Children of the Corn (1984)

The next film in the EYG Halloween Horror Bingefest is the 1984 cult classic, Children of the Corn, from Stephen King. Like many other films that reach cult film classic level, this film is not very good. However, I have to say that I enjoyed watching it this morning despite its many (many) flaws. I just do not think that I enjoyed this in the manner that they had intended.

Newly minted doctor Burt (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend Vicky (Linda Hamilton) are driving to their new lives when a young boy appeared in the road before them. The boy is struck by the car and dies, but Dr. Burt discovered that the boy’s throat had already been slit.

The couple drives into the small town of Gatlin to try to call for help, only to discover that the adults of the town were missing and that the town had been overtaken by a crazed religious cult of the children, lead by the weird sounding Isaac (John Franklin).

The cult was beginning their latest sacrifice to their lord and they wanted to add the “Outlanders” to the bill.

Though the beginning of the film started out well, the last half or so really stretched credibility and descended into silliness and campy behavior. Honestly, I am not sure what was happening at the end as monsters began appearing, despite very little groundwork being laid for this result. Characters and their choices felt inconsistent and seemed to change whenever the plot needed it to.

The acting was, at best, poor. The problem with having such a large cast of children involved is that you risk the danger of bringing wooden performances and, sadly, that is what happened here. I don’t fault them, because they are clearly trying their best, but there are not any standout future stars among the child actors here.

Linda Hamilton is here, bringing her own reputation to the film, but her character is not much more than a female stereotype of the time. She was a woman in need of rescue and even the young kid Job (Robby Kiger, who would play Patrick in the Monster Squad) got to be more heroic. It was a definite sign of the times.

There were some interesting ideas that were barely touched upon, such as Job’s sister Sarah (Anne Marie McEvoy) and her ability to see the future by drawing it. This power was just touched upon and was not important in the finale at all.

Still, I was entertained by the silliness. It feels like a B movie that is not to be taken seriously and in that vein, this works. If you are really looking for good character work or a comprehensive and understandable story, this does not work.

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