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Children Of The Corn (DVD)

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Genre: Horror / Theatrical Release: 1984 / Director: Fritz Kiersch / Actors: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton ... / DVD released 16 October, 2000 at Cinema Club / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen

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    8 Reviews
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      14.10.2008 21:30
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      An adult nightmare.

      Children of the Corn is a horror film adapted from the short story by Stephen King. It was made in 1984 and stars Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton and John Franklin as Isaac, the child preacher.

      A young couple find a briefcase with blood on it so drive into what seems like a normal mid-western town called Gatlin to try and report the incident to the police, but find only children and no adults to be found. They try to find out what happened in this town, but as Burton heads to the town hall, his girlfriend, Vicky, is captured and brought to Isaac, the head of all the children. He says he is spoken to by 'he who walks behind the rows', meaning the rows of corn, and has brainwashed everyone into doing and believing whatever he says. Fortunately, there is a brother and sister who want out of this murderous cult, and so help Brandon get Vicky back, as well as trying to stop the brutal regime of the Children of the Corn.

      I happen to be a big fan of King adaptions, and I think this is up there with the best of them, along with "The Shining", "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Salem's Lot". The town and the houses in it are messy, dusty and falling apart, a great place for a horror film. There isn't much music on the score, which is good as with this kind of film you want to be right there with the characters as they experience each terrifying moment, it makes the film scarier. Which is why there is a lot of silence, as well as the occasional gust of wind blowing through the town.

      The acting is very good, even by adult standards. Kids in films usually aren't that good, they just haven't had the time to hone their acting skills and are still new to this career, but these kids are the exception. They're angry, murderous and are willing to do anything for Isaac. Isaac himself is very menacing, he has great presence for such a young actor, and has confidence to really get into his character and to boss and order people around. The other star for me is Courtney Gains as Malachi. Clearly there is a power struggle going on between him and Isaac, with people taking sides and in the end Malachi wins, that's what often happens with these kinds of societies, there will always be someone who thinks they will be a better leader and will find people willing to fight for them. In contrast, Sarah and Job are sweet and helpful, caught up in a situation they can't get out of. They are more like kids than the rest of them put together, just wanting to have a nice, peaceful life.

      Overall a good, solid horror film with some chilling moments. Well worth watching for any horror fan, four stars!

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        10.02.2008 23:25
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        a great horror

        The children of the corn films originated from a short story by steven king.

        The prairie lands of nebraska were very dry and drought striken, even the corn crops had failed to grow there.
        The people who live there pray for a break in the hot dry weather, they long for rain. A young preacher moves to the tiny sleepy town of gatlin claiming to have a message for the children, according to him only human blood will restore there crops and bring rain.
        So one sunday all the children obey the preacher and kill there parents

        3 years later a young couple get lost and end up on a road near to gatlin, after hitting a child who stumbles into the road after already having had his throat cut they travel to gatlin as it is closest to alert the police to there findings but find all the adults have gone and find them selves in a battle to stay alive.

        This for me was the first in a series of good horrors that had me hooked right from the start.

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        20.01.2005 11:36
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        I never cease to be amazed that one short story, that took me less than an hour to read, could spawn not one but six feature length films. And yet this is the case with Children of the Corn, a short story by Stephen King. This is the first of the six, and first hit the big screens in 1984.

        ~~~The Storyline~~~

        The children of Gatlin, Nebraska have a new god.........
        A cruel and hungry god, that will only be appeased by human blood. So it is that one day the children unite under the leadership of the child preacher Isaac and his bloodthirsty henchman Malachai, to turn on and massacre all the adults in the town.

        Three years later and a young couple have stumbled into the now apparently deserted town......................


        ~~~Cast Performances~~~

        On the whole I found the cast performance wooden, and the characterisations just did not have that special something, that draws you into the film. There was however one exception, that is John Franklin as the supremely creepy Isaac.

        ~~~Special Effects~~~

        Were there any? No, I'm serious, by today's standards the film was very low tech and the peak of the effects was a very obviously fake red sky.

        ~~~The Score~~~

        x+y=z
        In other words, there is a formula to the score used in horror movies, and this is no exception. As the “tension” (ha) gradually increases, so does the volume of the music, until it peaks as we get to the “scary” (ha ha ha) bits. Not only this but I found the actual music, intrusive and annoying.

        ~~~A Good Adaptation~~~

        In a word, NO. The film veers too far from the original story to be even considered a reasonable adaptation. I won't go into the detail of the differences, just in case you actually decide you want to watch the film, but just where did Sarah and Job come from?

