27 July 2010

Children Of The Corn

Adapted from a Stephen King short story and directed by Fritz Kiersch, the 1984 film of Children Of The Corn has, unfortunately, followed in the footsteps of many other mildly successful horror films and spawned sequel after sequel - an excessive quantity, and of varying quality, if truth be known.

That said, the original film is not entirely without merit, or indeed without its fair share of unpleasant scares. Some of Steve King's books have suffered far worse indignities in their journey from page to screen, but even though the movie makes some effort to remain true to the story, the movie version will quickly disappoint anyone who's read the original, no matter how hard you feel actors Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton and John Franklin are trying.

The basic plot is quite simple. The adult inhabitants of a small town, tucked away in the midst of row upon row of lush, green corn, are suddenly and brutally murdered by their children. Under the leadership of travelling boy preacher, Isaac, they begin a strange cult which worships a sinister force that inhabits the corn fields: He Who Walks Behind The Rows. This peculiar situation is discovered by a young couple, Burt and Vicki, who (in the best traditions of such films) get separated, caught, escape, find two rebel children to help them, get caught again and so on, until they finally manage, in a triumph of finest eighties special effects, to defeat the evil force and escape. There is, of course, the final surprise!-that-wasn't-really-the-end moment, but following this all is well. (Except all isn't well, of course: the sequels started to appear, culminating last year in a TV remake of the original. With any luck that'll be it, although there's always the possibility they'll all get remade, then re-remade and so on...)

Children Of The Corn was directed by Fritz Kiersch and was written by George Goldsmith, based upon a short story by Stephen King. Lasting for ninety-three minutes, the film received an R rating in the USA, and an 18 in most other countries, mainly due to the amazing number of violent deaths that occur before the credits have even finished - an entire café of adults is wiped out with surprising speed. The original (and superior) short story can be found in King's book, Night Shift, a copy of which makes a cameo appearance on the dashboard of Burt and Vicki's car.

After watching Children Of The Corn, why not enjoy (or endure?) 'Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice' (1993), 'Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest' (1995), 'Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering' (1996), 'Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror' (1998) or 'Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return' (1999), which somehow skips the intervening 659 films. But wait - we're not finished! There's the straight-to-DVD 'Children of the Corn: Revelation' (2001), and finally the 2009 TV remake. Whew!

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