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Children of the Corn (1984)

954 votes, average 5.7 out of 10

Children of the Corn (1984) Movie Review: A Cult Classic of Rural Horror


Directed by Fritz Kiersch, “Children of the Corn” (1984) is a horror film based on Stephen King’s short story of the same name. Starring Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton, the film explores the eerie and unsettling world of a rural town dominated by a cult of murderous children. The movie has become a cult classic, known for its chilling atmosphere and memorable antagonist.

Plot Summary

The film begins with a young boy named Job (Robby Kiger) recounting the disturbing events that overtook the small town of Gatlin, Nebraska. Led by a charismatic and fanatical preacher named Isaac (John Franklin), the children of Gatlin murder all the adults in the town under the belief that this is commanded by a mysterious entity known as “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”

Three years later, Burt (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend Vicky (Linda Hamilton) are traveling cross-country when they accidentally hit a boy who was attempting to escape from Gatlin. They decide to report the incident to the authorities and end up in Gatlin, where they discover the town’s horrifying secret. As they navigate the deserted town, they encounter Isaac and his enforcer, Malachai (Courtney Gains), who are determined to sacrifice them to their deity.

As Burt and Vicky try to escape, they must confront the violent and indoctrinated children while uncovering the dark power that controls them. The film builds to a tense climax as Burt faces the entity behind the children’s fanaticism.

Performance and Direction

Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton deliver solid performances as the protagonists, bringing a sense of authenticity and urgency to their roles. Horton effectively portrays Burt’s transformation from a rational skeptic to a desperate survivor, while Hamilton’s portrayal of Vicky is both strong and empathetic.

John Franklin stands out as Isaac, delivering a performance that is both unsettling and captivating. His portrayal of the child preacher exudes an eerie calmness that contrasts sharply with the violent behavior of his followers. Courtney Gains as Malachai brings a menacing presence to the film, embodying the physical threat to Burt and Vicky.

Director Fritz Kiersch successfully creates a sense of isolation and dread, utilizing the rural setting to enhance the film’s creepy atmosphere. The pacing is steady, with a gradual buildup of tension that keeps viewers engaged. Kiersch’s direction effectively brings Stephen King’s story to life, capturing the eerie essence of a town lost to madness.

Visuals and Cinematography

The cinematography by João Fernandes captures the desolate beauty of the rural landscape, using wide shots to emphasize the isolation of Gatlin. The cornfields, which serve as both a literal and symbolic barrier, are used to great effect, creating a claustrophobic and ominous setting. The film’s use of natural lighting and shadows enhances the sense of dread and foreboding.

The practical effects, while modest by today’s standards, are effective in conveying the film’s supernatural elements. The creature effects for “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” are subtle yet disturbing, adding to the overall atmosphere of horror.

Themes and Relevance

“Children of the Corn” explores themes of fanaticism, the loss of innocence, and the dangers of blind obedience. The film critiques the destructive power of cult mentality and the susceptibility of youth to manipulation and radicalization. It also delves into the clash between modern rationality and ancient, primal beliefs.

The narrative serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of extreme ideologies and the vulnerability of isolated communities. These themes remain relevant, resonating with contemporary issues related to extremism and the influence of charismatic leaders.

Streaming and Availability

For viewers in the United States, “Children of the Corn” is available for streaming on various platforms. You can watch it on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu with a subscription. The film is also available for rent or purchase on digital platforms such as Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, Vudu, and YouTube Movies.


“Children of the Corn” is a cult classic that continues to captivate horror fans with its chilling atmosphere and unsettling premise. The film’s strong performances, particularly by John Franklin and Courtney Gains, and its effective use of rural isolation contribute to its enduring appeal. While some aspects of the film may feel dated, its exploration of dark themes and psychological horror makes it a memorable entry in the genre. Fans of Stephen King adaptations and classic horror will find “Children of the Corn” to be a compelling and eerie experience.

Posted on:
Tagline:In their world adults are not allowed… to live.
Duration: 92 Min
Budget:$ 800.000,00
Revenue:$ 14.568.989,00

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