31 Days of Horror 2016, Day 26: Children of the Corn (1984)

There’s a sort of magic to this movie that makes you forget about all the bad child acting and completely weird opening scenes. In my mind, the movie always starts with the young couple driving in the yellow car, into the town of Gatlin. I had completely forgotten about the soda fountain homicide, and the weird little hotel room, birthday dance that must happen before we get to all these scenes in which Malachai is yelling and kids are hanging out in corn fields. I figure I’m not alone in that. The good things about this movie just completely overshadow the bad. Front and center of course is the weird little old man face of Isaac. 

I have to give a bit of credit to the cinematography of this movie. I know that seems weird because ultimately Children of the Corn is just a cheap King adaptation like the myriad of others made in the eighties, but there are moments in this film that make it stand out. Every time Malachai unsheaths a blade, it shines resplendently. Every scarecrow hangs on a handmade, cattywompus cross. Every little object seems lovingly chosen and focused on for at least a moment. A bowl made of corn. A worn copy of Night Shift laying tilted on the dashboard. The people who made this movie cared, and it shows. So in spite of the bad, early CG, and a poorly paced scene in which a gas station attendant fights off a gang of pre-adolescents for over six minutes, Children of the Corn is totally likeable.

That said…dang these kids just cannot act. Sure they memorized their lines, but this is definitely the kind of child acting that’s hard to ignore, with giant gesturing and slack jawed expressions. Save that little dude Isaac of course, who probably already had a mortgage and kids of his own by the time he was in this movie. I bet that child actor got his start on a forensics team because he is DRAMATIC.

Glad to revisit this one. Not going all out for the sequels, though.

Challenge Fulfilled: A Stephen King Adaptation

Bonus: I made this quiz so you can find out which of the Children of the Corn you are! Just follow this link!


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