        ~~~Fear Factor~~~

        OK, I'll admit it, when I first watched this film, aged 14 (yes I know, rating), In was scared sh*tless. But having read the actual story on which it is based, and grown up considerably, I find it severely lacking in the crucial fear factor.

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        OK so now you know what I think about the film, how about the DVD itself.

        ~~~Picture Quality~~~

        Now, this is a relatively old film, and it shows. Although mostly clear, when viewed on a standard 28” television, the picture quality deteriorates somewhat in the darker scenes, when it becomes quite grainy.
        However, because this is a DVD, the picture quality will not deteriorate any further through repeated viewing.

        ~~~Sound Quality~~~

        While perfectly clear, the sound was only in mono. It would have been far more effective in Dolby 5.1 or even stereo.

        ~~~The Extras~~~

        Well to say the extras are sparse would be a bit of an understatement. There is a grand total of one special feature : A useless theatrical trailer.
        So, if you're hoping to get any added value from the “special” features, you're in for a disappointment.

        ~~~The Actual DVD~~~

        I've been struggling to find at least one thing nice to say about this DVD, and I've finally found one. The actual printing on the DVD is pretty cool, with a black scythe on a background of blood red corn.

        ~~~The Technical Bits~~~

        Region : 2
        Rating : 18
        Running time : 88mins
        Video aspect ratio : 19:9 Anamorphic
        Soundtrack : English Mono
        Subtitles : None

        ~~~Prices and Availability~~~

        This DVD is available from Amazon marketplace starting from £2.39. There is however a newer version available for £22.49, which not only features 5.1 sound, but actually has a number of extras.

        If you wish to read the story on which it is, very loosely, based, then it is available in the book Night Shift, which can be bought at Amazon for £6.39.

        ~~~Final Words~~~

        OK, while I can't actually recommend this film, someone must have liked it, as there was not one, but five sequels.
        Personally I found the actual story much more subtle and scary than the film. So my advice is to forget this film, grab a copy of Night Shift, and read what Mr King actually wrote about the children of Gatlin and their god.


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          23.03.2002 16:44
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          Burt and Vickie(Linda Hamilton) are on there way to start a new life. Burt has got a new job as a doctor and is looking foward to starting. However on the way they get lost and stop in a town called Gatlin. Years before all the children in the town killed all the parents to nourish the corn fields, they were lead by Issac and Malachai, who now run the town. The children aren't allowed to have fun and follow he who walks behind the rows, their corn god. However Sarah can see into the future and her and her brother Job want to leave the town. When the couple arrive in Gatlin they meet Sarah and Job. Burt goes to find help and leaves Vickie with Sarah. However the children come and kidnapped her and hang her on a cross to sacrifice. Burt must now save her and stop the children before its too late. I really like this film I got hooked on it after seeing the beginning sequence where the children massacre the adults in a restaurant. The children in it are scary and the film is reasonably well acted. However there are some bits that are unintentionally funny like when Issac comes back from the dead and the corn monster effects are rather dated. The film isn't really gory but it is still good. The plot moves at a good pace and Job's comments are quite funny. This film is often seen as crappy but it was one of the first horror films I saw so it has fond memories. I would reccommend it.

