Children of the Corn – USA, 1984

‘An adult nightmare.’

Children of the Corn is a 1984 American horror feature film directed by Fritz Kiersch from a screenplay by George Goldsmith (Blue Monkey aka Insect), based on the 1977 short story of the same name by Stephen King. The Gatlin production stars Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, R.G. Armstrong, John Franklin and Courtney Gains.

Jonathan Elias (Leprechaun 2; Grave Secrets; Parents; Vamp) provided the soundtrack score.

Film rights were originally optioned by Hal Roach Studios, and Stephen King wrote a screenplay based on his own short story. However, Hal Roach executives rejected King’s script and George Goldsmith was hired to rewrite it. Goldsmith has said King’s script started with 35 pages of lead characters Burt and Vicky arguing in their car.

After the release of Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992) and the series’ acquisition by Dimension Films, subsequent sequels were released directly to video, and bore little to no narrative continuity, beginning with Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995). In 2009, a television remake of the original film aired on the Syfy network. A sequel to Children of the Corn: Genesis and tenth overall, titled Children of the Corn: Runaway, was released on March 13, 2018.

Plot:

As physician Burt Stanton (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend, Vicky (Linda Hamilton), drive across the Midwest to his new job, their trip comes to a sudden halt when they encounter the body of a murdered boy in the road. In trying to contact the authorities, Burt and Vicky wander into a small town populated only by children, followers of sinister young preacher Isaac Chroner (John Franklin). Soon the couple is fleeing the youthful fanatics, who want to sacrifice them to their demonic deity….

Reviews [contains spoilers]:

“Though definitely an imperfect film thanks to some blatant padding (lots of driving and walking around here), iffy acting at times, and a very underwhelming monster reveal during the climax, Children of the Corn is an oddly haunting and potent film with its ferocious religious angle (delivered by children, of course) giving it quite a bit of punch.” Mondo Digital

“As happens too often in fiction of this sort, the resolution fails to top the buildup. There is one arbitrary resurrection from the dead, and when we finally do see He Who Walks Behind the Rows, it turns out to be He Who Burrows Between the Rows, like a gopher. Gophers, even satanic ones, aren’t terribly intimidating.” Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“The story might have been more chilling if there were no supernatural element, but as it is this is a fairly strong entry into the stream of King adaptations, which is mostly down to its trappings rather than its narrative.” The Spinning Image

“A late lurch from Lord of the Flies-ish mass psychosis to silly supernatural SPFX topples the film into total cornetto.” Anne Billson, Time Out Film Guide

“Had the film stayed away from special effects at the end and kept to the idea of a religious cult it would have been a far more satisfying ending. As it is, it gives the impression that the kids actually knew something we didn’t and maybe weren’t so mental after all… a pretty weak end to a fantastic story.” That Was a Bit Mental

” …by the time “He Who Walks Behind The Rows” awakens and the corn comes to life, the whole thing starts to seem too — well, corny to take very seriously. Which would all be fine and good if Kiersch were playing things tongue-in-cheek throughout, but given that he opts for the straight-forward approach, the film’s “climactic” final act just comes off as being uninspired at best, embarrassing at worst.” Trash Film Guru

“Considering that Children of the Corn is a thirty page short by King just goes to show how dedicated Kiersch must have been to stretching it out to a full length feature film. No mean feat, I’m sure you’ll agree. As far as gory moments go, there are some, but […] they’re mainly ‘off screen’ which only adds to the atmosphere.” UK Horror Scene

Cast and characters:

  • Peter Horton … Burt
  • Linda Hamilton … Vicky
  • R.G. Armstrong … Diehl
  • John Franklin … Isaac
  • Courtney Gains … Malachai
  • Robby Kiger … Job
  • Anne Marie McEvoy … Sarah (as AnneMarie McEvoy)
  • Julie Maddalena … Rachel
  • Jonas Marlowe … Joseph
  • John Philbin … Amos
  • Dan Snook … Boy
  • David Cowen … Dad
  • Suzy Southam … Mom
  • D.G. Johnson … Mr. Hansen
  • Patrick Boylan … Hansen’s customer
  • Elmer Soderstrom … Hansen’s customer
  • Teresa Toigo … Hansen’s customer
  • Mitch Carter … Radio preacher (voice)

Filming locations:

California, USA
Iowa, USA

Box office:

The movie took $14,568,989 at the US box office against a reported budget of $800,000. Strong video rentals ensured that a franchise was spawned.

