"Children of the Corn" is a film franchise based on a short story by Stephen King, first published in the March 1977 issue of Penthouse, and later collected in King's 1978 collection Night Shift.
Burt and Vicky, a bickering couple, are driving to California. As they drive through rural Nebraska, the couple accidentally hit and run over the body of a young boy who ran into the road escaping unseen assailants. Upon examination of the body, ignoring Vicky's pleas, Burt discovers the boys throat had been slit and he was bleeding to death before he was hit. Knowing they will have to report this to the authorities, they place the body in their car's trunk and continue down the road. They eventually arrive in Gatlin, a small, isolated community that seems to be a ghost town. When they drive through the streets and visit an empty diner, the couple notice that many things about the town are out-of-date, such as gas prices and calendar dates. When they finally locate the police station, they find no one. This fact piques Burt's interest, and he tells a frightened Vicky that he is going to explore the town. By now, Vicky, verging on hysteria, begs Burt to leave Gatlin.
The only building in use that Burt can find is a church with a recent date on the sign out front. In stark contrast with the rest of Gatlin—which has been ravaged and neglected for years—the church is reverently cared for. Inside, Burt finds that the church has been vandalized by someone who has torn the lettering off of the walls, created a strange mosaic of a pagan Jesus behind the altar, and stuffed the pipes of the organ full of corn husks and leaves. At the altar, Burt finds a ledger where names have been recorded, along with birth and death dates. While reading the book, he notices that the children's original names were changed from modern names to Biblical ones, and that everyone listed as deceased in the book had died at age nineteen. Finally realizing the danger he's in, Burt runs from the church to find that a gang of Barbaric, tribal-looking children armed with farm tools have surrounded the car, with Vicky still inside. Burt intervenes when they attack, and kills a boy who had injured him with a knife. He discovers that Vicky has disappeared. Upon command from an older boy, the children chase Burt through Gatlin.
Finally out-running them, Burt ducks into a cornfield and hides while his attackers search for him. While hiding he has memories of Vietnam and sees soldiers. Burt begins to walk through the corn as night falls. Becoming lost, Burt stumbles onto a circle of empty ground in the middle of the cornfield, where he discovers the skeletonized corpses of Gatlin's previous minister and police chief, bound to crosses with barbed-wire and their eyes sewn shut. Vicky has been ritually slaughtered in the same manner. As Burt begins to weep, he notices that there are no animals in the vicinity; something odd considering that various insects and birds are known to inhabit cornfields. Burt soon realizes that something evil is demonic god that the corn-cult worships.
In the morning, the children of Gatlin (all members of a pagan/baptist cult that worships a demonic version of Jesus called "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" who animistically inhabits the cornfields that surround the town) meet where Burt and Vicky were slain. Isaac, their leader, tells them that He Who Walks Behind the Rows is displeased with their failure to catch and kill Burt, an act that the demon was forced to commit on his own. He Who Walks Behind the Rows commands that the age limit be lowered from "nineteen plantings and harvestings to eighteen". The story ends with the eighteen-year-old children of Gatlin walking into the corn, to be devoured by whatever unspeakable spirit lurks there.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations Edit
The story was first adapted into a short film in 1983, [Disciples of the Crow.
A year later, the story was adapted into a larger-budget film re-adopting the original name, Children of the Corn, starring Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton. Several sequels and quasi-remakes followed. An uncredited Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts and Eva Mendes have each appeared in one of the sequels. Other well known actors, who have made sequel appearances, include Nancy Allen, Stacy Keach, Ahmet Zappa, Karen Black, David Carradine, Fred Williamson and Michael Ironside.
In September 2009, the Syfy channel premiered a new television movie version –Children of the Corn (2009) – which is a stand-alone movie based on King's short story.
Linda Hamilton got an early start at acting in this film and would later become a star with James Cameron's The Terminator, released the following year. John Franklin would return as Isaac in the 1999 direct-to-video sequel Children of the Corn 666: Isaac´s return.
Film series Edit
- Disciples of the Crow (1983)
- Children of the Corn (1984)
- Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1993)
- Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)
- Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)
- Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)
- Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return (1999)
- Children of the Corn: Revelation (2001)
- Children of the Corn (2009)
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