Normally, I’m not a big fan of children. In fact, I usually go out of my way to avoid them. But in movies, when they are creepy, weird little beasts that murder people? I’m totally on board. This is another film that I completely adore, but have no idea why others don’t like it. Who, as a child, never imagined all the grown-ups being gone and you just runnin’ the joint? Yeah, don’t lie. Of course, we never fantasized that it would happen by way of murdering little religious zealots who worship something that lives in a cornfield. But what can ya do? This is what we were given, and will work with it. Released in 1984, this movie is based on a short story by the lovely Stephen King, and stars Linda Hamilton, and Peter Horton.
We begin by witnessing all the children in the town of Gatlin, Nebraska, killing all of the adults at the same time, apparently on the command of Isaac, a creepy little thing who is actually quite intriguing. A little boy, Job, is at a diner with his father after church, where he sees his dad getting his throat slit. Meanwhile, his little sister, at home sick with their mother, is also witness to their mother’s murder. Sarah had been sick, and it is later revealed that she has the “gift of sight”. Flash forward to a few years later, and we are introduced to Burt and Vicky, a young couple preparing to travel cross-country for Burt’s new job. He just graduated med school and is anxious about his work, and Vicky really wants a commitment. Already, this is really realistic. The viewer also sees Job and his sister Sarah talking to a young boy, Joseph, who is preparing to run away because he is sick of living under the thumb of crazy Isaac and his henchman, Malachai. The children are not allowed to do anything child-like, such as listening to music or playing games. He runs away into the corn with his suitcase, but soon is stalked by Malachai and other followers, and has his throat slit. You wanted him to make it to the road alive, but he makes it to the road nearly dead, just as Burt and Vicky are driving up and accidentally hit him. They don’t realize that he was practically dead already when he was hit, but they find out upon investigating the body.
Burt finds Joseph’s suitcase with blood on it and knows something’s up. They pack up the little dead boy in their trunk and go looking for help in a neighboring town. We meet an old man and his cute dog, who was seemingly allowed to live by the killer children in exchange for fuel and keeping outsiders out. He tells the couple not to go to Gatlin, so of course they head straight there. The old man is subsequently killed, as well as his dog, by Malachai because he feels Isaac has become to powerful and he wants power to himself. Once arriving in Gatlin, they find it weird and abandoned, but they come upon Sarah in her old house and talk to her. Burt goes off to investigate, while Vicky stays with Sarah. Soon, Malachai and others break into the home, and kidnap Vicky, and this is what Sarah had predicted all along. Burt encounters Job and helps to hide him, as Job and Sarah explain where Vicky is and what is going on in the town. Darkness falls, and Burt prepares to venture into the corn, where Malachai has ordered Isaac to be sacrificed instead of Vicky. He gets into a struggle with Malachai, and attempts to bring some sanity to these loony children by telling him that a religion without love and compassion is false. They start to believe him, just as Isaac emerges from the corn, bloody and scorched. He tells Malachai that He Who Walks Behind the Rows wants him too, so Malachai is killed.
The children take off, and hide in the barn, as the couple and the two siblings try to figure out how to stop the demon in the corn. They read a passage from the Bible, that instructs them to use fire. So Job and Burt take off to make a cocktail to throw into the corn and destroy the monster. He Who Walks tries to stop Burt by attacking him by way of the cornstalks, but he breaks free, and sets the field on fire. All is calm, and the foursome walk back to their car, that has now been filled with corn. A young girl in the cult is hiding in the backseat and tries to attack Burt, but he knocks her out. As they make their way down the road on foot, they discuss maybe adopting the two siblings, and the film ends.
I love this movie for several reasons, and think many people need to give it another chance. First of all, these kids (above) are the two cutest kids I have ever seen. They are pretty good actors especially considering the bizarre subject matter. Secondly, it is creepy. Not scary in a general sense, but creepy. The kids in this cult are so loyal and completely devoid of any real thought of their own, which is scary in and of itself. I have always been interested in cults and how someone could actually follow someone blindly with no rhyme or reason, especially when they are killing adults in horrific ways and worshipping something that lives underground in the cornfield. Granted, in the movie, the creature is real, as we see it moving along under the dirt, but what happened to make them worship it? Isaac came along and spouted a few things and all of a sudden, kids are killing their parents. I think the human mind and what it is capable of conjuring is probably the scariest thing of all, so to think that children could be engaged in these actions is terrible. Also considering, cults do exist, and crazy people do go around committing murder and mass suicide because of some imaginable belief in their head, so in a general sense, this kind of thing may be possible. Though, I must say, I doubt that no one would have found out before three years, and that these kids still dress like its 1887 is a little far-fetched, but hey, whatever Isaac says, goes.