Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
This movie is hot garbage.
I’m not saying that to be shocking, or provocative — this movie is really just a total piece of s--t.
I first watched Children of the Corn over 25 years ago in one of my many Stephen King binges. I’m a huge fan of his novels and short stories, and I used to stroll on up to the corner store in my hometown to rent spooky trash on a pretty regular basis.
Even with my low entertainment standards in my early teens, this movie was just god awful. I would generally load up on Halloween and horror, and I rented this and Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight on the same day for a weekend sleepover with some friends. We were less than impressed.
Still, I figured I might be too harsh on it, given my love for the source material and the author so I enlisted my wife to help watch this film for this review. She made it about 30 minutes before she gave up. Here are a few choice quotes from her watching, which I’m putting in order, without any context. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll understand 100% what she’s getting at.
“Is this about evil Amish people?”
“Kid seems really calm for someone who’s just watched his father’s throat get slashed.”
“LINDA HAMILTON IS IN THIS?”
“This is a movie about kids murdering people on the orders of the Creepy Amish Boy in the Window”
“This movie is very slow. I can’t believe they’re still on this Monopoly scene”
“This is the MOST boring movie I’ve ever watched in my life.”
We were folding kid laundry during this exchange, and it was at that point that she gave up to focus fully on folding. Yes — folding laundry was significantly more exciting than this film.
It can’t all be bad though, right?
No, it really is. Let’s go down the full list.
First, the acting is just terrible. The kids are all stilted, seemingly just learned their lines, don’t understand blocking, and wooden as hell. Issac, or ‘Creepy Amish Godfather Kid,’ his new name, thinks that forcing his voice into a lower register sounds spooky, Also, trivia moment: That kid? He was 25 when they shot the film.
I will say that acting wise, it’s no shock Linda Hamilton went on to be a star, because she’s the only thing this movie has going for it. She’s charming, does a decent job with a s----y script, and unlike most of her co-stars, seems to understand how to deliver lines. She’s pulled down by the overall production itself, but she also did a little film called Terminator the same year, so she managed to get away from this stinker pretty unscathed.
Peter Horton – or “is that the 30-something guy?” does his best, but he’s pretty screechy and annoying just about any time he’s on screen.
The consolation prize of this movie is that the kid who plays Job follows his kind of meh performance here by starring as Patrick in The Monster Squad , one of my all time guilty pleasures, and the only movie that advocates kicking a monster in the nards.
The script is a disaster. King’s story — 29 pages from the adult’s POV with a very unhappy ending — has been expanded into a typical good vs. evil movie where the good kids are rescued, and Creepy Amish Godfather Kid bites it. There’s a dead kid in the protagonist’s trunk they forget about 20 minutes later and every single decision they make throughout the movie is seemingly designed to cause people to yell at the screen in anger.
The only other good things I can think of? There’s a ton of solid mullets in this movie and there’s also a cool little easter egg early on when Stephen King’s Night Shift is on the dashboard of the car the protagonists are driving across Nebraska in. That’s about it.
This is not the worst Stephen King movie, not by far. That dubious distinction goes to Sleepwalkers, quite possibly the dumbest horror movie I’ve ever seen.
If you have to kill an hour and 32 minutes, there are far better ways to do so than by watching Children of the Corn. You deserve better.