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Children of the Corn - Blu-ray Review

4 beersNebraska.  Springsteen territory.  Think the howls in the dark songs featured on his album of raw demos.  This is your auditory entrance into the bleak horizon that overlooks Children of the Corn and the outside world, represented by the sudden arrival of the unsuspecting couple of Linda Hamilton (Terminator) and Peter Horton (thirtysomething), gets a very shocking welcoming party in the form of a child, clutching his recently slashed throat, as he stumbles out onto the ghost-filled highway…right in front of their car.  And those bloodstains on the bumper are going to be hard to scrub off.

Director Fritz Kiersch’s Children of the Corn still terrifies me.  To this day, this fully realized adaptation of a bare bones short story by Stephen King (originally written in 1977) still gives me the chills.  I know part of the reason why is because – as a product of the Midwest – I know (and still know) towns as creepy and as deserted as the one presented in this flick, complete with the dried-up corn stalks.  While firmly rooted in the fictional town of Gatlin, Nebraska, there’s more truth tucked into its main street than most people understand.

Arrow Video, perhaps understanding the ghost towns are a real phenomenon, celebrate the 33rd anniversary of this under-appreciated horror flick with a fine upgrade to what was previously your standard slap-and-trap boring Blu-ray release.  With their release, Children of the Corn absolutely blossoms.  We get a brand new 2K restoration from the original negative of the film, along with new supplemental items featuring cast and crew interviews, and reversible sleeve artwork featuring original and newly commissioned work by Gary Pullin.

But there are a couple of other key sequences in this horror flick that absolutely work in creating lasting chills.  And it begins with an unsettling diner scene in which what would normally be considered a family evening out turns into a mass slaughter as Malachai (Courtney Gains) and a group of other children enter the greasy dive, grab their steely blades, and then proceed to kill all the adults.  Blood spatter is everywhere.  Even in the coffee.  And, as Isaac Chroner (John Franklin) looks on in approval, the murderous task is completed.

And He Who Walks Behind The Rows is satisfied with the offering.

While Children of the Corn is not without its flaws, mostly in going off the rails in its climax as the demonic entity takes over Isaac and Horton winds up tossing one too many molotov cocktail in its direction, the film – when subtle with its horrors – is quite effective storytelling and deserves, as is the case here, to be seen again with fresh eyes.  There’s a lot to appreciate. 

There is some truth in the idea that your background – that is to say that your familiarity with desolate towns like the one painted here – will help with your total appreciation of this horror flick.  Children of the Corn works best when it sticks to its homegrown roots and doesn’t attempt to tackle the fiercer presence of He Who Walks Behind The Rows but, even if those sequences don’t always work, the film remains a brutal tale of homegrown rural horror.


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Children of the Corn - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
92 mins
: Fritz Kiersch
George Goldsmith
Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong
: Horror
An adult nightmare.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Malachai! He wants you too, Malachai. He wants you too!"
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 9, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 3, 2017
Synopsis: A young couple travelling cross-country find themselves stranded in the small town of Gatlin, where they meet a mysterious religious cult of children. With no adults in sight the terror brews as the new arrivals find the secrets of the prospering corn fields and the children who inhabit them. Led by the mysterious Isaac and the unhinged Malachi the blood-curdling secrets of the children of Gatlin are soon revealed to their new ‘outlander’ guests.


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Children of the Corn - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Arrow Video
Available on Blu-ray
- October 3, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation from Arrow Video begins with a detailed new transfer taken straight from a brand new 2K restoration from the original negative. Children of the Corn has never looked this good.  The dried up look to the town works and, complete with the cornhusks and shriveled leaves, adds to the overall mood of this horror film.  Blacks are strong.  Oranges and yellows are, too.  This release comes with engaging Original Mono and 5.1 Audio Options for your listening preferences and features a nice crispness to the picture that has long been missing from any previous release of the movie.



  •  There is a brand new audio commentary with John Sullivan of the comprehensive www.childrenofthecornmovie.com and horror journalist Justin Beahm that celebrates the nuances of the movie.  Also included with this release is a second audio commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains.

Special Features:

Alongside the film’s expressive 2K restoration, we get a nice retrospective with candid interviews from director Fritz Kiersch and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains about their work on the film and its lasting legacy.  Hamilton gets her own interview in a separate piece, as does producer Donald Borchers.  It’s road trippin’ time, too, because we get to revisit the film’s locations with a trip through the shooting locations in Iowa.  Also included is an interview with the production designer and the film’s composer, a look at “the blue man”, and the film’s original trailer. 

  • Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn
  • It Was the Eighties!
  • Return to Gatlin
  • Stephen King on a Shoestring
  • Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn
  • Feeling Blue
  • Theatrical Trailer


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Children of the Corn - Blu-ray Review