Children of the Corn
We asked our Patrons: Of the horror franchises we haven’t touched, which would you like to see next? Children of the Corn was the surprising answer. So here ya go. We touched it for ya.
How does it hold up against Stephen King’s many other properties? Listen and find out.
Children of the Corn (1984)
Ep 311, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: And welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd
Craig: and I’m Craig.
Todd: Well, Craig, after doing this, uh, podcast for over 300 episodes, now there is, uh, hardly a franchise we haven’t touched. And so we went to our patrons recently and we had asked them, uh, we, we, we, we took stock of a few, probably about six, I think, or so franchises that we haven’t touched yet.
And we said, which one should we do? And we gave them a poll, oddly enough. To my surprise. The top of the list was Children of the Corn. Yeah, it was surprise too. So I guess we just either we have a lot of children of the corn fans or, or we have people who’ve never really seen many Children of the Corn movies.
They just want to hear about it. May I could be. So of course we listen to what our patrons had to say, that they do influences show a lot. Uh, not only did we put this to them, but every time now, since we, uh, started this, we put forth to them a number of requests that we’ve gotten, and they’re the ones who choose the request.
So by the way, if you would like to choose the requests or, uh, influence this show in a deeper way, answer these polls and also, uh, have access to our podcast often before I even get them out because they get the raw phone calls that we do to put these shows together. And those are available that week, as opposed to maybe later in the week, when I am able to finish editing.
Our podcast and taking out all the stuff we don’t want everybody else to hear. so, uh, yeah. Uh, if you’re interested in having access to any of that, plus a bunch of goodies and our minisodes, uh, that we do, please go to patreon.com/chainsaw podcast and consider being a member. So thanks again to our patrons for suggesting children of the corn.
We’re gonna dive right into this franchise with 1984 S movie based on, uh, a Stephen King short story that showed up in Night Shift. But I believe was originally a published in Penthouse magazine in 1977. Mm-hmm you remember those days when magazines published? Well, do you remember the days of magazines, Craig
Um, obviously, you know, in 1984, I wasn’t, you know, a big. Penthouse fan, but, um,
Todd: I was a budding Penthouse fan in 1980.
Craig: But that’s that’s, that’s where Steven King got his start, was writing short stories and getting them published, uh, in magazines and Playboy, Penthouse, some more reputable ones as well, like the New York or The Atlantic, etcetera.
Todd: but, but let’s let, I mean, let’s not sell these places short, if you could get something published in Playboy, like that’s yeah. You know, as far as a literary magazine or whatever, I don’t know. It kind of depends on how you feel. I only read it for the stories, stories in the articles. Of course, obviously.
Craig: No, I mean, penthouse though was, you know, kind of like Playboy’s dirtier cousin at Playboy Playboy, you know, I, I don’t know the younger people who listen to this podcast may. Realize that Playboy was a really pretty reputable publication. Oh yeah. People were not embarrassed or ashamed to have Playboy in their homes, you know?
No people’s dads subscribe to Playboy shamelessly, you know, imagine that. So it wasn’t. Yeah. Yeah. It wasn’t, uh, that big a deal in you’re right. Getting something published and there was kind of a big deal.
Todd: Not so for Penthouse though, not, not so shamelessly, uh, subscribing to penthouse, that’s the one you had to hide under your mattress or
Craig: that’s right.
That’s the one that you bought at the gas station and yeah, right. But anyway, um, that’s where king got his start and I, I love King’s short stories. I’ve I’ve probably said on the podcast before that I’m a huge fan of Stephen King period. I love his novels, but I’m particularly fond of his short stories.
He’s uh, Very skillful. And, and he has said on more than one occasion that he continues to write short stories because he feels that it forces him to really hone his storytelling, um, skills, uh, in novels. He can meander and, uh, draw things out as long as he wants to. And he does. And that’s
Todd: fine. It really.
You either like it, or you don’t, some of his novels are better than others at doing this or not doing this. I don’t know how to phrase it, but like, yeah, some of his novels, uh, like, like I think we talked about this incidentally, we had a whole, a mini, so two mini SOS actually devoted to, uh, horror literature that we did for our patrons.
We’ll probably have more. And we talked about this a little bit on there and we talked about how I think I said in there I was a big Stephen King fan. I’ve read a lot of his stuff. I like a lot of his stuff. Some of it was hard to get through. Tommy knockers was one of them like 1200 plus pages of a book that was very put downable.
Although I enjoyed it at, by the end of it, you know, I really liked it. I felt like it was just what he, himself terms as, uh, literary elephant. Can’t resist. Well, you that’s spending four or five pages telling you what this guy’s thinking about. As he’s sitting at the bar, having a, a sip of his whiskey, you know,
The one that you just mentioned Salem’s Lot. Um, even it, uh, and some others, huge castes of characters under the dome, you know, uh, huge cast of characters, many, many, many subplots, all interconnected, but. Lots and lots and lots to digest in the short stories. He is forced to be more concise and, uh, tell a story in shorter format.
Uh, so therefore you, you know, there’s usually more focus on a smaller group of characters and, and the action is tighter and I’ve read, I believe all of his short story collections, which one did you say? This one came from night shift night
Todd: shift. I loved that one, but there aren’t as many stories in that one.
I think as, as, as some
Craig: of the others night shift is really good. Skeleton Crew is really good. I like them all. Yeah. And I, I remember this story. I know that I’ve read it at least twice and it’s a good story. Uh, but it’s, it’s grim the film actually cheers
Todd: it up slightly. yeah, it
Craig: cheers it up allows, allows for a, a much, much more optimistic end.
The, the end of the story and the end of the movie are, are. Very very different. Yeah. And I’m, we’ll, we’ll talk about that when we get there, but, you know, good source material, uh, to begin with, it was a pretty low budget production, and you can tell. Yeah. Uh, I read that initially they were initially they were given a budget of 1.3 million, but Stephen King got kind of pissed off because they hired him initially to write the screenplay and he did, and the studio wasn’t satisfied with it.
They didn’t like it. He focused too much on this, the relationship between the two central characters, I think the first 30, some pages of the script, which would be, you know, a big chunk of a film script was just the two main characters. Uh, Bert and Vicky in the film played by Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton, respectively.
