There are many people who feel that the religious indoctrination of children is a form of abuse, so much so that many groups advocate for it to be against the law, to mold a child’s susceptible mind around unfounded beliefs which will impact every decision they ever make. While religious indoctrination is much-debated but so far unregulated, one thing that isn’t in debate is that religious ideologies from any belief system can fuel some of the most corrupt and dangerous minds. Based on the riveting short story, Children of the Corn is a terrifying look at just how deadly the combination of cult rhetoric and malleable children can be.
In the small (fictional) town of Gatlin, Nebraska, an agricultural community filled with Bible-thumpers and corn fields, the people experience a bad harvest and agree that prayer is needed to save their crops and their community. Isaac (John Franklin), a seemingly devout Christian 12-year-old, is allowed to hold “church” services for all of the children in the corn fields, but unbeknownst to their parents, he’s not using the “Good Book” to teach them about Jesus, but to indoctrinate them into a Devil-worshiping cult for “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”. Whoops! Job (Robby Kiger) and his sister, Sarah (Anne Marie McEvoy), the only children who weren’t given permission by their parents to attend Isaac’s services, are the only ones who don’t participate when the rest of the town’s children murder every single adult in Gatlin, save the old mechanic.
With the adults out of the way, the children continue to worship the malevolent entity, and both Isaac and his right-hand man, Malachi (Courtney Gains), ensure that those who aren’t willing participants are at least frightened into submission. They control the town with an iron fist, with He Who Walks Behind the Rows ever ready to help them punish insubordination, until Vicky and Burt (Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton) find themselves on the wrong stretch of road at the right time and make an unexpected stop in town.
Now, Children of the Corn is scary for sure, but it’s one of the Whitest horrors of all time. Can you even imagine a world where religious Black or Brown children are allowed to host their own separate, unsupervised services? Far-fetched, right? And then the little hellions are running around committing mass murder? Seriously?! Do you really believe that a bunch of children of colour could run up in a church with knives and farming tools and shit (not even guns, people!) and that adults of equal number and greater strength would just allow themselves to be killed? We can’t fight off 7-12 year olds now, grown people?! That idea alone is even more far-fetched than “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”.
The absolute perfect mixture of religion, supernatural, evil, and creepy ass White kids, Children of the Corn (as a stand-alone film, remake, and franchise) can take you from scary to funny and back again. Though incredibly dated and filled with actors that no one has ever seen again, this film is just as entertaining now as it ever was. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving!
I give this one 3.75 stars.