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Children of the Corn

Score: 70%
Rating: R
Publisher: Arrow Video
Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 92 Mins.
Genre: Horror/Drama
Audio: Original Stereo and English 5.1
           DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Features:

  • Fully Illustrated Collector's Booklet
  • Reversible Sleeve
  • Audio Commentary With Director Fritz Kiersch, Producer Terrence Kirby and Actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
  • Audio Commentary With Horror Journalist Justin Beahm and Children of the Corn Historian John Sullivan
  • Featurettes & Interviews:
    • Harvesting Horror
    • It Was the Eighties!
    • ... And a Child Shall Lead Them
    • Field of Nightmares
    • Stephen King on a Shoestring
    • Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights & Sounds of Children of the Corn
    • Return to Gatlin
    • Cut From the Cornfield
  • Storyboard Gallery
  • Trailer
  • Disciples of the Crow

Children of the Corn is the cult classic 1984 film based on the short story by Stephen King. This particular release is not only is the film's first foray onto Blu-ray, but it also comes with quite a few new special features that are sure to interest any hardcore fan of this classic horror movie.

The movie differs from the King's short story in many ways, but it fits the same core tale. Burt (Peter Horton, Thirtysomething) and Vicky (Linda Hamilton, Terminator, Beauty and the Beast, Dante's Peak) are a young couple driving cross country and they end up stopping in a town whose adults were killed by children that are under the influence of a supernatural presence posing as God.

In the film version, Burt and Vicky find a pair of young siblings, Job (Robby Kiger) and Sarah (Anne Marie McEvoy) who have so far resisted the cult led by Isaac (John Franklin) and his right-hand-man, Malachai (Courtney Gains, Back to the Future). As the two children help the outsiders hide from Isaac's followers, a bond grows between them and the adults and soon, Burt and Vicky are not only focused with escaping, but with Job and Sarah in tow as well.

Meanwhile, Isaac ends up in a power struggle with Malachai as the enforcer attempts to turn the followers away from Isaac, but it seems the creature directing them, He Who Walks Behind the Rows, has his own opinions on the matter.

Children of the Corn's translation to an HD medium comes with some ups and downs. The movie was scanned in from the original negatives to make it as nice as possible in the higher resolution, but it is also pretty obvious there were no attempts to clean up the resulting video. As is often the case with older films scanned to a new resolution, there are grains and speckles a-plenty in this film, especially when light is low or there is a fog effect on-screen. While I typically find this acceptable and just a part of the upgrade process, one scene was shockingly rife with these artifacts. In this particular scene, most of the screen was pitch black with only a few spots of light. Where the screen was black, bright white speckles were present making this the worst version of these artifacts I've ever seen. What's really a shame is that the same scene is referenced in one of the special features from a previous release and it's obvious that the DVD version that it came from didn't have the same artifacts.

The Blu-ray upgrade isn't the only addition to this release. Not only does it come with an almost 30 page booklet about the film written by Children of the Corn historian John Sullivan, but there is also a slew of previously released special features, as well as a new commentary track, new interviews, and a new tour of the filming locations. The older commentary track features director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby, as well as Franklin and Gains, while the new one features Sullivan and horror journalist Justin Beahm.

This release also comes with eight different interview special features. The ones from previous releases include interviews with Hamilton about her time on the set; actor Rich Kleinberg and his deleted scene as the Blue Man; producer Donald P. Borchers and the development of the film; Production Designer Craig Steams and Composer Jonathan Elias as well as a retrospective from Kiersch, Franklin and Gains. As for new bonus features, there is an interview with the film's screenplay writer, George Goldsmith, as well as an interview with Julie Maddalena and John Philbin, the actors that played Rachel, the cult's priestess, and Amos, the boy that has become an adult and will sacrifice himself to He Who Walks Behind the Rows.

The last few special features include the theatrical trailer, a gallery of storyboards and a copy of a short film created a year before Children of the Corn also based on King's story, Disciples of the Crow.

While Children of the Corn isn't the most faithful adaptation of a Stephen King story, it has a fairly large cult following and it has spawned eight sequels (at the time of this review) and one Syfy Channel remake. While the Blu-ray version of this movie won't appeal to most movie watchers, or even most horror fans, those who enjoy this film will find a lot of new tidbits that could easily make this release worth re-buying the film.



-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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