Children Of The Corn

Children Of The Corn (1984)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, He Who Walks Behind the Rows
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

I first saw ’Children of the Corn’ during that golden age in the early 80s when it was cool to see ANY R-rated horror film on HBO. Well, some sixteen years later, ’Children of the Corn’ isn’t quite as good as I thought it was back then, but it still has some effective moments.

The film is taken from a short-story by Stephen King, but bares little resemblance to the source material. ’Children of the Corn’ opens with the children of the small town of Gatlin slaughtering the adults. We then jump ahead in time and find Burt (Peter Horton) and Vicky (Linda Hamilton) traveling cross-country. After an accident, they are forced to visit Gatlin and find themselves hunted by the children of the town. The kids are commanded by cult-leader Isaac (John Franklin, who also played Cousin It in the ’Addams Family’ films!) and his religious hitman Malachai (Courtney Gains). Burt and Vicky soon learn that there is no reasoning with these religious wackos and must fight for their lives.

The first hour of ’Children of the Corn’ comes across as quite hokey, as there are too many shots of menacing corn, which is a vegetable that I’m just not scared of. The film does come to life during the third act, but it also suffers here with the appearance of ’He Who Walks Behind the Rows’, the vaguest villain in film history. Still, there are some genuinely creepy moments in the film and it’s fun to see Horton and Hamilton in this film that they’ve probably tried to forget.

’Children of the Corn’ comes to DVD courtesy of the fine folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen and is letterboxed at 1.85:1. Anchor Bay has done a great job of cleaning this film up and it looks fantastic. The image is very clear and sharp, showing only some slight grain and very little noise. The picture is bright and the colors are very rich and true.

To add to this, the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is very impressive, offering a very nice surround sound field and deep bass, which brings the explosions to life.
The only extra on the DVD is the theatrical trailer for the film, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1. Notice that Stephen King is listed as co-screenwriter in the trailer credits, but his name doesn’t appear in that credit in the finished film.

’Children of the Corn’ may not be the best example of eighties’ horror (although it’s spawned five sequels, so somebody out there loves it), but this DVD from Anchor Bay gives the film a classy look that it’s lacked in the past. Shucks, I kind of liked it.