, munch on popcorn and pop wisecracks as you view. It’s worth a watch, just for that kind of entertainment alone.