CULT CORNER: With Stephen King resurgence, ‘Children of the Corn’ is worth another watch
Stephen King is far more than just an author – he is a brand, and that brand is synonymous with horror. He has been experiencing a bit of a resurgence as of late with the popularity of the “It” remake, along with talks of remakes of his other stories. It is one thing to have a movie based upon a story you wrote, but many of the movies based on his works are considered classics in the horror genre.
While King himself may not be happy with the adaptations of some of these stories, they have gotten him more notoriety and fame. Another interesting aspect of the movies based on his work is that many are from short stories as opposed to novels. One such short story that was adapted into a feature-length film is “Children of the Corn,” which appeared in a collection of his short stories called “Night Shift.” This collection contains several other short stories that became movies as well.
“Children of the Corn” was originally released in 1984 and was a moderate success at the time. The attachment of Stephen King’s name helped take the film towards a more successful box office run than it may have had otherwise done on its own. However, over the years, many King devotees still hold “Children of the Corn” in their Top 10 King adaptations, and with good reason.
The film is set in Gatlin, Nebraska, a rural area surrounded by cornfields. The film begins with 12-year-old Isaac leading an uprising of all the children to overthrow and murder all of the town’s adults. Three years later, Burt and his girlfriend Vicky (Lind Hamilton) are traveling through Nebraska on their way to Seattle. On their way, they hit a boy with their car, only to find he had been killed prior to the accident. They head towards Gatlin for answers, but what they find is not what they were looking for or expected.
The religious tones are heavy throughout, with many not-so-subtle statements about organized religion. However, it does not detract from the film and, while it may seem a bit dated, it is still a great movie. “Children of the Corn” spawned many sequels and even a remake, but none ever lived up to the power of the original.
Gore hounds may want to look elsewhere, as this is not a horror film that is heavy on blood. Not that there isn’t any shed, but this is a movie more about atmosphere than gore.
Is it worth seeing? This may be a film many are familiar with, as it has long been in Halloween film rotation for many TV networks. However, if you have not seen it ever or in quite some time, it certainly deserves a rewatch, and Arrow Video’s newly released Blu-ray is the version to see. The brand new 2k restoration gives the film a clean and bright look that has not been seen in any other version.
Also, this is the perfect time of year to revisit this classic horror film. While it may not be for everyone, it will always be a movie that many horror lovers and outlanders will want to own.