This is my submission for Forgotten Films’ 1984 blogathon. When I chose to do this blogathon, I was looking for a challenge. A Challenge that would allow me to get to know what film was like in 1984, one of those film years that people talk about as being one of the great ones. What I got from this movie was more than a challenge, but a bumbling fear of red-headed children and a wonderous why me that crept in about halfway through the movie.
An arrogant and frankly unlikable medical resident and his fiance are traveling to an internship across the country. He travels down unfamiliar roads and stops to get directions. Only after a long and annoying exchange with an old repair man, do they find the right road. But this road leads to a small abandoned town. As they travel down this road, they hit a man. The medical resident goes into action trying to figure out what went wrong when he realized that this man “was dead before he even entered the road” (Yes he does say that and yes that is impossible. He may be dying but a dead person can not walk in front of your car unless they are a zombie and there are no zombies in this picture… At least no intentional zombies.) They load the dead man into a trunk and bring them to a ghost town. But this ghost town is not what they thought. It is full of young kids who have killed all of the adults. These kids terrorize them as the two adults try to find help for the dead man and eventually for themselves. The kids all listen to a young prodigy clergyman named Isaac. He preaches doom and peril for anyone that enters the corn. He also tells everyone that once they reach eighteen, they will be sent to this creature in the corn to die. He has a red-headed henchman named Malachai who does all of his bloody work for him which include terrorizing this medical resident and his fiance by putting corn on their car. Things escalate and the film devolves into a race against time type horror film where the medical resident must save his fiance, all of the children of the town and himself from this creepy and poorly animated presence in the corn.
Just a forewarning I have not read the Stephen King short story this movie is based on. I have however read his comments on this adaptation saying that it was the worst adaptation of his work he has ever seen. I couldn’t agree with him more. This movie is terrible from top to bottom. There is no real suspense, the medical resident is a flat and boring cypher that can’t even muster enthusiasm when his fiance is doing a sexy dance for him, and each event is played for intense horror when it is really comedy. I grew up surrounded by corn fields. I know that they are actually very scary at night and that during the summer you don’t want to be caught in them because it is hard to find your way out. There is a reason that corn mazes are popular around Halloween. But this movie makes corn fields and even terrible children just down right silly. And it is all because of the inclusion of a real monster that lives in the corn. If they had turned it into the children that were doing all of the killing including the ritual killings and Isaac was just crazy it would have been more menacing. But introducing a monster that has no personality or real presence until halfway through the movie just seems like a cop-out. I guess I am a fan of a human horror film as opposed to a supernatural one. Or I just find them more creepy.
I can understand why someone would watch this movie to get a good laugh. The dialogue is almost completely terrible. The horrible acting skills of all the children and most of the adults is fascinating to watch. Each choice that was made was completely wrong. Much like the Room. The only difference between the Room and this movie is that they decided to make sequels to the original. What else is there to explore in this terrible universe? How many times can someone scream at a dead field full of corn before it just becomes repetitive? And most importantly how much more money can you give to the guy who plays Malachai to convince him to not dye his hair? These are all questions that were probably answered ten times over in the millions of sequels this terrible movie spawned. It is too bad that I will never truly know the answers to them.