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Children of the Corn (1984)

Children of the Corn poster art

One of the more middle of the road (row?) entries in King’s film oeuvre, Children of the Corn is still a mildly fun excursion into rural / cult horror. Based on King’s Night Shift story, we follow a city couple, Burt and Vicky as they get lost and stuck in the seemingly abandoned town of Gatlin in a desolate stretch of Nebraska surrounded by endless cornfields. The mystery of the book is given away in the first scene of the film where we see the titular children murder the adults of Gatlin, in service of He Who Walks Behind the Rows, a deity who resides in the cornfields.

In the book Burt is a violent POS to Vicky and his crucifixion at the end is much deserved. Here, he’s slightly less assholish, but Peter Horton has clearly been to the ‘Joe Pesci in Moonwalker’ school of method acting and isn’t afraid of roughing up them kid actors! Linda Hamilton is a much more likeable presence in her second genre film from 1984 (zero points for guessing the other much loved one).

The film gets a lot of mileage from its rustic setting - all empty streets and rustling cornfields. The children are also a creepy bunch, lead by the Amish looking Isaac and his brutal enforcer Malachai. The film misses a trick by keeping the stories gut-punch ending intact, here it just ends on a dull note of victory. So not a classic by any means but a serviceable horror that feels a bit too pulpy and bloody to be included in the hallowed halls of folk horror royalty.

Now for the 12,000 sequels....

3 scythes out of 5.

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