It was just them arguing in the. Yeah, for, for a, for a very, very long time before it ever actually got into any of the action. And so they hired a different, uh, his name
Todd: is, uh, screenwriter, George Goldsmith. Yeah. He wrote Hill Street Blues, Uhhuh
Craig: yeah. And they hired him and he tightened it up, changed some of the focused onto some new younger characters, a couple of these children
Todd: of the corn.
some of the children. In the corn. Yeah. And
Craig: lightened up the tone a little bit, particularly at the end. And they preferred his screenplay, decided to go with it, that kind of pissed Steven King off. So he demand in order to keep his name on it. Uh, in order for them to be able to use his name in the advertising because they wanted to a, they wanted to advertise it as Steven King’s Children of the Corn in order to allow them to do that.
He demanded an additional $500,000 up front, which he has every right to do it’s his property, but that reduced their, uh, budget to just about $800,000, which really limited what they wanted to do. Um, and they ended up having to scrap several scenes that they had hoped to film and they didn’t have much money for special effects and
Todd: it showed, oh God, does it show, I read an interview with, uh, with George Goldsmith where he was talking about this.
He was almost. A little disdainful in saying something along the lines of, yeah. So I called up Stephen King and Stephen King being Stephen King was really angry. I’ll just put it that way, that he was really angry about, uh, rejecting my, his script that had 40 pages of two people arguing in a car at the beginning.
And he said to me, That I don’t understand horror. And I just said to him, I don’t think you understand cinema it’s, uh, you know, horror is, gets inside of you. And in the book you can have these sort of like deep, uh, descriptions and, and, um, you know, you can get really inside, like even just like abstract things, like how oppressive is the corn, you know, and all these things.
And with the movie, you, you, you can’t do that. You’ve gotta show everything on screen. You have to have action. Yeah. It’s a visual medium. Yeah. And, and so you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta tweak things a little bit in order to make it work. I don’t wanna see two people arguing for 40 minutes at the beginning of this movie either.
No, at the same time, you know, I think that this worked better as a I’ve read it too. I think it worked better as a short story ultimately than it did as a Mo movie. Some of that has to do with the. That, uh, you know, the special effects are kinda lousy and some of the scenes that were deleted that had to be because I’m just gonna come right on and say, okay, first I wanna say I was a kid when I saw this the first time, same, this movie freaked me out as a kid.
Yep. Because of the concept, I was like, it’s, it’s about a town where there’s this sort of religious thing happening amongst the children and this religious thing sort of dictates that they have to kill all the adults and that anyone who passes the age of 18 must. It’s sort of like Logan’s Run, but in horror form.
And that freaked me out. I mean, I grew up pretty religious as a kid. So anything that you know, was like religious was like, you know, spooky and this idea of the kids sort of taking over and then like, they’re the keepers of religion or whatever. And then, you know, you, you have to die once you are, you, nobody can be an adult.
Like all that was just like, oh, freak. Plus the main character in this movie is
Craig: freaky as hell. The two main antagonists, um, are both really creepy and the opening is very violent and brutal. I mean it, yes, it establishes, you know, it’s, you know, the first thing we see is a dry cornfield and this is clearly a very rural area.
And we see this, I suppose you’d call it a flashback because it says three years ago and we see the Grace Baptist Ghurch of Gatland, Gatland Nebraska is where this takes place. It’s a fictional city in or small town in, uh, Nebraska. Um, and the title of the sermon for the day is corn drought and the Lord.
So apparently they have been struggling agriculturally. And, um, that’s a part of, uh, what they’re talking about with the sermon and that also ties into. Ends up going on with the kids, but we see this is, you know, before the kids have taken over. So we see all the attendees of the church leaving adults and there’s one child narrator.
Um, his name is job. They call him jobby, which is cute. He’s played by a little actor named Robbie Kiger, who I, I, I guess must have worked quite a bit when he was a kid. And then I left the industry. I suppose I recognized him though. Um, he played Patrick in monster school. Oh,
Craig: Um, which I love that movie.
Of course. Mm-hmm um, but he’s, he’s super cute. Really small. I would guess maybe like six, I don’t know. Very small. Um, but he narrates this flashback. It was about three years ago. I was the only kid in church that day. The others were with Isaac out in the cornfield. I didn’t get to go. Cuz dad didn’t like Isaac.
He was pretty smart. My dad, after church would get to Hansens, just like always. Sarah was homesick with mom. She’d come down with the fever. Real sudden dad was worried. So we went to call mom first thing that’s when I saw Malachi and the others, I guess they’re meeting with Isaac was over. Hi. They racked him real creepy.
So apparently what has happened is this young kid named Isaac has shown up in their town. It’s not explained what, where he came from, what his origins are, but apparently he showed up and he started preaching to the kids out in the cornfield. And job tells us that his sister, Sarah is sick at home with a fever.
And then everybody from church gathers at the local diner and they’re sitting there and all of the teenagers in town start arriving and positioning themselves in places around the diner. And you see the teenage waitress. Pour something into the coffee, some sort of powder into the coffee mm-hmm and serve it to the guests.
And then some of the elderly guests start choking and spasming and dying. Apparently the coffee was poisoned and. The other teenagers, most the, the boys just start brutally slaughtering all of the adults. Yeah. You know, slicing their throats with knives and sides and farm instruments. And it’s very bloody and here’s little, teeny, tiny job watching his own father be slaughtered mm-hmm
And he says, this happened all over Gatlin that day. And the kids take over. We’re not given a lot of ex exposition, but through observation, we come to realize that this Isaac who is played by. This really interesting, um, actor, his name’s, John Franklin. He has a really distinct look. He’s only five foot tall and he has a very childlike look to him.
Apparently he had some sort of illness or disorder when he was a child that stunted his growth at which, which led to his very short stature and led to him looking very much like a child. He’s supposed to be a teenager under age 19 in this movie, he was in fact 24 when he played the role. And he’s just kind of spooky looking.
Yeah. You know what I mean? Yeah. Cause
Todd: I think, I don’t know. I don’t even know how to define it. He just has these. Spooky eyes and a
Craig: distinctive, kinda spooky voice. He, he
Todd: looks adult without looking adult in a way. I mean, right. That’s, that’s it right? Like, there’s a, there’s an aspect to him that, that that’s a little uncomfortable.