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          18.12.2001 23:56
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          Picture the scene: you are driving with your wife on a trip to...well, you forget where but it doesn’t matter. For the sheer hell of it you decide to take to the scenic backroads, driving through the endless expanse of corn fields which adorn the sides of the road and enjoying the balmy summer day...when out stumbles a kid into the road and you run him flat. Could ruin a perfect afternoon drive couldn’t it? Jumping out of the car your day gets a little worse when you discover that his throat was slashed from ear to ear before your car hit him and that by wandering into the nearest town you have thrown yourself into a whole heap of trouble. You discover that the town’s adult population have been slaughtered by their own children who now run the town following a pint-sized religious nutter called Isaac who is aided in the task of keeping violent order by his right-hand thug Malachi. Being adults, you are next on the list of those to be slaughtered for your invasion and your day in now well and truly ruined...and there is something evil lurking in the corn as well... Such is the premise behind Children of the Corn. This movie wouldn’t be the first atrocity carried out in the name of translating a Stephen King novel to the big screen and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It is a little infeasible to try to turn a 30 odd page short story into a full blown movie and then expect it to work, especially when the director takes out the story’s main point in case it offends someone...which of course it would have done, but then don’t make the movie if you can’t handle the heat. At some point in the written version of the story Peter bursts into the town's church and is confronted with a statue of a crucified Jesus made with corn, and complete with satanic grin and razor sharp teeth. King had a point in putting this in his story, a pretty damn obvious one and one which was basically the entire p
          oint of the story but the director shuffles the whole image into a blurred background to prevent an undoubted revolt from the US's Bible belt. With the story having lost its point there is little left but a ludicrous monster in the corn and a bunch of murderous kids running around in yet another cheap slasher movie. Where this movie become perfectly watchable is solely in the aspect of having children playing murderous psychopaths completely under the brainwashing power of a self proclaimed prophet. Its almost spellbinding, or at least could have been were it not for the ‘thing’ in the corn('He Who Walks Behind The Rows') and the lame script, special effects and acting performances from all involved. Peter Horton and a pre-Terminator Linda Hamilton try to keep a straight face through laughable dialogue and some even more laughable set pieces and the rest are children whose names escape me, but all but head bible-bashing nutter Isaac and mean-ass psycho Malachi are really there just to make up the numbers. These two play their characatured parts to the best of their abilities, which isn’t that much, but they are passable. The ideas themselves are at least captivating and something to ponder upon...well they created a discussion here, but I guess we are a little odd. If you think about it there is a fair amount of social comment being passed here, the movie never comments on it at all, but simply raises the questions...perhaps the director didn’t even realise they were there? Interesting nonetheless. The acting here is quite lame and you are asked to swallow an enormous amount of disbelief at the plot and the character’s handling of that plot. For example, imagine you are a in a town full of psychopaths with your wife...ok, you don’t know its full of psychopaths yet, but you have just run over a child who you have established already had his throat slit before you hit him, so its fair to assum
          e something ain’t quite right. The first thing you would do when finding it seemingly deserted is of course is to split up, leaving your wife to roam around this town unprotected...that’s the kind of thing I mean. Of course, while doing this, both you and her will not even attempt to arm yourself with anything, be it gun, sharp pointy thing or even one of granny’s rock cakes because obviously the psycho’s are going to come at you looking for a pillow fight. Later you find that all the adults in the Nebraskan town were slaughtered by the kids following the advice of a mad child prophet(himself under the control of something in the corn fields) so you deliver a pious, self-righteous speech about love and God in the full knowledge that they’ll realise how naughty they have been, apologise and go to their room without supper. Then you’ll find a corn monster in the corn fields and die laughing...well you as the viewer will ;oP~~ Is it good, bad, average??? Well, it depends on your outlook on this kind of movie and how easily scared you are. My girlfriend happens to think that’s it one hell of a creepy movie, whereas I’m more of the view that its badly acted, badly directed trash...although the general premise is quite creepy as are the looks in some of those kids eyes...for the most part they look like they need a good spanking though. It is trash, but it is also quite compelling viewing in a trashy viewing kind of way. Despite it being lame in many respects and rather dated now, its still a fun way to spend an hour or so, although you might find yourself getting bored with it before then end if you’re not a fan of King or the horror genre.

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            11.04.2001 21:06
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            This is a great film ! I fondly recall this from my childhood, seeing the box in the video shop and begging my mother to let me rent it. I loved the creepy pictures on the back of the sleeve, with the human scarecrows, stuffed with straw. Chilling. I finally saw it, and loved it. Recently, I threw on the video again, sure that I would be less impressed. I wasn't. 'Children of the corn' is based on a short story by Stephen King, taken from his 'NIght SHift' collection. It follows a young couple, stranded in a creepy old Southern US town, run by a tyrannical sect of murderous children who have got the old time religion, in a bad, bad way. The film starts with the couple (with Linda Hamilton as the female lead) as they acidently run over a young boy as he sprints onto the road from a huge cornfield. As they examine the corpse, they realise that his throat had been cut..... Despite being warned off by an old timer at a nearby petrol station, they decide to go for help at the town of Gatlin. Much to their chagrin...... For this town has been taken over by Isaac and his right hand man Malachai (my parents almost named me that), who led the children in a murderous revolt against the adults. Swiftly, they raise all the children against the newcomers, and attempt to sacrifice them to their beloved 'He who walks behind the rows', before they can escape and bring the authorities...... What a great plot ! There's always something unintentionally funny about crazy little kids waving scythes and praising the lord. Isaac and the main man Malachai are both played convincingly, and come across as very entertaining loonies. Hamilton, and her man (whose name, I must confess, I have forgotten) are both fine as the couple trapped in an 'adult nightmare'. The film is quite atmospheric, with the desolate town suitably barren and windswept, and the rustling cornfields are quite creepy. The film does have quite a d
            ownbeat feel to it, especially in the flashback scenes where the adults are slaughtered. I guess its not the most fast-moving of films, what with a very limited supply of potential victims, and the plot isn't exactly revelatory. However, it moves along fast enough, and its certainly entertaining, and quite tense in a few scenes. There is some action for the horror fans, some nice skeletons, and some pleasing splashes of the red stuff. The dialogue is great, with some fine crazy bible talk from Isaac and Malachai. Very entertaining. Overall, I do enjoy this film. The plot is interesting, and it has quite a unique atmosphere, especially if you find cornfields creepy. Ignore all the bad reviews, and give it a chance.