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THE SHINING and JURASSIC PARK, Among Others, Join the National Film Registry

Year after year, we in the horror community continue to see our genre get the respect that it so rightfully deserves. Our films get nominated for, and sometimes win, awards. We remain some of the most profitable movies when looking at budget vs. box office. And over the past few years (and hopefully this is a trend that continues for a long, long time), we see some of Hollywood’s most respected and venerated stars choose to be a part of horror titles (Helen Mirren in Winchester, for example). We’ve been battered, we’ve been maligned, and we’ve been cast aside. But, much like zombies, we just keep coming back.

Some wonderful support for us comes this year as the United States National Film Registry from the Library of Congress has released this year’s entrants and both Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park have been added. An interesting aspect to these films is that they also fall under “derivative works still under copyright protection”, something the Library of Congress’ Alison Hall explains in her blog post about this year’s selections.

While Stephen King is notoriously known to abhor Kubrick’s adaptation of his novel, I think it’s fair to say that it still remains one of the most recognizable and popular horror films of all time. That it’s getting the attention and prestige it so rightfully deserves is a good thing, no matter which way you slice it. As for Jurassic Park, a movie about cloned dinosaurs ripping off Samuel L. Jackson’s arm has been deemed of having “…cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage.”

Hell. Yes.

Here’s the full list of the 25 films that were added to this year’s National Film Registry:
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Broadcast News (1987)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Cinderella (1950)
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
Dixon-Wanamaker Expedition to Crow Agency (1908)
Eve’s Bayou (1997)
The Girl Without a Soul (1917)
Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People (1984)
Hearts and Minds (1974)
Hud (1963)
The Informer (1935)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Monterey Pop (1968)
My Fair Lady (1964)
The Navigator (1924)
On the Town (1949)
One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
Pickup on South Street (1953)
Rebecca (1940)
The Shining (1980)
Smoke Signals (1998)
Something Good – Negro Kiss (1898)

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Ultimate ‘Dancing Clown Pennywise action figure

The Ultimate ‘Dancing Clown Pennywise action figure from NECA will be released in Q2 2019.

“From the acclaimed 2017 horror film IT, drawn from the pages of Stephen King’s original novel, NECA presents Pennywise: The Dancing Clown!

Based on Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of the nightmare-inducing clown, this 7″ scale figure has been painstakingly detailed to be as accurate to Pennywise’s ornate costume as possible, and is presented in an Ultimate format with special packaging and LED lights inside one of the heads. This version features 4 head sculpts, 3 of which are all-new heads: “Judith” Painting Head, “Emerging Arms” Head, and Light-Up “Deadlights” Head with LED light inside the mouth. The figure also includes interchangeable articulated insect arms, interchangeable forearms, and 2 pairs of hands.

The special window box packaging has a fold down flap in homage to the Dancing Clown scene from the film.”

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Someone Created a Hilarious Twitter Account for Carrie White

Some days, okay most days, social media can be a real downer. With nasty comments, mean-spirited memes, and a general lack of empathy for one’s fellow man, sometimes I question whether the whole exercise is actually worth it. Then, just when I think it’s time to give it up, become a recluse, and avoid all […]

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Stephen King In a Fight Over Rights to ‘The Mist’

You gotta fight…for your right…to Thaaaaaaaa Mist (and somewhere, Adam Yauch is cringing).