Like I looked at him and I thought this guy looks older than he’s supposed to be, but he still looks like a kid, you know, and a there’s a dissonance there. Right. Uh, and so I think that’s probably must add to it. And he’s looking in the window of the diner and he’s dressed in like almost full Amish gear.
Right. He’s got the black hat and the black, you know, suit with a little, whatever Ballero I guess. And, uh, while these looking on kind of grinning as these kids are slaughtering clearly under his direction, the adults in there. Right. And it’s not. Look, it’s bloody, but it’s not like we’re getting Tom Sini style special effects here where we’re seeing like the, the, the gore up close.
No, no. We’re seeing some blood splatter. We’re seeing some knives drawn across necks and sort of a little bit of the aftermath of it. But I would say it’s more PG 13 except for the content. I mean, except for the, you know, the actual gore itself is pretty PG 13. Whereas the, the fact that these kids are slaughtering, all these people brutally in there is very our territory.
You don’t do, you know, he was in Tammy, in the tres. He was Bobby. Yeah. And he also played cousin I in the Adams family, which. You know, you wouldn’t see his face in that anyway. Right.
Craig: I, I had forgotten that he was in Tammy and the T-Rex, but I remember that we recognized him at that point mm-hmm and uh, I think I’m pretty sure that he returned for one of the many, many sequels years and
Yeah. He returned for children of the corn 6 66 Isaac’s return fittingly fittingly. It would’ve, it would’ve sucked if he hadn’t really.
Craig: Yeah. The J you know, basically the gist is that, um, Isaac is the head of this religious cult of children who worship this entity that they call he who walks behind the rose.
And it seems to be based in Christianity, but it’s like bastardized Christianity, which is
Todd: spookier, right. At least to me as a kid Uhhuh. Yeah. It’s so it’s a, there’s a Blay there that also makes it scary.
Craig: Right. And, and there’s a scene later in the movie where, uh, we visit. The church, which was a Baptist church and all of the Baptist religious iconography is there, but it’s all been desecrated with corn
Yeah. And, and the imagery has been just changed and, and really grotesque and, and unsettling ways. I don’t yeah. Unsettling, unsettling ways. And, and I thought that, that it was really effective. It was, it was frightening. And you know, that, just that concept. I mean, the, just the way that religion can be used period, to influence people, I is pretty frightening.
Now I’m not bashing religion. I’m yeah. A somewhat religious person myself. I attend church regularly. I’m not slamming religion, but historically. Arguably currently it can be used to manipulate people, um, into certain practices or beliefs or whatever. And especially when you take something like Christianity, mm-hmm, ignore the real principle tenets of it and bend it to your will it, it can be very dangerous.
And, and that’s a scary concept and that’s basically what’s going on here. Mm-hmm and I think, I, you know, I don’t remember Stephen King’s short story. Well, enough to remember if that was his focus. I feel like his story was really just much was more of a monster story. This seems to be a direct exploration of the dangers of.
Todd: Religious fanaticism or whatever it, yes. Yes, it is in a way, but also like there’s an actual Demonn involved. So it’s, it’s not like, it’s not like this person is manipulating these people for their own gain and their own sense of power. I mean, that’s happening, but there’s an actual, like entity behind it as well.
So there is the element to the supernatural in here. And I think that’s sure that’s one of the frustrating things about this movie is that that is alluded to a lot, but you rarely see it and you rarely see evidence. They didn’t have the budget. Yeah. Cuz they didn’t have the budget. There was supposed to be a lot more of it and God like, I hate to jump the gun here, but by the time you get to the end where this supposed demon kind of reveals itself, it kind of doesn’t.
No, it doesn’t because it’s just a bunch, it’s like some weird, horrible looking special effects that it’s just like an ethereal cloud. Thing made in a camera, you know? Yeah. Right. But I would say even before that, you know, you have opportunities, like you could sort of show the influence of the supernatural in here, but you don’t really get that or when you do get it, it’s not very satisfying at all.
And I think some of that is definitely because of the budget and some of it’s just because of the way the story is structured. It spends a lot of time focusing on these creepy kids, walking around murdering people or threatening to murder people, or this couple that stumbles into town. And it’s just sort of, uh, I don’t know, man.
I just, I. I have to admit I, a lot of this movie I was bored. Yeah. Thinking, oh yeah, I guess they’re trying to be creepy, but it doesn’t really come across. You know, we talk about the effectiveness of the religious iconography, you know, kind of being bastardized in that church scene that comes later, which is true.
That church scene is quite good. But then, um, when this couple comes into town, we’ll talk about that in a second. A lot of the movie is them wandering around this empty town that I suppose is supposed to be menacing, but I don’t feel anything menacing about it. All I see is that dried corn stalk and pieces of corn have been stuffed everywhere, which yeah.
Which is so omnipresent that it’s almost a parody of itself and it’s almost a caricature and it kind of comes off as hokey, I think. Yeah. Okay. Like I got it, you know, the first time, but now it’s. Kind of feels cheap
Craig: well, and though they never though, they never say it outright. Apparently what’s going on is that they have to worship this entity.
He who walks behind the rose. And if they do, and if they offer sacrifices, what happens is, uh, on their 19th birthdays, they sacrifice themselves.
Todd: They get to die. Like that’s a, that’s a great motivator, right?
Craig: right. But like, that’s how it’s treated. It’s treated as an honor. Like it’s your honor, to be able to sacrifice yourself to this entity for the good of the town BEC, and if they do that, then they have a good harvest of corn and they can, I, I think they’re like producing
Todd: ethanol is this yeah.
I call it like these
Craig: kids. Yeah. These kids are making ethanol, which is
Todd: kinda weird. I have so many questions, you know, when you dive into the logic of this, there’s so much of this that you can. Laugh at like, you know, a short story. Doesn’t have to really dive deep into the logic. It’s just short and it’s done.
And then you’re, you’ve finished. Right. But a movie leaves you a lot of time to ponder a lot of questions. What are these kids eating? The only thing is just corn all day, every day, all the time, I guess, you know, like corn
Craig: meal grits. It’s like,
Todd: it’s like forests, Gump, right? Like corn gumbo, fried corn, boil corn,
Craig: corn, corn Raiders.
Todd: they need to at least grind some weed at some point to make some bread. I don’t know. I don’t know, have a couple have some livestock somewhere. So, so anyway, like we said, the, the kids, they murder everybody in this town and then we jumped to three years later except
Craig: for the, the kids haven’t aged. That was funny to me right over the course of that three years.
