There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Lately I have been covering franchises that start, contain or are related to some of my favorite films. Today we discuss a franchise that probably never should have been but somehow has spawned many sequels and has gained a cult following. The franchise, Children of the Corn and we start at the beginning with the first film.
Today’s Key Movie:
Based on a Stephen King short story of the same name, Children of the Corn follows a young couple who stumble upon a town that has been claimed by a cult of children who massacred the adults three years prior. Of course, things go from bad to worse when they discover the children are following a thing only known as ‘He Who Walks Behind The Rows’. Starring Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin and Courtney Gains, this is Children of the Corn.
Why this movie?
I was fairly young when this one came out and, unlike nearly every other horror film that my parents had no issues showing me, this one was out of the question. It would be well into my teens that I would finally see the film and the only thing I can think of is that, they didn’t want their adolescent kid joining in with ‘He Who Walks Behind The Rows’. I mean, these are parents who would let us watch The Hills Have Eyes, The Shining and even slasher films like Child’s Play, but a Stephen King film about a town filled with Kid Cult worshiping an unseen Corn Monster, well that was a bridge too far.
Years later, after becoming a hard core Stephen King fan, I finally watched this film and, while it wasn’t my favorite, it was one that certainly stuck with me. From Malachi and Isaac’s sinister leadership of the kid cult to the struggle of the few adults in the film, I could see the appeal of this film for sure, plus, by then, it had already spawned a sequel or two that, frankly, I was fine without seeing. Until now that is.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
I wouldn’t really say this one is a ‘good’ film, but it’s one worth watching for any self respecting Stephen King fan. Children of the Corn is really a pretty basic and straight forward film, kids kill the adults and form a cult, adults stumble upon the cult, inanity ensues. The thing that makes this story the most interesting is largely ignored by the film and that is the supernatural elements and ‘He Who Walks Behind The Rows’. For most of the film we are led to believe that these kids just sort of went insane but over halfway through we discover that there is a creature living in the corn field controlling these kids. That element is touched on and then promptly forgotten the moment that the protagonists escape, but it’s there and, sadly, explained away in the sequel (which we will discuss next week).
One thing I find interesting is that, when discussing this film with friends, most find the character of Malachi as the most frightening of the Corn Children. Me, on the other hand, find Isaac as the truly chilling character. This diminutive kid has the presence of a hardened religious zealot and gives off a truly uncomfortable vibe making him, in my eyes, the true antagonist of the film. Sure, Malachi commits much of the murder himself, but it is really Isaac that runs the show and they all know it.
Overall, The rest of the film is basically a slasher film with kids instead of a hockey mask wearing killer, with a slightly Pre-Terminator Linda Hamilton fighting her way out of the corn field. To say it’s ‘good’ would be an overstatement, lets just say it’s serviceable and leave it to that. In a way, Children of the Corn is to Stephen King as Hellraiser is to Clive Barker, the franchise starts out fairly well and, well, things quickly go to hell.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This is one that I highly doubt will ever go out of print. You can pick up a variety of editions here and I am sure you can find it streaming on some platform at some point.
Next week, Children of the Corn 2: The Final Sacrifice… although it is far from final.
Late To The Game 12/16/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
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