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- "The Lord has chosen me as the bringer of His word and the giver of His laws! Disobedience to me is disobedience to Him!"
- ―Isaac Chroner
|Children of the Corn|
|Title:||Children of the Corn|
|Directed by:||Fritz Kiersch|
|Written by:||George Goldsmith|
|Produced by:||Earl A. Glick; Charles Weber; Terrence Kirby; Donald P. Borchers|
|Music by:||Jonathan Elias|
|Edited by:||Harry Keramidas|
|Distributed by:||New World Pictures|
|Released:||March 9th, 1984|
|Running time:||92 min.|
|Next:||Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)|
Children of the Corn is an American horror film of the supernatural thriller and cult subgenre. It is based on the short story of the same name by author Stephen King, which first appeared in the March, 1977 issue of Penthouse magazine. The story was later reprinted in Stephen King's Nightshift collection. The film was directed by Fritz Kiersch and written by George Goldsmith. It was produced by New World Pictures and premiered in the United States on March 9th, 1984. The movie stars Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton as the protagonists Burt and Vicky and features an ensemble cast of villains played by John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Julie Maddalena and many more. The film was followed by a 1992 sequel entitled Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Three years ago in the Podunk town of Gatlin, Nebraska: Local preacher Isaac Chroner convinces the town’s children that the adults of the community ain’t worth a shit and they should go off and kill them all. On a Sunday morning while everyone is in church, Isaac and his boys take their positions. They wait until church lets out and then systematically slaughter every single adult.
Three years later we meet Burton Stanton and his wife (girlfriend?) Vicky. Burt’s a doctor who has just busted his ass to get an internship at a big city hospital. It also happens to be his birthday. His wife Vicky (Linda Hamilton) wakes him up and does some silly ass song and dance routine. Then they hop in their car and head off to the city.
In Gatlin, there’s a kid named Joseph who has had enough of listening to preacher Isaac’s bullshit and wants to blow town. His young friends Job and Sarah try to talk him out of it. Mostly because Isaac’s numero uno enforcer Malachai is a buck-toothed horse-faced angry little S.O.B. and he don’t mind taking out his aggression on some little hick kid by way of a machete. But Joseph says, “To hell with that!” and heads out through the cornfields. Horse boy discovers Joseph’s betrayal and takes off after him. Just before Joseph can get to the highway, Malachai slices the kid’s throat with a machete. Joseph is dying but manages to stumble out into the middle of the road. Not the best of moves all things considered. No sooner does he take two steps then Burt plows him over with his car. Burt and Vicky are already frustrated because they’ve been driving through endless miles of nothing but corn. And now some stupid-ass dead kid has to waddle his bleeding ass out onto the highway and cock up everybody’s afternoon.
Naturally Burt stops to check the kid out. He quickly realizes that something isn’t kosher here and he loads the kid and his suitcase into the trunk of their car. They begin driving around desperate to find someplace that may have a telephone to call the police.
Later on, Malachi goes to the house formerly occupied by Job and Sarah’s parents. He finds the kids playing Monopoly and playing records –two things that are forbidden by Isaac’s cult (Don’t ask me where they get the electricity to run the damn thing). Malachai takes the kids to Isaac who maintains his little revival in the middle of a cornfield. Mal doesn’t care for Job and Sarah to begin with because he recognizes that they are unbelievers. Now Isaac is a little midget preacher dude with a squeaky little bitch voice who squawks on about how he is the messenger for their God, He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows (whom I shall refer to as HWWBTR for the sake of brevity. Christ …even the acronym is too friggin' long. I’ll just call him HW. Y’all know who I’m talking about). Anyway, HW is the type of devil-god sort of dude who forbids anything that could possibly be construed as fun. Through Isaac, he had the Gatlin children destroy all of the TVs and stereos in town. Anyway, Isaac forgives Sarah’s transgression because she has the gift of sight. Sarah has visions of the future and translates that power through her little crayon drawings. Crayon drawings are likewise against the law. But Isaac listens to Sarah’s prophecies and then tells the rest of the kids that HW gave him the visions.
Meanwhile, Burt and Vicky are still driving around aimlessly. They come upon a gas station run by some old crusty dude. Now the only reason this guy is even alive, is because Isaac’s cult needs someone to misdirect any curious passerby who may wander into town. Burt wants to use the old man’s phone but he doesn’t have one. The mechanic’s dog Sarge sniffs something funky in the air and tears ass into the cornfields. The mechanic tries to call him back but it doesn’t do any good. Burt and Vicky soon leave. Malachai and the others kill Sarge and then ambush the old dude in his garage. They think he betrayed them, even though he didn’t. They kill him with a bunch of farming equipment. Burt and Vicky continue driving around lost.
Isaac learns of the fate of Joseph and warns the cult that HW is displeased because a proper offering was not given. He tells the cult that two adult interlopers will soon be coming to the town. They’re presence is a sign of HW’s displeasure and they are being sent to Gatlin as a test. Here we see the rotted corpse of a police officer named Hodgkins tied up to a crucifix made of corn. They refer to the dead cop as the Blue Man.