It seems that Stephen King is in a fight over the rights for his novella The Mist. The Mist, which was originally published in 1980 in the anthology book Dark Forces: New Stories of Suspense and Supernatural Horror and then in 1985 in King’s own book of short stories titled Skeleton Crew, has been made into a 2007 feature film directed by Frank Darabont and a 2017 television series for Spike TV.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the rights for the story were sold to Dimension Films who produced both the 2007 film and the 2017 television series. Dimension Films was a division of the Weinstein Co. which was owned by, you guessed it, Harvey Weinstein! Well, when the accusations against Mr. Weinstein broke, the companies assets were sold off in bankruptcy to a company named Lantern Capital Partners. As these sales can take some time, the sale was apparently closed quite recently and Lantern was under the impression that The Mist was one of the many titles now in their possesion.

Well, Stephen King’s lawyers say “nay”! According to them, the licensing agreement with Dimension (Weinstein) was actually up in June of 2017 and therefor reverted back to Mr. King, so Lantern could not have possibly acquired them when they gobbled up all of those Weinstein goodies. According to the WSJ, “a spokesman for Lantern said the firm doesn’t comment on pending litigation. A lawyer for Mr. King didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.”

We’ll certainly keep you posted on any more news regarding this fight for The Mist but it’s looking like we won’t be seeing any new adaptations any time soon!

 

Stay gory my friends.

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The Latest Horror Property Stuck in Legal Turmoil is THE MIST

In my recent retrospective of directors who have helmed multiple adaptations of Stephen King stories, I declared Frank Darabont the King (pun intended, obviously)! Not only are The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile both incredibly suspenseful and emotional, The Mist is often included on lists of the best horror movies of the 21st Century so far. The Mist is also a personal favorite of mine, as well, and I find it ironic that, while the film is divisive but harrowing, the TV series created by Christian Torpe was just terrible!

Related Article: Who Did It Best? These 10 Filmmakers All Directed Multiple Stephen King Movies

We’ve been giving a lot of coverage to the ongoing lawsuit between original Friday the 13th scribe and director, Victor Miller and Sean Cunningham respectively. It’s been a lengthy and often gut-wrenching drama and, unfortunately, The Mist may be the next horror property trapped in a legal quagmire. It’s all tied to the fall of Weinstein and whether or not rights to The Mist reverted back to Stephen King before or after the company’s collapse.

Related Article: After Winning Lawsuit, Victor Miller is Moving Forward with a FRIDAY THE 13TH Reboot at Vertigo

While Lantern Capital Partners bought up The Weinstein Company’s catalog when it went belly up, The Wall Street Journal has reviewed documents filed by attorneys on behalf of King wherein it’s maintained that the rights to the bestselling author’s novella were not part of the deal:

“In Tuesday’s filing, Mr. King’s attorney said Lantern informed the author in October that it didn’t intend to assume contracts related to the movie versions of The Mist and 1408, based on a short story. But Lantern said at the time that it did intend to hold onto the rights to The Mist, court papers say.”

Here’s hoping for a speedy resolution, and not because I’m in any hurry to see another remake of The Mist (especially after that TV series disaster). I really don’t want Lantern mucking around with it in any way. It feels much safer in King’s own hands and, let’s face it, writers deserve to have control over their works when contracts expire. King’s situation seems to be a byproduct of extremely bad timing.

Synopsis:
After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to gather food and supplies. Soon afterward, a thick fog rolls in and engulfs the town, trapping the Draytons and others in the grocery store. Terror mounts as deadly creatures reveal themselves outside, but that may be nothing compared to the threat within, where a zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) calls for a sacrifice.

Are you a fan of The Mist? What do you think about the lawsuit Stephen King has filed against Lantern Capital Partners? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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There’s Currently a Legal Battle Over the Rights to ‘The Mist,’ Which Stephen King Says He Now Owns

Both the 2007 movie and the 2017 TV series titled The Mist were of course adaptations of a Stephen King novella originally published back in 1980, and the ownership rights to that story are now being contested in a legal battle, Wall Street Journal informs us this week.

The movie and television series were produced by Dimension Films, a division of the Weinstein Company. Of course, the Weinstein Co. collapsed earlier this year in the wake of Harvey Weinstein being exposed as a total creep, and it was Lantern Capital Partners who swooped in to acquire Dimension’s assets. Which would include The Mist… right?

