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Children of the Corn

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Children of the Corn

Starring: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton
Director: Fritz Kiersch
Rated: R
RunTime: 93 Minutes
Release Date: May 1984
Genre: Horror

*Also starring: R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Andrew Hicks review follows movie review
2.  Ken read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Andrew Hicks
1 star out of 4

Corn is the operative word here, in one of the many truly awful movie versions of Stephen King literature. This time, a thirty page story is turned into a full-blown movie that fits right in with the very worst slasher flicks of the 80's. Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton (I can only assume she did this movie right before THE TERMINATOR) play a married couple innocently driving through Nebraska when they hit a kid who stumbles onto the road.

But this isn't just your average, ordinary, everyday roadkill accident. "Look at his throat. It's been slit. He was dead before we hit him." (So he was dead when he walked onto the road? Talk about your dead kid walking.) They take the kid to the nearest town, a charming but empty place called Gatling. Peter and Linda wander around the town and into an abandoned house ("There's something not quite right about this place.") before doing the logical thing -- logical only in a horror movie, that is -- splitting up. That way, when Linda hears a noise downstairs, she can walk slowly dowt a dozen times in the slasher tradition, "Bert, is that you? ...Bert? ...Ernie? ...Big Bird?"

At least in the King story, the mystery of the town wasn't given away in the opening scene. There was at least a little suspense in the written version, but in the CHILDREN OF THE CORN movie, we know all along just what Peter and Linda are getting into. Gatling is inhabited by a bunch of kids who killed all the adults on orders from their resident prophet, Isaac, the only supernatural thing about him, from what I can tell, being that he sounds like he's on helium.

This movie, like many others in the 80's, carries a strong religious bias, with the crazy kids all named after Bible characters (Malachi, Amos, Job, etc.) and Linda's fate eventually being to hang on a crucifix made of corn husks. It's all so absurd it can't be taken seriously for a minute, especially Peter's climactic speech about how blind they all are for following Isaac the "holy roller." According to Peter, "any religion not based on love and compassion is false!"

Interestingly enough, this speech comes after the corn monster (He Who Walks Behind the Rows) swallows a couple kids up. Even though it's obvious there is some supernatural basis for the kids' behavior, the screenwriter still decided to have the adult hero chew the kids out for their behavior. In reality, it's everyone involved with this movie and the two sequels that should be chewed out -- at the least. If it were up to me, I'd hang them all up on corn husk crucifixes.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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