Burt and Vicky finally arrive in Gatlin and begin scooping out the town. Every place in town is overrun with leaves of rotted corn husks. They find Hansen’s diner, which has been overrun by rats. A group of kids try stealing Burt’s car, but he chases them off. They drive around town for a bit until they come upon a farmhouse. Entering the house, they find little Sarah. Vicky asks Sarah where her parents are and she tells them they are in the cornfield. Presumably, that’s where all of the adults are buried. Burt leaves Vicky with Sarah and goes off to explore the town. He goes to City Hall, which looks pretty much like the rest of the town. His Spidey-danger sense goes off and he races back to the farmhouse suspecting that Vicky may be in trouble. Well, he happens to be right. Malachai and a few of his brood track down the “interloper” and kidnap Vicky. They bring her back to Isaac’s clearing and string her up to one of those silly looking corn crosses. Burt asks Sarah what has happened to Vicky, but she is too scared to be of any use.
Burt continues searching the town until he hears the bells of a nearby church. Inspecting the church, he finds a group of kids celebrating the birthday of a guy named Amos. But this birthday party doesn’t come with cake, clowns or balloons. In Gatlin, once you reach the age of 19, you are sacrificed to He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows. Some weirdo cult priestess named Rachel begins drinking a cup or Amos’ blood when Burt busts in there. Pissed off all to Hell, he disrupts the ritual and tells the kids how stupid they are. Rachel spins around and plants a corncob knife into his shoulder. The other churchgoers begin to descend upon him, but Burt runs from the church. As he’s running around he meets Job, Sarah’s brother. Job hides Burt in the cellar of his father’s home giving Burt enough time to dress his wounds.
Back in the corn, Malachai suggests that they release Vicky and use her as bait to get Burt. Isaac is adamant that such an action would be a sacrilege. Malachai is pretty much tired of playing second fiddle to a guy who is half his height. He finds that Isaac has become weak and no longer pursues the cult’s goals as aggressively as he once did. He pushes Isaac to the ground and orders Vicky to be let down. He has Isaac propped up on the cross in her place. HW makes his invisible presence known by sending a charge of mystical energy up Isaac’s body and blasting the little ankle-biter a mile into the sky. Grabbing Vicky by the arm, Malachai goes into town and begins shouting for Burt. A bunch of Malachai’s goons find him and chase him all over the abandoned streets. He eventually doubles around backward through the fields and winds up at the ceremony where the kids plan to offer Amos up as a sacrifice to their god. He gets into a fight with Malachai and beats the living shit out of him. Wrestling him to the ground, he starts slapping the crap out of him until the horse-faced boy is nearly in tears. But at that moment, Isaac is resurrected and it becomes quite clear that he is possessed by He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows. Isaac grabs Malachai about the neck with one hand and crushes his throat. Burt uses this incident as a chance to run away.
By now, HW is showing everyone that he is pretty pissed off that these little hicks can’t kill two simple outlanders. The clouds grow dark and ominous and hurricane force winds begin ripping through the fields. Burt grabs Vicky and meets back up at the cellar with Job and Sarah. Job explains to him that the Blue Man was once a police officer who tried to stop Isaac. His plan was to link some connecting hoses from an alcohol distillery to the irrigation plant for the fields and burn the fields down. But Malachai killed him before he got the chance. Burt decides to finish the job that Officer Hodgkins started.
As the wind is whipping around everyone, Burt and Job reconnect some fire hoses from the distillery tanks to the sprinkler networks out in the cornfields. They don’t have much time though because a big red cloud of smoke is looming over the horizon. HW begins tunneling through the fields looking to stop Burt and Job. They make all the necessary connections and begin dousing the cornfields in sour mash. Burt makes a Molotov cocktail and chucks it into the field setting the whole thing on fire. Apparently fire is the only thing that will really piss HW off. There is a huge explosion in the middle of the field and a column of mystical flame arcs its way straight up into the night. It coalesces into a demonic looking visage and then disappears. The fields are destroyed and the presence of He-Who-Walks-Behind-The-Rows has disappeared. Presumably, he took Isaac and Malachai with him.
Burt and Vicky decide to adopt Job and Sarah and the group decides to go to the town of Hemmingford, some twenty miles away. As a last little bit of excitement, that freaky priestess chick Rachel is hiding inside Burt’s car. She tries to stab him again, but Burt slams the door in her face knocking her out. Rather than take the car, the group decides to walk to Hemmingford instead.
Cast[edit | edit source]
|Peter Horton||Burt Robeson|
|John Franklin||Isaac Chroner|
|Anne Marie McEvoy||Sarah|
|D.G. Johnson||Mister Hansen|
|Patrick Boylan||Hansen's customer|
|Elmer Soderstrom||Hansen's customer|
|Teresa Toigo||Hansen's customer|
|Mitch Carter||Radio preacher (voice)|
Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Alternatively known as Stephen King's Children of the Corn.
- The tagline for this film is, "And a child shall lead them...".
- Production on Children of the Corn began in September of 1983. Principal filming concluded in October. The movie was filmed in Hornick, Salix, Whiting and Sioux City, Iowa.
- References are made to the nearby town of Hemmingford in this film, which is the main setting of the sequel, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice. The town of Gatlin is briefly revisited in the second sequel film, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest.
- Director Fritz Kiersch also directed two episodes of the 1990 Swamp Thing television series. He directed the pilot episode, "The Emerald Heart", as well as the season one episode "Falco".
- The first scene in the movie takes place three years prior to the main events of the film despite the fact that Job does not look as if he's aged appropriately for such a long stretch of time.
- The song that Vicki sings to Burt in the motel room is "School Is Out" by Frank Guida.
- The first character seen in the movie is Reverend Timothy Case. The actor who plays him is unknown and uncredited.
See also[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
This article relates to the films within the Children of the Corn franchise. This template will categorize articles that include it into the Children of the Corn films category.