Therein lies the dilemma. According to a filing this week, King actually regained the rights to his novella in June 2017, his attorney says, *before* the collapse of the Weinstein Co.

Since the rights to the novella weren’t actually part of the package that Lantern Capital Partners scooped up, King’s representation says, he is now the sole owner of the story.

Wall Street Journal further explains, “In Tuesday’s filing, Mr. King’s attorney said Lantern informed the author in October that it didn’t intend to assume contracts related to the movie versions of “The Mist” and “1408,” based on a short story. But Lantern said at the time that it did intend to hold onto the rights to “The Mist,” court papers say.”

The future of any Mist-related projects, needless to say, hangs in the balance.

“Haunting of Hill House” Composers the Newton Brothers Will Score Mike Flanagan’s ‘Doctor Sleep’

Filming has wrapped on Mike Flanagan‘s Doctor Sleep, an adaptation of Stephen King’s same-named sequel to The Shining, and THR reports today that the Newton Brothers will re-team with Flanagan to compose the film’s score. The duo, whose real names are Andy Grush and Taylor Stewart, scored Gerald’s Game and “The Haunting of Hill House.”

The Shining is such an impressive piece of work in all forms, and Doctor Sleep picks up from that in such a brilliant way. Stephen King is incomparable,” the Newton Brothers said in a statement. “Working with Mike is an incredible honor every time. The material he works with, the stories he tells and adapts, the talent, the crew, the producers … everyone involved brings their A-game every time and it inspires us to create the absolute best score for the film that we possibly can. It’s humbling to be on this team.”

Carl Lumbly was recently tapped to play Dick Hallorann with Alex Essoe playing Wendy Torrance in the continuation of the storyline from The ShiningKyliegh Curran has been cast in the role of Abra Stone, a girl who has the gift of ‘The Shining’. Bruce Greenwood plays the role of Dr. John. Alyn Lind is Snakebite Andi, with Jocelin Donahue also starring.

Jacob Tremblay, Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson also star. McGregor stars as the adult version of Danny Torrance, while Ferguson plays Rose the Hat.

Flanagan rewrote Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 novel that picks up the life of the Redrum kid when he is in his 40s and struggling with the same demons of anger and alcoholism that plagued his father.

Doctor Sleep hits theaters on Jan. 24, 2020.

Stephen King’s ‘IT: Chapter Two’ Tweet Alerts Fans

Stephen King has a lot of adaptations on everyone’s radar, but IT: Chapter 2 is without a doubt one of the most highly anticipated of next year. IT (2017) was a major box office success, and we’re waiting anxiously to see if the sequel will succeed where the original mini-series failed. The second half featuring […]

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Stephen King Tweet Suggests Trailer for IT: CHAPTER TWO is Coming Soon

2017 was a huge year for Stephen King movies, exemplified by the trifecta that was IT, Gerald’s Game, and 1922. While King Fever cooled a bit in 2018, expect it to reach epidemic proportions in 2019 with Pet Sematary arriving in April and IT: Chapter Two hitting theaters in September. While we’ve already gotten our first trailer for Pet Sematary, we haven’t seen any official promotional footage from IT: Chapter Two, which just wrapped principal photography in Toronto last October.

While it might be naïve to expect to see a trailer for IT: Chapter Two anytime soon, a late afternoon tweet by Stephen King yesterday has fans speculating that something big may be coming down the pike. Whatever the case, he’s gotten legions of followers riled up with just five words: “IT CHAPTER 2 is coming.”

It would be cruel for The King of Horror to toy with our emotions, but then again, it’s kind of what he does for a living! Whatever King’s tweet means, we’ll be keeping our ears to the ground in order to bring you all IT: Chapter Two-related news as details emerge. Stay tuned! In the meantime, revisit the synopsis and trailer for 2017’s IT below.

Synopsis:
Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise.

It and IT: Chapter Two are directed by Andy Muschietti from scripts penned by Gary Dauberman; the films stars Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, and Finn Wolfhard.

Are you excited to see IT: Chapter Two next year? What do you think Stephen King’s tweet means? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

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