None of these kids have aged at all,
Todd: but, but also like, I mean, the setup is good, right? Because you, you mentioned, uh, this guy has this, uh, sister named Sarah and Sarah is in bed, but she’s also like. While she’s sleeping, she’s also doing automatic drawing or something like that. And she has drawn a picture to kind of foretell the slaughter at the cafe.
And then, uh, we get what I think actually is great music. I, yeah, the, the creepy score with the kids’ voices on it and all that is just it’s
Craig: perfect. The score throughout felt like a hodgepodge of it. It there in times it sounded very much like the score from pet cemetery and it, and at other times it felt very much like the score from the omen.
Yeah. Which the, the. Chanting the in Latin and, and stuff like
Todd: that. The chantings cool because it’s like, you know, it has that religious element to it and it, that
Craig: creepy, it was used to good effect.
Todd: Mm-hmm mm-hmm so we get that music playing over some credits of this girl’s drawings, you know, in crayon, which are always creepy, right.
The kids’ drawings, but they’re sinister violent Uhhuh, and it kind of sets up the whole notion, the idea, we see, you know, the, somebody being hauled up on like a cross of corn and we see Isaac and sort of preaching to the kids in the field and they’re standing around with knives and they’ve slaughtered adults and things like that.
Uh, and then it’s three years later to the present day where, uh, Vicky, Vicky played by Linda Hamilton right. Of
Craig: Terminator fame.
Todd: Of course. Yeah. Is waking up her boyfriend Burton, who was played by Peter what’s the guy’s name? Porton yes. And he’s was famous for 30 something. He was in the, the TV show doing something that was quite groundbreaking at the time.
Craig: done a lot. I mean, he has a bazillion credits. He directs also. So, but very recognizable, handsome guy. These are, you know, two young actors in their prime. Yeah. Linda Hamilton just looks amazing. She’s beautiful. Sexy. And they’re in a motel, apparently it’s his birthday and what’s going on is they’re traveling apparently moving somewhere new because he’s just finished medical school and he’s moving somewhere for his internship and she’s going with them.
I don’t know if they’re married or just a couple. Yeah. I think in the short story, it’s made clear that they’re married.
Todd: I don’t think they’re a couple because there there’s a comment made about commitment in the car that she kind of looks at him and he kind of like wears his eyes
Craig: at. And, you know, we talked about how this movie kind of deviates, uh, in the story they’re unhappy and they’re constantly bickering and fighting here.
It does, it doesn’t seem that way off the opposite, right? They seem to be young and in love, um, and, and care very much about one another. And to be fair, you know, God, this is jumping back to what we were talking about before, but the, the screenwriter accused king of not really understanding horror cinema and no disrespect to Mr.
King, but I don’t think the screenwriter was wrong. Right. Stephen King is, is, is great at, uh, writing stories and novels. But if you look , it almost feels like the more involvement that he has with his film adaptations, the less good they are. Yeah. Um, mm-hmm I mean, look at maximum overdrive. I love maximum overdrive.
Because it’s, can’t be as hell. And I think that’s super fun. Um, but it’s not a great movie. No. Uh, another one, another one that I’m really a fan of, but that doesn’t get a lot of positive reviews is sleepwalkers and, and those were two that he had a lot of involvement in the ones where he’s a little bit more removed or takes a step back, seem to be a little better in quality.
Yeah. Um, and, and the reason that I say that is because this we’ll talk about how this movie has like 400 sequels when we get to the end, but it also has a remake. There was a made for TV remake in 2006, I believe. And they stuck much more closely to the tone and, um, plot of. The story. And so in watching that the first, you know, 15 minutes, 20 minutes is the couple arguing in the car and that was boring to watch.
And it made your two protagonists, really unlikable characters yeah. Right. Who, who cares? What happens to them? They seem like assholes so I think it was the right decision to make these young attractive and love people, because then you’re more on their side and you care what happens to them. Yeah. So, yeah, so they’re, you know, they just, they happen through, um, and we see that, um, job, the little boy narrator tells us that he and his sister don’t like Isaac and Isaac’s henchman named Malachi, who we’ll talk more about, they don’t like him and they don’t like what’s going on in the town and they’re not the only ones.
And they have a little friend, um, named Joseph who’s a little bit older than them, and he’s gonna try to run away to go. Help. And he goes running through the corn
Todd: of course, job. And Sarah are like, why you’re going through the corn? It’s a bad idea. And he is like, no, it’s the quickest way for me to. Well, I don’t know.
Craig: only way, yeah, I don’t know. Doesn’t make sense. No, not really. And then, you know, while he’s in there, the corn starts, you know, like moving kind of supernaturally and, uh, there’s like weird, like kind of whispering or giggling or whatever it should be creepier
Todd: than it is
Craig: it. I thought. Kind of creepy and then you see that there’s somebody else in the corn with him and that somebody else has a big knife and he gets stabbed, or I, I, I think it we’re told later that his throat had been cut.
We don’t really see it. We just see blood dripping onto the suitcase that he had taken with him. And then the next thing we see is the couple are driving down the road and they’re, they’re looking at a map. And so he doesn’t have his eyes fully on the road. And at one point he looks up and that boy Joseph is standing right in the middle of the road and they just plow him down.
Todd: God, that honestly, this scariest part of the whole movie for me was that well, this is everybody’s worst nightmare. They
Craig: were just lucky that that boy had happened to have his throat cut seconds before because had, had, he just happened to have been crossing the road. They would’ve been guilty of homicide, like yep.
Um, but, uh, they’re able the Burt, you know, being a doctor, examines him and says something isn’t right here, that boy’s throat was cut. So they’re able to alleviate their guilt a little bit. Like we didn’t really kill him. He was, he was pretty much dead anyway. So,
Todd: but to their credit, they had to do something about it.
So, you know, they know that they gotta get this body somewhere and they gotta grab, and they
Craig: know that something’s wrong. Mm-hmm because Burt also finds the bloody, uh, suitcase, which is a ways back in the corn mm-hmm . So he knows that something bad had to have happened. And he knows that blood clots within four minutes, and this was still fresh.
