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View Full Version : Children of the Corn

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Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: December 20, 2000

Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 3/27/2001
MSRP: $24.98
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes

Children of the Corn - originally a short story written by Stephen King, made into a feature length movie that went on to spawn 5 sequels. The things Hollywood is capable of are quite amazing, don't you think? Anchor Bay will be releasing the original Children of the Corn onto DVD in the near future. We were lucky enough to get a hold of an early copy to review. Lets take a look at how the DVD holds up.

The Story

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot1s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot1l.jpg) Burt Robeson (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend Vicky (Linda Hamilton) are driving across country to their new home in the western US. Burt will be starting his internship at a doctor's office - something he's been working towards for four years. Along the way they spot a boy standing in the middle of the road that's surrounded my corn fields. They can't stop in time and end up hitting the boy dead on. Burt goes out to investigate while Vicky waits in the car. He soon confirms his initial suspicion - the boy's throat was intentionally cut and the attack happened within the last 5 minutes.

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot2s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot2l.jpg) The two drive to a nearby gas station to phone the police and report the incident. They're out of luck however, as the gas station attendant informs them there are no working phones. There options are to go to Gatlin, a small town just a few miles down the road, or go to the town of Hemingford which is about 20 miles down the road. The attendant nervously tells them to go to Hemingford, explaining that the folks in Gatlin keep to themselves, don't like outsiders and probably don't have a phone either. So they head to Hemingford, but after taking the road that heads to Hemingford they soon see a sign for Gatlin. Finally they follow one of the Gatlin signs, which ultimately brings them through a cornfield that leads right back to the gas station. This time they decide to go straight to Gatlin, following the initial road signs that lead there.

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot3s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot3l.jpg) Burt and Vicky arrive in Gatlin only to find that it's deserted. When they stop to check an abandoned cafe, three kids come and try to steal their car. They follow the kids but soon lose them, at which point they decide it would be best to head to Hemingford. As they're leaving Burt sees a door close to a house and decides to investigate. In the house they find a little blonde girl named Sarah (Anne Marie McEvoy). Vicky tries to get some information out of Sarah about what's going on and who this "Issac" (John Franklin) person is that she speaks of. Burt, in the meantime, heads down to the town hall to try and find some adults. While he's gone more children, led by Malachai (Courtney Gains), show up and take Vicky away. Issac is the leader of all the children, and he's responsible for the killing of all adults in the town. Now he plan on sacrificing her to God, who Issac claims to have a direct communication with. Now the children head after their Burt, who must escape capture and try to save Sarah before it's too late. What none realize is that there's a greater force then both Issac and Malachai that lies in the corn fields, which both the children and Burt will soon encounter.

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot4s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot4l.jpg) I'm a huge Stephen King fan but it seems movies adapted from his novels and short stories are always a mixed bag. Generally they're either good or bad, but I feel Children of the Corn falls in the middle, ending up a decent movie at best. The story is actually pretty good, but the whole concept of the children being killers and in control of this town didn't really do much for me. I mean, I didn't find it scary or creepy in any way. Maybe if the children had freaky eyes like they do in Village of the Damned it would've been more effective, but then it would be obvious Stephen King was doing a bit of borrowing. The children here look to plain and ordinary, like every day children.

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot5s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot5l.jpg) It's too bad they didn't have more of the children killing people, instead of this Malachai character who seems to be stuck doing all the dirty work. Perhaps the children doing some killing would've resulted in creating a better belief for their characters. There are a few gore shots in the movie, but nothing heavy. The end results here is that Children of the Corn may be enjoyable for some, but definitely not all. As I said the story is good, but without an element of fear for these children it ends up not being all that effective as a horror movie.

Image Quality

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot6s.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_shot6l.jpg) Anchor Bay presents Children of the Corn in an anamorphic widescreen transfer in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Overall the transfer is quite good with only a few problems. There are numerous scenes where grain appears; generally it's light but in a few night scenes it's a bit heavy. There's also some MPEG artifacting that can be seen in several daytime scenes. No print blemishes were observed in the transfer, which is incredible. The colors are strong and vivid, plus the image is extremely sharp with no soft spots. Overall a great transfer, which has definitely become the norm for Anchor Bay.


Children of the Corn is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. It's impressive that Anchor Bay has gone back and remixed this into 5.1, but I think the results are a definite plus. While there's only moderate usage of surrounds and LFE, the soundtrack is much more powerful and effective at 5.1 then the original mono track. Purists may disagree, but I think it's a definite plus and Anchor Bay gives us a decent 5.1 mix here.

Supplemental Material

http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_menus.jpg (http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/a-m/cotc/cotc_menul.jpg) Theatrical trailer only, though it's widescreen and anamorphic (16x9), which is cool.

Final Thoughts

I didn't think all that much of the movie, but if you're a fan or if you've ever wanted to see it there's no doubt this Anchor Bay DVD is the way to go. Extras are slim but the audio/video quality is superb, which is number one priority. If you haven't seen it and wish to however, then definitely rent this first to determine whether it suits your tastes


Movie - C
Image Quality - B
Sound - B
Supplements - C

Technical Info.

Running Time - 1 hour 33 minutes
Rated R
1 Disc
24 Chapter Stops
Dolby Digital 5.1



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