October 2017


Children Of The Corn
Arrow Films/MVD
Blu-ray Review By: Jaime Pina

Released as part of the avalanche of 80’s Stephen King film adaptations, his name was box office gold but didn’t always translate into great movie fare. There were some real winners like Creepshow, The Dead Zone and Stand By Me, but mostly there were some real losers and a couple of real head scratchers. While King supporters disliked Kubrick’s The Shining, others think of it as a great film. Some are universally reviled like the King directed Maximum Overdrive, the ridiculous The Lawnmower Man and The Running Man. Other films are sort of stuck in the middle. Children Of The Corn fits into this category. While not a great film as its lean plot is taken from a short story, it is not quite the disaster it could have been.

Peter Horton (Thirtysomething, Amazon Women On The Moon) and Linda Hamilton (The Terminator, Beauty And The Beast) star as a couple travelling through rural Nebraska by car. During a conversation they hit a young boy who wandered onto the road. They search for help but only get a warning from R.G. Armstrong (Ride The High Country, The Beast Within) to avoid the town of Gatlin and head to a town further away. Confused by road signs, they decide to head into Gatlin anyway and discover that it has been taken over by a killer religious sect. Combining elements of the Star Trek episode “Miri”, Herschel Gordon Lewis’ 2000 Maniacs!, Village Of The Damned and the British shocker The Wicker Man, the film works mostly due to the charming couple Horton and Hamilton appear to be onscreen. In the hands of a different director, some script revisions and a bigger budget, the film’s far out premise might have been something especially spooky but it turns out to be a by the numbers King adaptation with a few thrills and a run of the mill ending. Looking back at it in hindsight, for a low budget production it’s a pretty twisted little thriller and worth a fresh look.

Getting all that out of the way, the film does have its fans. It has spawned a remake and 9 sequels so the fans of this first installment will be ecstatic that the Blu-ray release of this film was entrusted to Arrow Films. The film looks and sounds great and the film score by Jonathan Elias is highly effective. The extras include two commentaries and an excellent retrospective documentary featuring John Franklin (Isaac) and Courtney Gains (Malachai) plus an interview with Linda Hamilton. Also of interest to hardcore fans is the inclusion of a short film titled Disciples Of The Crow. Shot a year before Children Of The Corn, it’s almost a blueprint for the first third of its feature length counterpart. In many ways it is much more effective than the feature film as well.

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