Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

Happy New Year, everyone!

I celebrated the New Year in the usual way......a movie, chicken wings, and a blueberry martini.....however, towards the end of Superbad, someone in the house developed what appears to have been a 24 hour stomach virus (hint: it wasn't me and it wasn't the kitties) that ended our normal celebration and postponed the screening of our second feature, King Kong in Blu-ray.

I wanted to start the first day of the New Year off the right way, so I did the only thing that made sense....I watched Children of the Corn in Blu-ray.

After reading on the box that it was the 25th anniversary (!) of COTC, I remembered that the first place I saw it was at the movies. After it came out on VHS, I saw the movie quite a few times - since my mom owned a video store, it was a popular request among my friends. I always thought it was creepy and somewhat scary - especially the first time I saw it. But I must have gotten my fill of it then, because I don't believe I've seen it in almost 20 years -and I've never even owned a copy of it.

I'm not going to actually review COTC - because honestly, I don't think there's much point. If you're reading this blog, I'm fairly sure you've seen it and you've formed your own opinion. I can't say now that I think COTC is a great movie - it was more interesting to me that I didn't notice its flaws as a kid, and also I think it's a good representation of what we thought was scary back in 1984.

Although watching COTC when it's 25 years old is, of course, an entirely different experience than it was when I was a kid. It's more interesting to me to compare what I thought of the characters and situations as a kid to what I think of them 25 years later.

Let the first list of 2010 begin!

1. The Kool-Aid Drinkers
The nameless kids in the background who are either carrying around scythes or sitting in the cornfield listening to Issac's sermons always unnerved me. After all, they decided to follow his orders to kill their parents, so apparently they were pretty willing to do anything he asked. After all, a cult leader's only as powerful as the number of people he has willing to carry out his bidding.

But in 2010, all I could think was, are we out of soap and water down on the farm? Issac, Malachi, and the two little cute kids are all squeaky cleaned and shiny haired, while everyone else has some form of dirt smudges about their face and hands. Dirt smudges that also seemed strategically placed and therefore even more annoying - every time Issac's followers were featured, all I could focus on was what the reasoning was behind making the Corn Kids dirty. (Is it because with no moms, you don't have someone who's going to do the 'spit and scrub' thing on your face?)

2. Scary (?) Kids
Back in 1984, the Demonic Dream Team of Issac and Malachi really creeped me out.

In 2010, they strike me not so much as scary, but (forgive me for saying this) ugly. And not just them - besides the little cute kids, none of the children of the corn are especially attractive. I'm happy to report that Courtney Gains (Malachi) is on the DVD extras, and he's managed to grow into a much more attractive adult in the last 25 years....(sorry dude, no offense, but talk about your 'awkward years!')

3. Issac
Oh, Issac. You really freaked me out 25 years ago. All that Holy Roller and Corn talk (mixed with a good dose of Satan) was scary back then.

I also know now (and didn't realize then) that John Franklin was not a kid, but a 23 year old with a growth deficiency. Which probably made a lot of sense in choosing him back then .......but all I could think now was that while Franklin was not so much menacing as he instead appeared to be channeling the Goth version of Liza Minnelli.

Especially when we have the very short scene involving 'Issac's lair'....a place very creepily decorated with various corn artworks, stones, and sticks -all I could envision was Issac decorating his creepy castle with comments like : 'Yes, put that corn cob and stick artwork on the wall above the big looks faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous!'

And speaking of corn cob art....

4. Arts and Crafts:

I appreciate the addition of all of the crosses, bowls, and various other accoutrements made out of corn......(and what about the Jesus portraits that have been 'enhanced' with corn parts - CREEPY. STILL!)

Where'd those kids learn to make that crap anyway?

5. The Return of the King:
25 years ago, Issac returning from the corn to claim Malachi was definitely one of the scariest parts. Here's where maybe too much info (and maybe hi-def) is maybe not a good thing. I had turned on the special feature that included bits of trivia about the film during the movie - it was pretty unintrusive and some of it was interesting.

Until we got to this scene - and the trivia that popped up said that pieces of sausage were used to make the 'erupting horns' on Issac's head. I couldn't stop fixating on the idea that pork product was stuck on Franklin's forehead, and I also couldn't get over that not everything should be seen in the best possible quality. Trust me - Blu-ray is NOT kind to this shot.

6. The Kills
Here's an area where COTC impressed me. I remembered lots of killing (especially in the beginning) by knives and scythes and other sharpies, and lots of blood - but what I didn't realize is that not once is the blade-to-skin contact actually shown. (Thanks, trivia track!) Here's where what's suggested and what we imagine is probably scarier than what they could do by trying to show it. Especially in the first scene at the diner, when the Corn Kids slaughter the entire place, with Issac watching menacingly from the window outside.......the look reflected on the little boy's face while blood is spattered tells us all we need to know.
Lesson learned. Less is more!!

7. Where's the luggage?
These two have a pretty empty car for a couple driving across country for any reason, let alone locating to a new home.

And another thing- I kept thinking, bitch, PLEASE tell me you didn't support his commitment -phobe pansy ass while he went through med school.

8. The only thing that's still scary to me 25 years later:

The idea of being given a corn halo and hung up on a corn stalk cross, surrounded by Kool-Aid Drinkers and a midget doing a bad Liza Minnelli impersonation.

I take that back.
It's scarier.

Keep an eye out for Outlanders,
Mother Firefly


Emily said...

There is only one Liza, so anybody doing an impersonation draws out my wrath. I agree about the lasting scariness of those two big images: the strung up police officer and that opening diner massacre. Both always stick with me. This is such a frustrating film, because on one hand, there's so much good working for it. The problem, and the SyFy Channel remake ran into this also, is that the film doesn't really know what to do with its second half. It just kind of peters out.

Still, I have the awesome poster hanging proudly in my apt, and this film will always deserve a rewatch for its creepy choir singing score and the fun fact that somewhere in that batch of koolaid high kids is none other than Eric Freeman from Silent Night Deadly Night 2.

Oh! And I bestowed upon you some sort of award thingy:


Mother Firefly said...


THANKS for the awesome award and the great review you gave of the Ol' Firefly Ranch. I'm eternally grateful!

I hadn't thought it before, but, you're right, the film kind of runs out of gas. It might have been more effective if they'd made a trilogy of shorter films using a couple other King stories from Night Shift.

But it still has its merits, and I think I hadn't watched it in so many years because I watched it SO dang much back in its heyday. I really hadn't been tempted since then and I think that's why I never had a copy.

God Bless Black Friday deals for tempting me enough to finally break down and buy the movie - 25 years later. Better late than never.

Thanks for the fun comments, as always.....and thanks again for the award. I wanna pinch myself.

I'll also keep any eye out for the famous Eric Freeman the next time I watch COTC!

Emily said...

It's such a great setup, but the plot just doesn't really know where to go with it. The short story solves the problem by, you know, being short. There's also an interesting 20 minute adaptation linked to Wikipedia that was made a few years before Children of the Corn. You can watch it all on youtube for continued proof that nobody's figured out what to do with those darned kids.

And don't pinch yourself. That stuff leaves bruises.