Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of Horror-Day 6: Children of the Corn (1984)

(dir. Fritz Kiersch )

    Children of the Corn isn’t a particularly well-crafted horror film, and yet I find it to be extremely likable, a film that is powered by its 80s cheesiness and compelling concept. On their way through Nebraska, Vicky and Burt find themselves stranded in the town of Gatlin. There are no adults in Gatlin, only children led by the child-preacher Isaac, a prophet for an entity known as He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Vicky and Burt must avoid becoming sacrifices at the hands religiously devoted children. The story, as presented here, is a much milder version of Stephen King’s original short story, complete with a couple of cute, helpful kids, and some easily defeatable threats of danger. It’s an odd mashup of a family friendly film and a dark commentary on religion. 

     It takes a while for the film to really get going, and the story feels like it’s spinning its wheels at points. But it is Courtney Gains and John Franklin as Malachai and Isaac respectively, who keep the film from becoming dull. It is really their wonderfully over-the-top performances that has kept the film within our popular culture.

Scare Factor: 1/5 The concept is indeed creepy, though its execution here is often more fit for laughs. Still, it’s an appropriately themed Halloween film and given the right mood it’s an enjoyable one at that. For a genuinely frightening take on the story, check out Stephen King’s original short story, available in his first short story collection, Night Shift.

**Available to watch on Netflix Instant 

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