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Horror Review: The Children of the Corn

Written by Josh Brewer, June 17th, 2017, at 3:30 a.m. Tweet to: @theJWBrewer

Title: Children of the Corn

Director: Fritz Kiersch
Writer: George Goldsmith
Based on a short story by Stephen King
Release Date: March, 9th, 1984
Cast: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin, Courtney Gaines, Anne Marie McEvoy, Robbie Kiger

Cliff’s Notes

A couple’s car breaks down in a quiet little town where the adults ain’t around and all of the kids worship corn. Yep, corn. Corn and murder. Murder corn.


The major issue I have with this puppy fall to the fact that it could be good. If it rocked some of the paranoia of King’s other work, or at least a touch of the care that went into Cujo, Children of the Corn could have stood out as a quality genre entry. Alas, this puppy falls flat in just about every way possible.

While it occasionally sneaks a little tension into the flick, Children of the Corn doesn’t manage to sustain it in the slightest. Things take forever and, while we get some okay build up, the pay off never works. What makes the whole thing worse? Well, the script is generally terrible – all of Issac’s lines could just be said memes if this puppy came out thirty years later – and the few folks who are on get zero support from their young director and lackluster story.

Not all of King’s work does well on the screen and Children of the Corn ain’t an exception. It’s hard to fathom how this puppy pushed out the better part of twelve sequels. Come on!


Horton does well, but the script works against him in every way. His back and forth with Hamilton may be the cleanest thing in this puppy. The Children of the Corn seem a little flat, though the script really does call for it. Franklin is creepy while Gaines looks the part. Especially if the part is corn-obsessed weirdo.


For a first time director, Kiersch shows some promise. He sets up some stylish wide shots and occasionally creates a little tension. Alas, the pacing of the film suffers in every way possible and someone needed to tone down the script. Too bad Kiersch didn’t do it.


While King’s story doesn’t suck, the script here does it no favors. The bland characters match up with terrible dialogue to make this puppy drag. That, plus the fact that the script couldn’t find structure if it were playing a game of Jenga, means that Children of the Corn makes for a long watch.


We get a slit throat and a few stabbings. And some blood. Oh the… humanity? Corn-anity?


The first scene works pretty well. Alas, the rest of the flick falls off.


The dialogue. The terrible terrible dialogue. Sometimes it can come off as funny. Most of the time it doesn’t.  Also, there are a limited number of corn puns you can make before everyone you know murders you.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve got some beers – okay, a ton of beers – and a few friends over, you might be able to laugh enough to make this okay. If not, skip it.

Grade: D+

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