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              23.07.2000 21:51
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              How the hell did they get Linda Hamilton to star in this film? Based on a Stephen King story this film is basically about a young couple who go into a western town where all the adults are apparently dead and the children participate in a cult that worships a malevolent force in the corn fields. In fact we find out that the children murdered all the adults on orders from a young boy called Isaac who can talk to 'He that walks behind the rows'. The film isnt scary and gets very boring very fast and amazing there up to part five of the series, Ive seen the first three just to see if they get any better but they dont so I cant imagine what part five must be like. There is a directors cut floating around with a couple of minutes extra but they dont improve the film in any way or form - just makes it gorier. These scenes are:- A longer start where several other adults are killed, including a deputy whose throat is slashed and then stabbed in the chest, and a farmer who is hacked to death by a group of pick-axe wielding kids. A scene between Sarah and Job's parents before the slaughter. They talk over the breakfast table about Sarah's drawings of the upcoming massacre and how they think something awful is about to happen. Sarah's drawings are never really explained in the normal cversion of the film A scene where Burt Issac prays to He Who Walks Behind The Rows only to receive a horrific vision of his impending fate. The kid who plays Isaac is a scary looking thing as well (I think hes in part five and he wrote it too)

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              11.07.2000 10:43
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              I haven't read the Stephen King short-story this dire film was based on, and frankly don't want to, for fear of it being even half as bad as the prodigiously awful film it spawned. It is about a nice young couple who arrive in a small Nebraska farming community strangely bereft of adults. The reason for this, it emerges, is that all the children of the town - the little scamps - have hacked their mummies and daddies to death in the name of some strange neo-Biblist cult. There turns out to be something of the supernatural behind this, apparently connected to the cornfields and a rather ragged scarecrow. Apart from the more obvious flaws in the plot, the most notable being why on earth the couple would want to hang around in a small Nebraska farming community even without it being full of scythe-wielding child-maniacs, THE CHILDREN OF THE CORN fails miserably because none of the characters are remotely believable. The children, all with names like "Isaac" and "Amos" make bold, religious statements without looking as if they know what the big words mean, and the couple are monumentally stupid - even more so than stupid couples usually are in films like this. The tagline for this film when it came out was "An adult nightmare!", and it still is if you've wasted your hard-earnt £1.99 renting out the video. On the other hand it has obviously fooled enough of the world to spawn no less than five equally abysmal sequels - right up to last year's "Children of the Corn 666: Isaac Returns". Now that IS a nightmare.

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            The murder rate is as high as an elephant's eye in Children of the Corn, a flaccid adaptation of Stephen King's short story. While driving through Nebraska en route to a new job, medico Burt (Peter Horton) and his wife Vicky (a pre-Terminator Linda Hamilton) nearly run over a mutilated boy who staggers from the cornfields. Seeking help, they enter the town of Gatlin, whose under-20 residents have butchered their parents per the decree of junior-grade holy-roller Isaac (John Franklin), who preaches the word of a being called "He Who Walks Behind the Rows". King's original story (from his 1978 collection Night Shift) was a lean and brutal mélange of Southern-Gothic atmosphere and EC Comics-style gore, which scripter Greg Goldsmith effectively neutralises by adding a youthful narrator (a grating Robbie Kiger) and putting an upbeat spin on the story's morbid conclusion. Fritz Kiersch's direction is TV-movie flat, with the sole inspired moment (hideous religious iconography glimpsed during a bloody "service") delivered as a throwaway. Aside from Horton and Courtney Gains (as Isaac's hatchet man Malachai), the performances are dreadful. The depiction of the monster-God as a sort of giant gopher inspires more laughter than terror. Amazingly, the film spawned six sequels; Franklin (Cousin It in the Addams Family films) later appeared in and wrote 1999's Children of the Corn 666.--Paul Gaita, Amazon.com