So it had only recently happened. And so whoever did this had to have been nearby and we actually see, um, the character of Malachi played by Courtney Gaines approach. The car in a really menacing way. And then we see Sarah get out of the car and she’s, um, scared and calling for Bert. And she goes over to Joseph’s body.
And Joseph is under a blanket, but his corpse sits up and lunges at her. At which point she wakes up in the car. It was all a dream. Yeah. But, well, not all, but just the, the part with the boy sitting up and they did actually hit the boy. I feel like at this point, since I’ve mentioned him twice, we should talk about Malachi.
Yeah. Malachi, the little creepy one. Isaac is creepy. Malachi is scary. Yeah, because he just seems. Sadistic. He seems to enjoy hurting people and killing people. He’s played by a guy named Courtney Gaines. He’s this redheaded guy who, if you were watching movies in the eighties, you’ll recognize him. He actually played a really sweet character in, um, can’t buy me love.
He was, uh, Uh, Patrick Dempsey’s best friend in that movie. Cute sweet nerdy kind of character in this movie. When I was a kid, he scared me to death. Mm. Like, I was so scared of this kid. And I read that he got, he won the role because in casting, he somehow got a hold of a prop knife and held one of the casting assistant hostage with it.
Todd: Yeah. Like what that’s in, like, I wouldn’t cast that kid. I’d arrest him. like, that’s crazy.
Craig: Right. But he, but he is really, really scary in this movie. And he says, it’s actually one of the things that from his career brings him the most joy that people were so menaced by this character and this performance and that he continues.
People continue to tell him how freaked out they were. And he takes a lot of pride in that. But anyway, so now they’ve got this dead kid, they throw him in the trunk and they’ve got a, they, they just want help. Yeah. The closest town is Gatlin. It’s only supposed to be like four miles away, but they, they hit a gas station first and of course the gas station guy is like, what
Todd: you want to
Craig: do is to go to Heming for about 19 miles down that
Fourth there. What about Gatland? Galine there ain’t nothing
Craig: in Galine. You mean there ain’t nothing in Gatland. Well, folks in Gatland
Todd: got religion, they don’t co the
Craig: outsiders and they probably won’t have a phone there, either SAR, Mr. I like to stay here and
Todd: shoot the breeze with you about politics and stuff, but I got a transmission to fix
Craig: and you get on that right fork there.
And you have been hemming Ford in no. Right. Coincidentally Heming for is also the town that all of the people in the stand were being drawn to. Oh, interesting. There are all these, there are all these connections in Steven King’s work, which is another thing that I like a, about reading him because he gives you all these little Easter eggs for his, I don’t remember what he calls us, his loyal readers or whatever.
He calls us. We come to find out that the, the gas station guy is, uh, he he’s basically, he’s not under the influence of the kids, but he’s threatened
Todd: by them. Yeah. He’s kind of cut a deal. Yeah. He’s like the only adult around, right. Who, uh, Uhhuh, who they’ve, they’ve allowed to stick around to order to, in order to redirect people away from Gatlin.
Right. And he’s got a D he’s such a typical Stephen King character, right? He’s the, yep. He’s the good old boy, you know, down home mechanic guy out by himself and is only companion is his dog. And he loves his dog named Sarge. And he’s talking to his dog, but. You know, almost like, um, I, I, I think the idea here is that this was foretold.
This was FD to happen anyway. Mm-hmm, so no matter, you know, he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, he’s leading them away to the town. He’s doing a fine job away from the town. He’s doing a fine job of it. They even go, okay, they leave and they have every intention to going to not Gatlin. Right. But at the same time, the clouds are kind of rolling in and there’s a big breeze or the corn, you can see this storm coming up and you know, the dog is barking.
He’s at the corn he’s barking. And the guy’s just like, gets a sense of, uh, oh, you know why he’s shouting at the corn at people who aren’t there, but he assumes are watching him. I told him I did everything you told me to do. He’s starting to feel menaced at the same time. The couple’s driving down the road.
Even though they’re heading toward hemming, heard the signs for Gatlin are saying three miles away, two miles away, one mile away. And they’re like, somebody must be messing with these signs.
Craig: Well, and, and somehow they get lost and somehow they end up in the corn. That’s
Todd: so weird. Right? Like I
Craig: watch this they’re on a highway, my God.
And then all of a sudden they’re like on these dirt roads that aren’t even roads like literal dirt. Dick even says that this isn’t even a road. Right. Like, it’s just, I don’t understand how they ended up in the cornfield. I think it’s supposed, I think the suggestion is supposed to be that this supernatural entity is drawing them there.
Yeah. Like you said, this is faded or destiny or prophesy or whatever, because, uh, Sarah, the one who has these prophetic drawings, um, she has drawn. Their car and, you know, figures of them arriving in the town. They had been trying to keep the fact that she could predict the future. They had been trying to keep that from Isaac and Malachi, but Malachi catches them playing.
He finds the drawing. He delivers them to Isaac, Isaac sees it and says, well, it’s, it’s the prophecy. These outliers are going to come in. Um, and we’re gonna have to deal with them and, and sacrifice them. And so it seems like this is all faded or whatever, and, and that they kind of can’t get out of it.
They, they end up just kind of going in a big circle. They end up back at the gas station and the guy’s like, you know what? , we’re just gonna go to Gatlin. Yeah. It’s closest. We, we can’t find the other one. We’re just gonna go
Todd: there. Can we talk about Sarah and job for a second? I, I think there’s a problem here.
I think it, it doesn’t help the movie tonally that Sarah and job, I guess for three years have. Somehow we faded the rest of the kids just by staying in their own home. Well,
Craig: no, I, I think that they are part of the kid community. I think that they just don’t agree with Isaac’s leadership. And so I think they just kind of go along with it, but, and they sneak off, they sneak off to their family home to do things that are forbidden,
Todd: like, like paint and draw,
Craig: play games to paint and draw and play games and listen to music.
Yeah. Those things are all forbidden. So they, so they are outwardly defying Isaac and Malachi’s
Todd: orders. But I don’t understand why Malachi then sort of discovered them. I mean, what was he, was he just hunting for them for some reason? I don’t know. He didn’t know. I mean, I felt like
Craig: Malachi, he seems to have it out for them.
