Movie Review: Children of the Corn (1984)

Children of the Corn is one of those great early 80’s horror films. Never mind the fact that it has all the makings of a television movie or melodramatic acting. There’s something about it that stuck with me and it has continued to do so over the years. What’s not to like about a cult of children who worship “he who walks behind the rows?” I know, right?

The film starts off when all the children in town (save a few who aren’t in on things) kill all the adults. It’s a pretty intense scene though gorehounds will be disappointed. All the kills in this movie are pretty much off scene (see my comment about this being a glorified television movie above). It’s for the best because the ones that do take place on screen are so terrible that only a child would be fooled (like I was when I saw it for the first time, peeking between my fingers as a kid). A laceration by a hand scythe in Children of the Corn = A line of fake blood across the affected area. It honestly adds a great deal of “so bad it’s good” camp to the film, which is all the more endearing because it’s not intentional.

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Linda Hamilton and beau are lost on their way across country and end up in Gatlin, three years after the events in the beginning of the film. They cross the young preacher, Isaac and his right hand man Malachi and things go south. Stupid decisions are made, she gets captured, more bad decisions are made, and the plot really spirals downhill into a mix of chase scenes and terrible special effects. I know all of this sounds awful, but like I said, the film has an affable quality about it that you just can’t deny. Beyond that, the setting is spectacular. The abandoned town of Gatlin is genuinely creepy and let’s be honest, who isn’t a little creeped out by an abandoned town?

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Children of the Corn is one of those films that has stood the test of time, warts and all, but a lot of that has to do with the source material. It’s based on a Stephen King short story, and though it’s watered down a great deal (there’s no happy ending in the story….not even close), the bones of Children of the Corn are strong… and in the end that’s what holds it up.

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