Children of the Corn (1984 film)

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Children of the Corn
Original 1984 theatrical poster
Directed by Fritz Kiersch
Produced by Donald P. Borchers
Terence Kirby
Written by George Goldsmith
Based on Children of the Corn
by Stephen King
Music by Jonathan Elias
Cinematography Joao Fernandes (credited as Raoul Lomas)
Edited by Harry Keramidas
Angeles Entertainment Group
Cinema Group
Hal Roach Studios
Inverness Productions
Planet Productions
Distributed by New World Pictures
Release date
  • March 9, 1984 (1984-03-09)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $800,000[1]
Box office $14,568,589[1]

Children of the Corn (also known as Stephen King's Children of the Corn) is a 1984 American horror film based upon the 1977 short story of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Fritz Kiersch, the film consists of Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, John Franklin, Courtney Gains, Robby Kiger, Anne Marie McEvoy, and Julie Maddalena in its cast. Set in the fictitious rural town of Gatlin, Nebraska, the film tells the story of a malevolent entity referred to as "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" which entices the children of the town to ritually murder all the adults in town and a couple driving across country, to ensure a successful corn harvest.

King wrote the original draft of the screenplay, which focused more on the characters of Burt and Vicky and depicted more history on the uprising of the children in Gatlin. This script was disregarded in favor of George Goldsmith's screenplay, which featured more violence and a more conventional narrative structure. Filming took place mainly in Iowa, but also in California. Seven sequels have since been produced, and has since gained a cult following.


The film is set in the fictional town of Gatlin, Nebraska, an agricultural community surrounded by mass cornfields. When the corn crop fails one year, the townsfolk turn to prayer to ensure a successful harvest. However, twelve-year old Isaac Chroner takes all of the children in Gatlin into the cornfields and indoctrinates them into a religious cult based around a bloodthirsty deity called “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”. Isaac and his subordinate Malachai lead the children in a revolution, murdering all of the adults in town as human sacrifices. Only two children refuse to participate, Job and his sister Sarah, who can see visions of the future, drawing them on paper.

Three years later, Vicky and her boyfriend Burt travel through rural Nebraska for Seattle, where Burt will start working as a physician. Elsewhere, a young boy tries to flee Gatlin but is attacked in the corn, stumbling out into the road, and is run over by Burt’s car. However, Burt discovers he was stabbed beforehand. They place the boy and his suitcase in the trunk and search for a phone to call for help. They come across an elderly mechanic, the last adult in Gatlin, but he refuses them service. The mechanic is actually in an agreement to supply the children with fuel in exchange for his life. However, the merciless Malachai breaks the pact and murders him, against Isaac’s wishes.

Vicky and Burt explore the abandoned town, finding Sarah alone in a house. Burt searches the town, while Vicky stays with Sarah. Malachai and his followers appear, capturing Vicky and take her to the cornfield, placing her on a cross to be sacrificed. Burt enters a church where a congregation of children are, led by a girl named Rachel, performing a cultural birthday ritual for her boyfriend Amos by drinking his blood. Burt scolds the children, enraging Rachel, and is chased by Malachai and others. Job rescues Burt and they hide in a fallout shelter with Sarah, learning Vicky was captured.

The zealous Isaac scolds Malachai for his treachery, only for Malachai to grow tired of Isaac’s preaching and takes over, ordering Isaac’s sacrifice instead of Vicky. Isaac warns Malachai that sacrificing him will break their pact with He Who Walks Behind the Rows and the children will be severely punished. At night, Burt sneaks into the cornfield to rescue Vicky. During Isaac’s sacrifice, a supernatural light appears and devours the screaming Isaac. Burt emerges and fights Malachai, but Isaac suddenly appears, now implied to be possessed by his god, and murders Malachai by snapping his neck.

A storm appears over the cornfield, Burt and Vicky sheltering the children in a barn. They read a passage in the Bible which implies the cornfield must be destroyed to stop the false god. Burt sprays the cornfield with gasoline and tosses a Molotov cocktail into the field, setting it alight and destroying the demon. Vicky, Burt, Job, and Sarah return to their car to leave Gatlin, only to find it disabled. Rachel attacks Burt but he knocks her out with the car door. Vicky quips that they should all send Rachel a get well card from Seattle, just before the survivors set out on foot, Burt and Vicky ostensibly deciding to adopt Job and Sarah.



  • Peter Horton as Burt Stanton, The main male protagonist that tries to save his girlfriend from the cult that inhabit Gatlin.
  • Linda Hamilton as Vicky Baxter, The main female protagonist. She was kidnapped and will be sacrificed to the cult demon-god.
  • R. G. Armstrong as Diehl ("The Old Man")


  • John Franklin as Isaac Chroner, The main antagonist. He was a 12-year-old false prophet / boy preacher that leads the Gatlin children to murder the adults and to worship a demonic entity.
  • Courtney Gains as Malachai Boardman, The second main antagonist. He was a 17-year-old second in command of the cult that try to sacrifice Isaac in Vicky's place.
  • Robby Kiger as Job, Sarah's brother.
  • Anne Marie McEvoy as Sarah, Job's sister.
  • Julie Maddalena as Rachel, Amos's girlfriend/wife.
  • John Philbin as Richard 'Amos' Deigan, one member of the cult that turned 19 the day Burt and Vicky's arrival. He was sacrificed to He Who Walks Behind The Rows.


The film received mixed to negative reviews from Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on At the Movies.[2] At Rotten Tomatoes, it has a "Rotten" rating of 38%, based on 24 reviews, with the average review being 4.1/10.[3] The film took in over $14 million at the US box office.[4]

Television remake[edit]

In June 2008, it was confirmed that Donald P. Borchers would begin writing and directing a TV remake of the first film, which would premiere on the Syfy channel. Production began in August, filming in Davenport, Iowa,[5] however, it was moved to Lost Nation, Iowa.[6]

The cast included David Anders, Kandyse McClure, Preston Bailey, Daniel Newman and Alexa Nikolas. The movie aired on September 26, 2009, and the DVD was released on October 6, 2009 by Anchor Bay.[7] The television remake closely follows the original storyline present in the short story, and not that of the original film.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b IMDb
  2. ^ Review on At The Movies
  3. ^ "Children of the Corn (1984)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "Children of the Corn (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  5. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (September 15, 2008). "'Children of the Corn' remake adds cast". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Lost Nation comes back from 'the dead'". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  7. ^ Retrieved September 16, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]

External links[edit]