For some reason I felt like
Todd: Malachi, like the, the implication, the movie is Malachi discovers them hiding out in their home. Yeah. Because there’s no other reason, you know, for him to have. been in there and grabbed them and taken them to Isaac, cuz cuz he’s taken the Isaac. Like what do you want me to do with these?
Should I, should I do something to him? Should I whatever. And Isaac’s like, punish go let them go. Right.
Craig: Yeah. Which makes Malachi mad. Right. He makes him, he doesn’t understand why they’re not being punished for do for disobeying.
Todd: Yeah. And I think honestly like it they’re too cute and blase Uhhuh, you know?
Yeah. Oh, they’re very blase. So this movie, like the horrible things that are going on, they’re they’re, they’ve been three years, supposedly disagreeing potentially in hiding from this murderous they’re murderous peers in this city where their parents and all the other adults have been killed and they’re just like, oh, I’m gonna draw some pictures.
Oh whatever. And, and even the very unfortunate, I think narration like in the beginning of the movie. Yeah. It’s so sing songs. Yeah. It feels weird. Like, oh, you know, it happened on this day, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes that can be. Unsettling itself in this movie, it just feels dumb and outta place and weird.
It, it, it kind of takes everything down a couple notches, you know, like I said, when this couple finally gets to the town and they’re stumbling around emptiness, you feel like, oh God, there should be like sinister things around every corner, but there just isn’t. And I feel the same way about these kids.
Like, well, if these kids are just allowed to be themselves and play dress up and draw drawings and, you know, not really reflect upon or try to escape the fact that their parents and everybody have been killed and their, they don’t agree with all these murderous kids around them with this freaky religion, like.
It can’t all be that bad. Can it
Craig: well, and that’s a, you know, job, um, narrates the first 15 minutes of the movie and then they drop that convention entirely. Yeah. That
Todd: never happens again. You expect it never happens again at the end, at least. Right. As a bookend or something, but no, right.
Craig: Yeah. No. I mean, and now we’re talking, you know, up to this point, we’re probably about a half an hour into this hour and a half long movie.
And they finally arrive in GA. And initially, like you said, it is very spooky because it’s like a ghost town. Um, but we see all of these kids lurking in shadows, lurking around corners, lurking, you know, in hiding spots. Like the, the, the couple goes into the diner that we had seen earlier and they think they’re alone, but we see that there are kids lurking and they have weapons and things, and they come back out and some teenagers are messing with their car.
And so they, they get in the car and chase the teenagers, but the teenagers have invaded them. And I actually did find the atmosphere of that. The rundown ghost town occupied by these sinister lurking kids. I did find that to be very creepy for five minutes. Yeah, the problem is it goes on for the next 40 minutes.
Yeah. And it’s a lot of the same. For, for the next 40 minutes when they can’t find anybody, they go, they say, they’re gonna leave. They’re gonna try to go to hemming for again. But they drive by job and SA uh, Sarah’s house. Um, and they see movement, they see the door closed or something. So they stop there, they go inside, they find Sarah, she can’t really tell them anything.
They ask her questions and she gives them direct answers. But with no context. So like where are, where are your parents in the cornfield? Uh, are they having a meeting? No, like right. That’s just, that’s just where all the adults are. Isaac put them there. Who’s Isaac. Uh, he’s the leader. yeah. Who are you afraid of?
Malachi. Like she gives direct answers, but without any explanation, so they don’t know what’s going on, like a fricking. Burt looks out the window and sees town hall and says, you know what, Sarah I’m just, or not Sarah Vicky, I’m gonna leave you here. with the little girl and I’m gonna go check out town hall and she’s like, wait, is it safe?
And he’s like, oh yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s weird. But it’s definitely, definitely safe. Right? I know like I’m 100% confident that everything is fine.
And so he goes there, she stays at the house, eventually Malachi and a group of teenagers show up, grab her, drag her out to the cornfield, tie her up to this corn, corn cross like a crucifixion or, you know, a erected her up next to this other cross that they had. They call the blue man. Call him the blue man.
Yeah, it’s a cop yeah, it’s a, which is really obvious. I remember in the short story. they talked about the blue man for a long time before you actually figured out what it was. Mm-hmm that it was a cop in uniform and then Bert visits, city hall.
Todd: I, I don’t know, man, like we’re buzzing through it because there’s not, I mean, right.
There’s so little, I think this movie is a much better concept than it is a story as a short story with limited space and limited time, it works really, really well because the concept hits you and you see a little bit of it play out and that’s it. And it’s done. But with this movie, it just, you gotta feel at least an hour and a half.
And so you get a lot of walking around and sinister kids poking around, but not doing anything and, and chasing, chasing is happening everywhere. And then meanwhile, the, the, I think again, it’s supposed to be sinister there’s he who walks behind the rose, like is, is written. You know, almost like a little Bible verse or something, you know, written on in maybe blood on the wall or drawn in the dust on a car, whatever.
But you look at the cornfield and it’s just there, right? Yeah. There’s no supernatural anything happening here at all. It’s just these two. Well, there are
Craig: little suggestions. There are little suggestions of the supernatural, but they’re kinda lame. They’re lame. The corn moves a little bit. The corn
The dude goes into the cornfield to, to go after Vicki and as he walks there, The two or three stalk of corn in front of him part a little bit. Now look, if that shit had happened to me, like right there in front of me, I’m not gonna step in between it and go further into the court field, but he does.
Craig: then, well, he has to, I
Todd: mean, he, he can just walk like the court doesn’t do anything else for a while, you know, like
Craig: yeah. After he, yeah. I mean, he gets chased around town for a long time by the kids with weapons, he interrupts their ritual. You know, one of their boys has turned 19 that day and is gonna be, you know, offer himself as a sacrifice or whatever.
And that, that scene is very creepy. That seems good. There’s one girl. Her name is Rachel. She’s a teenager. She’s kind of leading the ceremony and, um, that’s all very spooky. And in this moment he kind of lectures them about bastardizing, religion. That’s that’s
Todd: really silly and they’re, it’s really heavy handed.
It seems to work for a second, like the, oh, maybe he’s right. Like they never questioned this before. Right? Religion’s about love. You can’t follow religion. That’s not about love. You’re bastardizing it and oh, come on. Don’t be so trite here. Well,
Craig: there’s a little bit, there’s a little bit of it here. And then later there’s even more and it’s even more heavy handed.
