Children of the Corn

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. Burt 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.