Absolute Horror Wiki
Advertisement

ChildrenoftheCornPoster.jpg

Children of the Corn (advertised as Stephen King's Children of the Corn) is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film based upon Stephen King’s 1977 novelette of the same name. Directed by Fritz Kiersch, the film's cast consists of Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger, Anne Marie McEvoy, Julie Maddalena, and R. G. Armstrong. Set in the fictitious rural town of Gatlin, Nebraska, the film tells the story of a malevolent entity referred to as "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" which entices the town's children to ritually murder all the town's adults, and a couple driving across the country, to ensure a successful corn harvest.

King wrote the original draft of the screenplay, which focused more on the characters of Burt and Vicky and depicted more history on the uprising of the children in Gatlin. This script was disregarded in favor of George Goldsmith's screenplay, which featured more violence and a more conventional narrative structure. Filming took place mainly in Iowa, but also in California. It spawned a franchise of films, and it has gained a cult following.

Plot

The film is set in the fictional town of Gatlin, Nebraska, an agricultural community surrounded by huge cornfields. In 1980, the town appears to be neglected except for the church, and residents choose Biblical names over more modern ones. When the corn crop fails one year, the townsfolk turn to prayer to ensure a successful harvest. However, 12-year-old Isaac Chroner takes all of the children in Gatlin into the cornfields and indoctrinates them into a religious cult based around a bloodthirsty deity called “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”. Isaac and his subordinate, 18-year-old Malachai, lead the children in a revolution, murdering all of the adults (ages 19 and up, since 18-year-olds are seen as halfway between teenager and adult) in town as human sacrifices, poisoning and butchering them. Only Job and his sister Sarah, are not involved, as Sarah was sick and Job was not allowed to attend the meetings in the corn with the other children. The opening credits reveal that Sarah has visions, portrayed through the credits via drawings.

Three years later, on October 31, 1983, Vicky Baxter and her boyfriend Burt Stanton travel through rural Nebraska on their way to Seattle, where Burt will start working as a physician. Elsewhere, a young boy named Joseph tries to flee Gatlin, but is attacked in the corn; he stumbles out into the road and Burt accidentally runs him over with his car. However, Burt discovers that his throat was cut beforehand. Burt and Vicky place Joseph and his suitcase in their trunk and search for a phone to call for help. They find elderly mechanic Diehl, the last adult in Gatlin, but he refuses them service, as he has agreed to supply the children with fuel in exchange for his life. However, the merciless Malachai breaks the pact and murders him, against Isaac's wishes, when Diehl tries to steer the couple away from Gatlin.

Vicky and Burt explore the abandoned town and find Sarah alone in a house; while Vicky stays with her, Burt searches the town. Malachai and his followers appear, capture Vicky, and take her to the cornfield, where they place her on a cross to be sacrificed. Burt enters the church, where a congregation of children led by a girl named Rachel are performing a cultural birthday ritual for Amos by drinking his blood from a pentagram-shaped cut on his body. Amos has turned 19, so is considered old enough for his "passing"—joining their god in the cornfield. Burt scolds the children for participating in a blood ritual and an enraged Rachel stabs Burt then Malachai and the others chase him. Job rescues Burt and they hide in a fallout shelter with Sarah, where they learn Vicky was captured, and agree to help him rescue her.

The zealous Isaac scolds Malachai for his treachery in killing Diehl, their only source of fuel. Malachai, tired of Isaac's preaching, takes over, ordering Isaac to be sacrificed instead of Vicky. Isaac warns Malachai that sacrificing him will break their pact with He Who Walks Behind the Rows and the children will be severely punished. That night, Burt sneaks into the cornfield to rescue Vicky. During Isaac's sacrifice, a supernatural light appears and devours the screaming Isaac. Burt emerges and overpowers Malachai, pushing him to the ground, then convinces the children to abandon the cult and run for safety. Isaac suddenly reappears, revived by He Who Walks Behind the Rows. Informing Malachai that the deity is angered over him being sacrificed and that He wants Malachai sacrificed as well for his betrayal, Isaac seizes and kills the terrified Malachai by breaking his neck.

A storm appears over the cornfield, and Burt and Vicky shelter the children in a barn. Burt reads a passage in the Bible Job gives him; Job also reveals that the police officer tried to set up the gasohol to stop He Who Walks Behind The Rows, but Malachai murdered him before he could finish. Vicky rereads the passage and realizes that the cornfield must be destroyed by fire in order to stop the false god. Burt sprays the cornfield with gasohol and tosses a Molotov cocktail into the field, setting it alight and destroying the demon along with Isaac. Vicky, Burt, Job, and Sarah return to the car to leave Gatlin, but find it disabled. Rachel attacks Burt, but Vicky knocks her out with the car door. He is worried about just leaving her there, but Vicky quips that they will send her a get-well card from Seattle, and they depart with the kids.

Advertisement