Yeah. Um, but you know, like, so he kind of lectures them for a little while, but then Rachel kind of gets the better of them and stabs them, but he’s still able to run away then lots more chasing. Then I feel like the, the next major part is Malachi turns on Isaac. Now I felt like I remembered this being much more of a thing.
Like the, the dynamic between Isaac and Malachi and all of that, really Isaac is not a whole lot of a presence. No, he doesn’t have a whole lot to do
Todd: surprisingly. Yeah. He
Craig: barks some orders early on. But it becomes very clear, you know, pretty quickly that Malachi is beginning to question and defy him, sees him, punish him, cut him down.
I command you. I am the word. And the giver of his laws, disobedience to me is disobey to him. Do it now. Or your punishment shall be a thousand times a thousand deaths. It’s more horrible than the last they are. Tard of your talk. Isaac. I’ve shown them what I can do. Cut the woman down. Put Isaac in her place and all of the kids are just like, yeah, so, so they, so they cut Vicky down from the cross and put Isaac up on it and then they use Vicky to lure Burt out and it kind of all culminates when they all meet in the corn at dusk, when this, he, who walks behind the rose is supposed to show up, I guess, to accept his sacrifices.
Yeah. Um, and, and in the book, in the story, This is a monster it’s not described in detail, but it’s a big green monster with glowing red eyes. They couldn’t do it. They didn’t have the budget. So instead they kind of tried to make it an entity that could like control the corn and control the weather. And then maybe also it’s kind of like a OID.
Yeah. traveling under the
Todd: dirt. They’re trying hard. I mean, God bless them really Malachi pins, Isaac to a cross and lifts him up and birds out there. And then we get these cheesy animated effects on Isaac animated. Yellow ishness is like crawling up his body animated from the ground. And then he kind of explodes, I guess, in the whole, well, the,
Craig: the cross shoots out of the ground, like a firecracker.
That was cool. Right.
Todd: But it was, it was weird, but that’s out nowhere. And then that doesn’t culminate in any like, all right, you know, shoot the cross outta the ground as a firecracker. And then this entity is, I guess, taking a break while you know, the kids for a second. I mean, it, it just, it it’s like these things happen, but then there’s nothing more the entity.
And it’s more, these kids who could manage, it’s pretty to wipe out an entire town of their, of its adults, but cannot even chase down. One guy. Well,
Craig: right. These two guys and Bert just bursts in and grabs Vicky and, and pulls her out. Yeah. It’s, it’s nothing. And, um, it’s like, it’s nothing. And, um, this is where he gives a really heavy handed lecture about how true religion, you know, isn’t violent or spiteful.
It has to be based in the love like it’s.
Todd: But before he does that, after he is freed her, he looks at her, he goes, Vicky, get out of her. And she kinda looks at him and. Okay. And then she just leaves just leaves. And we don’t see her again for quite a while.
Craig: and this, this is the point where the story and the movie completely diverge from one another, because in the story, the kids keep Vicky on the cross, kill her and cut her eyeballs out stuff them
Todd: with corn and stuff.
Craig: And then Burt finds her. He gets killed by the monster. The, the, he who walks behind the rose and the kids cult just continues on. But for whatever reason, they are punished, I don’t know why they’re punished, but the, the, he who walks behind the rose, punishes them by changing it so that instead of having to sacrifice on their 19th birthday, they get one less year.
They have to start sacrificing on their 18th birthday. And that’s cool that, yeah. I mean, it’s dark, it’s a typical
Todd: bleak, dark Stephen King ending. I, I like that. Right. I
Craig: do too for a short story. It’s good. Yeah. For a movie. Hmm. Nah, I mean, it, it potentially, it could
Todd: work Bert tussles with Malachi, the seat kids, all of a sudden, seem to side with Bert, all of a sudden.
And then zombie, Isaac comes out of the right, the rose and grabs Malachi. And I guess he basically takes him out doesn’t he at this point? And he
Craig: just it’s very quick and very simple. And, uh, Courtney Gaines who played Malachi, this was his biggest disappointment because there was supposed to be a big climactic scene for his death.
But based on time and budget, they just had Isaac walk up to him, grab him by the neck and snap his. And it happens in a second. You barely even notice what happens if you’re not paying close attention, you wouldn’t even hear the snap and that’s it. You just never see them again. And all
Todd: these kids, you know, this cult of children that had taken over this town are just kids again, right?
Like they just Uhhuh. They just, they’re no longer threatening. They no longer have any aim or any, whatever. They just all run away with Bert suddenly. And they’re all hiding in a barn in, in a barn while the, you know, the weather is going and it’s like, oh, there’s insanity. I guess again, the, in the idea is he, he who he’s gonna unleash his wrath upon them or whatever.
And Bert flat out asks job, Hey, did any adult ever try to confront the Demonn before? And he’s like, yeah, that was the blue man. And yeah. And he was reading out of a page in a Bible and oh, by the way I have that page here is in my wallet. He pulls it out and hands it to. Uh, and, and so then from reading this circled Psalm or whatever, in there they did, he deducts that they need to burn the, the corn fields.
And once they burn the corn fields, this might kill it. So there’s this whole action sequence where they run out to the Gasa hall that the kids have been doing and try to get the thing fitted, but they don’t, they get a tube and they, they
Craig: hook it up to the irrigation system,
Todd: hook it up to the irrigation system so they can burn the whole field while he’s running out.
By the way, through the cornfield, doing all this in the cornfield, he gets attacked by three stalk of corn by the corn. Yeah. Yeah. and it, at first it looks all evil, dead style. Like the corn’s rapping around him and all that, but it’s like three stalk of corn, which then two kids come over and just pull off of him and he stands up like, well, that was weird and continues to do what he was doing before.
Amongst all the corn, you know, it’s just, it’s just lame.
Craig: It’s just lame. I know. And they, they get, they get the gas sprayed all over through the irrigation system and then he makes like a Molotov cocktail and throws it. But not far enough, I guess. So job runs and retrieves it and brings it back to him is like here, throw it again, but do it right this time.
right. Mean, meanwhile, the underground entity is like chasing them. I read online how they did that effect. We’re running short on time. Um, but you can read online how they did that effect. It was actually very practical and cool.
Todd: It’s a grab type effect. Yeah. Uhhuh.
Craig: But, uh, so, you know, he throws them all off cocktail.
