Corn is the operative word here, in one of the many truly
awful movie versions of Stephen King literature. This time, a thirty
page story is turned into a full-blown movie that fits right in with
the very worst slasher flicks of the 80's. Peter Horton and Linda
Hamilton (I can only assume she did this movie right before THE
TERMINATOR) play a married couple innocently driving through
Nebraska when they hit a kid who stumbles onto the road.
But this isn't just your average, ordinary, everyday
roadkill accident. "Look at his throat. It's been slit. He was dead
before we hit him." (So he was dead when he walked onto the road?
Talk about your dead kid walking.) They take the kid to the nearest
town, a charming but empty place called Gatling. Peter and Linda
wander around the town and into an abandoned house ("There's
something not quite right about this place.") before doing the
logical thing -- logical only in a horror movie, that is -- splitting
up. That way, when Linda hears a noise downstairs, she can walk
slowly dowt a dozen
times in the slasher tradition, "Bert, is that you? ...Bert? ...Ernie?
At least in the King story, the mystery of the town wasn't
given away in the opening scene. There was at least a little suspense
in the written version, but in the CHILDREN OF THE CORN
movie, we know all along just what Peter and Linda are getting into.
Gatling is inhabited by a bunch of kids who killed all the adults on
orders from their resident prophet, Isaac, the only supernatural thing
about him, from what I can tell, being that he sounds like he's on
This movie, like many others in the 80's, carries a strong
religious bias, with the crazy kids all named after Bible characters
(Malachi, Amos, Job, etc.) and Linda's fate eventually being to
hang on a crucifix made of corn husks. It's all so absurd it can't be
taken seriously for a minute, especially Peter's climactic speech
about how blind they all are for following Isaac the "holy roller."
According to Peter, "any religion not based on love and
compassion is false!"
Interestingly enough, this speech comes after the corn
monster (He Who Walks Behind the Rows) swallows a couple kids
up. Even though it's obvious there is some supernatural basis for the
kids' behavior, the screenwriter still decided to have the adult hero
chew the kids out for their behavior. In reality, it's everyone
involved with this movie and the two sequels that should be
chewed out -- at the least. If it were up to me, I'd hang them
all up on corn husk crucifixes.
Copyright © 1996 Andrew Hicks