Netflix offers some of the best horror movies, and Stephen King’s Children of the Corn deserves to be on that list. Stephen King is known as the master of horror, and many movies based on his work came out in the ’80s: The Shining, Christine, Cujo, The Dead Zone, and Children of the Corn, among many others. Between being chased by a Cyborg in The Terminator, and trying to survive a town of evil children, Linda Hamilton had a terrifying year in 1984. Though largely rejected by critics, this Stephen King tale has a high rating on Netflix and continues to delight horror fans.
Initially, Stephen King wrote the original draft of the screenplay which focused more on the rising of the evil children. But decision makers decided to go with a script by George Goldsmith, which focused more on violence. Chances are King’s screenplay would have been better since he is the master of horror. But the version we have is still a classic.
This story of the macabre is about a remote town that only children inhabit because they killed all of the adults. A young couple stumbles upon the town, and they try to survive the evil kids led by Isaac. Newer fans of the genre may not be able to appreciate the eeriness of this Stephen King film. Modern horror movies on Netflix, like Final Destination 3, rely primarily on special effects to make the film a success. Classic horror movies relied on storytelling, tone, and music to create terror.
The infamous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho wouldn’t be as scary without the violins playing over Janet Leigh’s screams. Michael Myers wouldn’t be as creepy without the famous music composed by John Carpenter; it’s practically a horror movie anthem. And this Stephen King movie wouldn’t be as terrifying without the eerie musical chants heard throughout the movie.
Like many horror movies on Netflix, there is a cheesy quality to this Stephen King film. But the cheesiness is part of the movie’s charm, and it is overshadowed by suspense and sheer horror. Isaac is simply mentioned when talking about horror movie icons like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, or Michael Myers. A kid dressed in Amish apparel that leads a cult of children to murder, deserves to be on the list.
The setting of this movie is especially creepy. A New York Times review from 1984 sets the tone for one of the best horror movies on Netflix.
“In Children of the Corn, which opens today at Loews State and other theaters, Mr. King pursues an obsession he shares with a number of other writers of the macabre, including Ray Bradbury and Saki (H. H. Munro), that is, that children, either singly or traveling in packs, are not to be trusted with anything sharp and pointed or blunt and heavy…
“Especially effective is the film’s physical look. Shot in Iowa, which passes for Nebraska, the film is full of beautifully evocative, broad, flat, sun-baked landscapes, in which even cornfields are made to seem menacing.”
This Stephen King horror film provides some truly suspenseful scenes. The character of Burt, the male grownup being chased around the town, will put Netflix audiences on the edge of their seat. And Linda Hamilton’s character crucified on a cross of corn is as creepy as Isaac’s voice. The supernatural element that enters at the end of the movie really adds to the story. At the time, many people wanted an explanation for “the thing that moves behind the rows.” But like many modern horror movies, no explanation is needed or is given. The ambiguity of “the thing” adds to the horror.
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Horror movies on Netflix are often B-movies that are poorly executed with bad acting; Stephen King’s Children of the Corn is executed with great poise, the acting is believable, and the story is truly terrifying.
[Featured Image by New World Pictures]