Children of the Corn (Blu-ray Review)20 Aug, 2009 By: John Latchem
Stars Linda Hamilton, Peter Horton, John Franklin, Courtney Gains.
Talk about a franchise that came out of nowhere. This unassuming 1984 adaptation of a Stephen King short story has somehow spawned six sequels (most directly to video), with a fresh adaptation of the original story due later this year on Syfy and hitting DVD Oct. 6. Even some of the creators of the film, speaking on the Blu-ray, seem shocked by the film’s long legs.
Children of the Corn makes do with limited production values, owing to a smallish budget that kept getting cut by the production company. A menacing monster is reduced to little more than a moving mound of dirt, while key visual effects rely on animation more akin to something from the 1950s.
The film is creepy but not gory. Director Fritz Kiersch admits to trying to emulate Alfred Hitchcock in creating suspense by implying violence without showing it.
As a result, Children of the Corn is a little too hokey to be considered among the horror classics. The longevity of the film owes more to its concept than its execution. The idea of children killing their parents and running a dystopian society is an intriguing one, given weight by the religious overtones of the story. The premise has certainly seen its fair share of parody, most notably in the “South Park” episode “The Wacky Molestation Adventure.”
The film also benefits from good casting, with Peter Horton (“Thirtysomething”) and a pre-Terminator Linda Hamilton as adults who stumble upon the town, chilling performances by John Franklin and Courtney Gains as the leader of the child cult, and effective appearances by Robby Kiger and Anne Marie McEvoy as a pair of innocent children who help the outlanders.
This sharp-looking Blu-ray includes a few interesting new featurettes, including an interview with Hamilton about this early role in her career, plus the commentary and retrospective from the 2004 DVD.
Also included is a pop-up trivia track that plays during the movie and covers a lot of the same ground as the commentary. It’s almost as if the trivia text was written based on what was said in the commentary.