Plot: What’s it about?
When Burt (Peter Horton) and Vicky (Linda Hamilton) find themselves stuck in small, rural town for a spell, they expect an uneventful stay, but little do they know what awaits them. As they explore the Nebraska town, they notice that no adults can be found and while some residents do remain, they’re all children. In a strange turn of events, it seems as though the older residents were murdered and as the visitors soon discover, it was the youngsters that were behind the crimes. The danger is of course obvious, but the two are so curious about what happened, they decide to stick around and investigate a little more. Soon enough, the truth becomes very clear and when the children’s cult like obsession with the corn fields surfaces, the two realize just how serious this entire situation really is. Now the two have escape from the town before the kids can capture them, or else they will be the next sacrifices to whatever lurks within the countless rows of corn…
This seems to be a movie that scared people when they were kids, but when returned to as an adult, just seems stupid. Although I never found Children of the Corn to be that scary, I’ve always liked it and I think that’s due to a few reasons. Of course, I love horror movies and while this is a bad one, those are often the best kind. The laughable moments add a lot of pleasure to the flick, which is more than welcome. I mean, I can see how some folks would be let down as far as scare factor, but if you know this is just a bad movie, then I think it manages well enough. I say that this is a bad movie, but frequent readers will know that I love bad movies, which is why this review is so positive. I like to watch cerebral flicks and a good scary movie, but sometimes I can just sit back and turn off the thinking cap, just to watch a hilarious movie, even if it wasn’t supposed to be humorous. The cast has some decent names like Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, and Courtney Gains, but don’t expect much in his realm, or else you’ll be let down. In the end, this one is recommended to fans of course, but also anyone who likes bad horror movies. This new Divimax edition is superior in all respects, so ditch those old discs and upgrade. If the enhanced audio and video aren’t enough, then the added extras should help make up your mind.
Of course, this film was based on a story by Stephen King, but aside from the source material, he had no impact on this feature, not in the least. I never thought the story was that good, but it seems to translate well enough, so long as you can overlook (or revel in) the bad elements. The atmosphere within the film is more potent than the story I think, due to the amount of silence found in the flick, which of course, books pack in lessened impact form. But I don’t want to make either seem like atmospheric terror, as that’s simply not the case. The premise is a good one to be sure, neither King nor the filmmakers here seem to be able to deliver upon the premise’s potential. The cast of Children of the Corn includes Peter Horton (Side Out, The End of Violence), Linda Hamilton (Dante’s Peak, Terminator 2: Judgment Day), John Franklin (Children of the Corn 666, The Addams Family), Courtney Gains (Can’t Buy Me Love, The ‘burbs), R.G. Armstrong (Bulletproof, Predator), and Anne Marie McEvoy (Invitation to Hell, Hostage Flight).
Video: How does it look?
Children of the Corn is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I was quite impressed with the visual treatment on the original disc, but this new version trumps that transfer in all areas, even if by a nose. The print is in great condition, with no serious flaws to mention, which is good since before these DVD editions, grain was like a plague to this movie. So the image is clean and crisp, much crisper in this new version, which allows more subtle detail to be visible. This isn’t a striking improvement, but if you’ve seen the previous disc, then you’ll notice the enhanced visuals. The colors and contrast seem to be the same as before, perhaps slightly smoother black levels. So all in all, a terrific visual presentation here and while the difference isn’t night and day, the Divimax process has yielded a superior treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
The same Dolby Digital 5.1 surround option is found here, but that isn’t reason for concern, as that soundtrack was more than solid. The surrounds are given some nice presence here, both in the subtle times and the sequences that need extra audio impact. It isn’t often that this movie needs a little kick, but whenever it does, this mix is more than able to provide whatever is needed. The dialogue is also well presented, very clean and always easy to understand, no real complaints to make here. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, just in case.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary track kicks off the extras, as director Fritz Kiersch is joined by producer Terrence Kirby, and stars Courtney Gaines and John Franklin. The track proves to be a good one, as all four participants have ample comments and with four people involved, silence is at a minimum. The director and stars return for a featurette, with interviews that reveal more about the production. This disc also includes original title sequence artwork, a selection of still photos & poster artwork, storyboard artwork, and the film’s theatrical trailer.