Stephen King - whether you're a fan of his literary style or not - you have to admit, the guy certainly has a way with words. And if he could direct? James Cameron, David Fincher... yes, even Steven Spielberg - they could all have been left in the wake of arguably the greatest novelist of the modern era. If only he could direct. Alas, Mr. King's forte is not behind the camera... but give him a pen, and the prose that appears can weave a story with the ability to transport you to magical places. Sometimes, of course, these places are less magical and more... evil."Cross Your Heart, Hope To Die, Stick A Needle In Your Eye.”
Children Of The Corn inhabits that second area and reminds me of The Pied Piper Of Hamelin story, but turned it on its head so it's the adults that disappear. Mix in a religious twist and you get the kind of idea behind Stephen King's short story - from which this movie spawned. Come to think of it there is another difference when the movie is compared to that Pied Piper legend - I don't remember anyone there being hacked to death with scythes, or fingers being sliced to the knuckle by a meat slicer. No, these, and other similarly oppressive images, only reside here in the movie. Plot time...”There's Something Very Strange About This Town.”
Vicky (Linda Hamilton) and her commitment-fearing partner, Burton Stanton (Peter Horton), are travelling across America, when they're forced to make a stop in Gatlin, a tiny town surrounded by nothing but fields of corn. Finding the town deserted, save for a group of strange and intense youngsters, the couple - rather predictably - end up being separated... and in danger. For the young people of Gatlin are decidedly strange, having already rid the town of all adult inhabitants... Fathers, Mothers, Grandmothers... they're all dead.
”Are We Safe?”
Children Of The Corn's roots are clear for all to see - this is a low-budget movie, and despite a certain charm, (if a horror movie is deserving of such a word), its made-for-TV style ultimately left me feeling... well, like I'd watched a made-for-TV movie! Linda Hamilton seems like she's clean out of drama school, and Peter Horton - try as he might - just doesn't quite have enough stage presence to do his character justice. And the kids? A Haley Joel Osment could have, perhaps, improved things... but we're left with no more than Gary Coleman-type talent (sorry Gary!). You want Special Effects? Corn has them, and they're enjoyably useless! I just loved the way the couple's only means of escape - they're car - was left “corned”... so corny.
It's clear why this movie has something of a cult following and it's not merely the Stephen King connection. But seen with a critical eye the Corn's budget roots and overly cheesy acting cannot save it from mere mediocrity. Classily average.
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