The corn goes up in flames, there’s this terrible, terrible, like animation of the spirit of the monster. Like, oh, it was like going up in the flames.
Todd: It was like slipping into Japanese anime, you know, like eighties style, Japanese anime with this, this
Craig: it’s really, it was it’s really, really bad. Apparently that’s it.
And I wrote in my notes and then the happy family walks away, Vicky and Bert and, uh, the job and Sarah walk away and they walked back to their car and, and this was not in the original script. They decided to do it at the end for one of, for one last jump scare. and Linda Hamilton went to, uh, the director I think, and said, we know the car is disabled.
Why would we walk back to the car? That’s stupid. And the response she got was, yeah, we want the audience to think you’re stupid.
so they walked back to the disabled car for no reason. And then I don’t remember why, but Burt gets in the car just like retrieve something. And Rachel, the scary teenage girl pops up behind him with a knife for one last jump scare. And she could have very easily killed him, but instead she shouts and he turns around and grabs her and knocks her out.
And there’s a funny line. He’s like, she’s out cold. And he’s like, what should we do? And Vicky’s like, we’ll send her a get well card from. Seattle or wherever it is they’re going. And it’s, it’s the end is so corny. Cuz the cute little kids are there and they’re like, giggling, like this was a fun night and um, what are we gonna do with these kids?
And they look at like, how would you like to come live with us for a night? And then Vicky’s like, or how about a week or how about a month? And they all giggle and laugh and walk off down the road together. Like they are just going to be this little happy family, the other kids. Right. like
Todd: there, there are, there are two things that I, I just have to, I have to ask.
I know there are no good answers for this, but number one, how did this town without adults manage to stay hidden. For so long, did none of these adults have any friends or other family members or relatives that wondered where they were and came to look for them for three years? And the second thing I wondered about is, look, this corn’s gotta be harvested at one point, right.
Especially if they’re gonna make their gas. Aha. That means that this field is going to be completely bare and has been at least three times what happens to he who walks behind the rose when he doesn’t have cornstalk to hide behind anymore? Yeah. You know, I don’t know. It’s not a sinister in the.
Craig: Yeah, gosh, you know, I, I, I remembered this movie fondly, me too.
Todd: was really looking forward to watching this actually.
Craig: Yeah. And, and it started out okay. You know, I was on board for the first half hour or so, but really once they get to the town, I was just like, God, this is slow. Like nothing is really happening. And then the climax is just really corny. It’s a mess.
Todd: It’s a mess.
Craig: Greg. Yeah. It’s, it’s not good. It’s unfortunate. Uh, you know, maybe that just said maybe kids would still find it really creepy. Uh, I don’t
Todd: know, maybe, but children would find children of the corn creepy perhaps.
Craig: Yeah, I guess, but you know, oddly enough, this, um, film has spawned more. Sequels than any other Stephen King property.
If I remember correctly, I think there are 11 follow up films. There’s a, um, a, a horror anthology that has a children of the corn story in it. That is considered cannon, I guess. Yeah. I don’t know. And they went off, they went off in all kind of weird directions. Um, some of them take place like in the city and like, there’s a, like I said, there was a remake.
Um, there’s a, I think the most recent one was a prequel. I kept up with them for a while. Did you, um, back back, well, back in the video store days. Yeah. Um, when a new one would just pop up on the shelves, uh, I kept up with them. They were all bad. They were all terrible. Well,
Todd: we have a bit of inside information on this because every, I, you know, I was going around the internet.
I was trying to, you know, get people’s different commentaries on this. And almost everybody says, oh my God, there’s so many sequels. And why? Because they’re all. Dreadfully boring and, and nobody can figure out why, but we had bill Oberst Jr. On here. And, uh, he told us why. He said the reason they keep making children to the corn movies is because whoever the right holder is, has to do a new children of the corn movie every couple years, or else they lose the rights to it.
And so they just throw these together. And he said, one of the more recent ones that were done actually was rejected. It, it came back and said, look, the series is children of the corn. In this movie, you have neglected to provide the two most basic elements that are required of a children of the corn movie.
There are no children and there is no corn. So if you can so they had to actually re-shoot scenes add scenes into the movie to add children and corn. Uh, just to satisfy their requirement of making it a children of the corn movie. Yeah. That’s how lazy it’s gotten while I was doing this research. Also, I saw that Stephen King had something to say about it too.
And I just wanted to read his quote here. He said children of the corn has generated more awful sequels than any other story in my UOI there’s children of the corn, two, three, and four, at least possibly more. I eventually lost count if my internet connection weren’t down. As I write this I’d check and see if there wasn’t even a children of the corn in space.
I almost think there was . I, the only one I was really rooting for was children of the corn meet Lecan because I wanted to hear that little Lecan guy shouting. Give me back me corn. I mean his cute little IR checks
oh, but I don’t. I, I feel like we’re just gonna leave the series here though. Oh yeah. I absolutely feel no compulsion. I’m glad we touched upon the series so that we could talk about it and thank you patrons for pointing it out to us and yeah, I hope we’re not disappointing. Those of you who really wanted us to dive into this
Craig: well, no, that’s just what I was gonna say.
If, if, if there are any of you out there who are children of the corn fans and there is a standout sequel, um, like maybe Isaac’s return is interesting or something like if there, if there is one or if there are a couple that really stand out, let us know. Cuz I would, at least I would watch them whether or not we did them for the podcast.
I’d be interested in seeing if there were any that were worthwhile. I don’t remember any of the ones I saw being any good, but um, I think it’s about time. We got around to talking about the franchise, unfortunately. Uh, I, I can’t really recommend it. Unless you’re just kind of a Stephen King completist in the, in which case, you know, whatever, it’s only an hour and a half long, but, um, it’s really not very good.
Todd: really not. Well, thank you anyway, patrons for suggesting this we’re glad that we touched upon it. If you would like to become a patron of our podcast, go to patreon.com/chainsaw podcast. You can also find a link, uh, to there from our webpage, which is 2guys.red40net.com. Leave a comment about this episode or any of the other episodes that we’ve done.
See our back catalog. Uh, we’re available there. We’re available everywhere. Podcasts are. Um, we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your suggestions of movies to do next. And we want to hear what you had to say about this episode and share us with your friends until next time. I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two Guy and a Chainsaw.
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