Since today is Halloween let's turn our attention to a movie that scared the crap out of me as a kid. There is no doubt that Stephen King is one of the best and most prolific horror writers of all time. The guy is a machine at turning out classic stories of suspense and terror. Who can forget Carrie, The Shining, or Pet Sematary? The film versions of his books are friggin' amazing, (for the most part, anyway). But, of course, they can't all be winners. Such is Children of the Corn, a fun, goofy but not really very good slasher flick. What both King and the filmmakers know is that there is nothing on He Who Walks Behind The Rows' green Earth scarier than evil creepy kids.
Children of the Corn tells the tale of what happens when children form a death cult. After a bad corn harvest the kids of Gatlin, Nebraska take it upon themselves to ensure that the following year's crops would be bountiful. They do this by sacrificing all of the adults to a weird "god" called He Who Walks Behind The Rows. Led by a nightmarish Amish-looking child preacher named Isaac and his psychotic ginger sidekick Malachi, the kids serve up any adults that come by the town to their evil god. This is exactly what they try to do when a couple, (Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton), accidentally hits one of the kids and stops in the town. Isaac orders Linda to be sacrificed. I'm not sure what makes Linda Hamilton so killable to sociopaths like Isaac and the Terminator but it must be something. Malachi leads an uprising in which Isaac is sacrificed in Linda's place. But then, oops, Isaac comes back as He Who Walks Behind The Rows and kills Malachi. Tee hee. Linda and Peter eventually set fire to the corn field killing He Who Walks Behind The Rows...or did they? Dum! Dum! Dum!
Part of the problem is that it was based not on a fully fleshed out novel but on a short story. So, the material wasn't as rich a source for the screenplay as one of his full length books. But even that could have worked if they had stuck with the original script Stephen King wrote. What they did instead was get some hack to rework the script in order to put in more gratuitous violence. A story about the dangers of blindly following leaders and supernatural suspense becomes a standard slasher flick. Still, they must have done something right because they made seven sequels. Seven. Wrap your head around that.