Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 16th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: Fritz Kiersch
Writer: George Goldsmith
Cast: Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger, Anne Marie McEvoy, Julie Maddalena, Jonas Marlowe, John Philbin
BluRay released: October 3rd, 2017
Approximate running time: 92 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95
Children of the Corn was directed by Fritz Kiersch whose other notable films include, Turf Turf and Winners Take All. Key collaborators on Children of the Corn include, screenwriter George Goldsmith (Force: Five), cinematographer João Fernandes (The Devil in Miss Jones, The Nesting) and composer Jonathan Elias (Vamp, Two Moon Junction).
The screenplay for Children of the Corn was adapted from author Stephen King’s short story of the same name. To date, there have been eight Children of the Corn sequels, one remake and one short film titled Disciples of the Crow.
At its core the horror genre preys on our darkest fears. And though there is never a shortage of protagonists for this genre to draw inspiration from. With this genre’s most sinister source of evil being children. And nowhere is more evident, then how the horror genre uses innocence to disguise the evil that is lurking beneath the surface.
Another staple throughout the history of horror cinema is religion. And at the heart of Children of the Corn is a cautionary tale about the dangers of religious fanaticism. With this film’s agents of carnage being a group of children, who are led by false prophet named Isaac.
The characters are well defined and the cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being John Franklin (The Addams Family) in the role of Isaac. He delivers a spellbinding performance that perfectly captures his characters ability to influence his followers. Another performance of note is Courtney Gains (Hardbodies, The ‘Burbs) in the role of Isaac’s malevolent older brother Malachai.
When compared to other horror films from this era, The Children of the Corn is not as graphic when it comes to its depiction of violence. With the majority of bloodshed occurring off-screen. With this film’s standout moments being this film’s opening setup where the children under Isaac’s direction murder all of the adult in their town and a scene where the couple who are lost accidentally run over a young boy who appeared out of nowhere.
Children of the Corn comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The 2k transfer for this release was sourced from a 4K restoration of the film from the film’s original negative. This a solid transfer that does a superb job retaining the look of the film. And when compared to previous home video releases, this transfer is a superior in every way.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in English. Both audio mixes are in great shape, as dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a storyboard gallery, a trailer for the film (1 minute 27 seconds), an interview with actor Rich Kleinberg whose performance as the Blue man was cut from the final film titled Cut from the Cornfield (5 minutes 30 seconds), interviews with production designer Craig Stearns and composer Jonathan Elias titled Welcome to Gatlin (15 minutes 29 seconds), a featurette that revisit’s the film’s original Iowa shooting locations titled Return to Gatlin (16 minutes 29 seconds), an interview with producer Donald P. Borchers titled Stephen King on a Shoestring (11 minutes 18 seconds), an interview with screenwriter George Goldsmith titled Field of Nightmares (17 minutes 19 seconds), interviews with actors interviews with Julie Maddalena and John Philbin titled . . .And a Child Shall Lead Them (50 minutes 52 seconds), an interview with actress Linda Hamilton titled It Was the Eighties! (14 minutes 7 seconds), retrospective documentary with director Fritz Kiersch and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains titled Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn and two audio commentaries – the first audio commentary is with Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby, John Franklin and Courtney Gains and the second audio commentary is with John Sullivan of childrenofthecornmovie.com and horror journalist Justin Beahm.
Topics discussed in the extras include, Stephen King’s short story of the same name, the origins of the film, the screenplay and how it differs from the short story, director Fritz Kiersch, the cast, cinematographer João Fernandes, screenwriter George Goldsmith thoughts about the screenplay he wrote, special effects, onset memories, other production related topics and their thoughts about the film.
Rounding out the extras is a slipcover, a poster, a reversible cover art and twenty-eight-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Behind the Rows written by John Sullivan, an essay titled Praise God! Praise the Lord! The Influence of the Child Preacher in reference to ‘Children of the Corn’ written by Lee Gambin and information about the transfer. Overall Children of the Corn gets a definitive release from Arrow Video, highly recommended.