Children of the Corn (1984): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

It’s surprising for such an iconic author that Stephen King’s tales are so tough to bring to the big screen. I don’t know why “Children of the Corn” has managed to become something of a semi-classic since 1984 because the only scary thing about it is how boring it is. “Children of the Corn” has been a baffling horror presence since 1984, garnering a whole series of movies, including a remake, and sequels to the remake. There’s even been a new film in 2018.

“Children of the Corn” moves at a sluggish pace, has about some of the worst performances I’ve ever seen from child actors in a film bar none. I’ve seen better iterations of this formula in other films, with a much better sense of tension and plausibility. Seriously, go watch the original “Village of the Damned,” or “Who Can Kill a Child?” That’s how it’s done. Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton play a doctors who decide to drive across the Midwest for Horton’s character Burt can start a new job. Their trip comes to an end when they accidentally run over a refugee from a small town nearby on the road.  In an attempt to contact authorities, they go to the small town (with the body in the trunk, mind you), and learn that the entire town has been consumed by maze of corn.

Even worse, the town’s adults have been murdered with it now being ruled by two painfully obnoxious and shrill young boys, both of whom are fighting for rule. I’m assuming this town is just right off the map in to nowhere land, because apparently no one ever travels there, there are no tourists, no one knows anyone outside the town, and the kids never think to close everything off to keep intruders away. Like a lot of King stories, the narrative here just lacks logic and common sense. We’re supposed to believe in the prologue that everyone in town commutes to this one restaurant allowing the kids to slay the adults without breaking a sweat, but no one tries to contact anyone on the inside?

What about mail and deliveries? What about other stranded travelers? For what’s required Hamilton and Horton do a solid job in their performances, they’re just brought down by really bad child actors, and a premise that’s bereft of tension or suspense. All the Christ allegories, and pseudo-biblical nonsense is so uninteresting that by the time you make it to the climax, you won’t care who is behind the rows.

Arrow Video gives “Children of the Corn” a lot of TLC with extras from previous releases attached with some new ones. There’s an Audio Commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains, and an older audio commentary with horror journalist Justin Beahm and Children of the Corn historian John Sullivan. “Harvesting Horror” is a thirty six minute retrospective from Anchor Bay with some fine interviews with the cast and crew. “It was the Eighties!” is a fourteen minute Anchor Bay produced segment with a very good interview with star Linda Hamilton who seems regretful about starring.

“. .. And a Child Shall Lead Them” is a previously released fifty minute segment with Julie Maddalena and John Philbin. “Field of Nightmares” is a previously released segment clocking in at seventeen minutes featuring an interview with writer George Goldsmith. “Stephen King on a Shoestring” is an eleven minute interview with producer Donald P. Borchers, while “Welcome to Gatlin” is a fifteen minute bit of interviews with production designer Craig Stearns and composer Jonathan Elias. “Return to Gatlin” is a previously released segment with John Sullivan hosting a tour of filming locations. The previously released “Cut from the Cornfield” features actor Rich Kleinberg discussing a mythical lost scene from the movie. There’s a storyboard gallery, the original trailer, and “Disciples of the Crow” a previously released short film adaptation of “Children of the Corn” that predates the film by a year. Among the supplements not on the disc is a reversible cover, a poster, and the usual exhaustively detailed insert booklet.