Film: Children of the Corn (1984)

Vicky: What do you want?
Malachai: We want to give you peace.

The first full-length film adaptation of the Stephen King short story of the same name from his Night Shift collection.

A couple driving through Nebraska find themselves in Gatlin, a town in which the entire adult population has been killed by its children, who worship an entity known as He Who Walks Behind The Rows.

"Outlander! We have your examples!"

  • Adaptation Expansion: The film shows the death of Gatlin's adults as prologue, and the story continues beyond Vicky's crucifixion.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Isaac's and Malachai's equivalents in the original short story were named William Renfrew and Craig Boardman.
  • Arcade Sounds: Malachai plays a 1981 solid state Medusa pinball, but it has electro-mechanical sounds dubbed over it.
  • Big Bad: Isaac, the Dark Messiah leader of the children.
  • Bigger Bad: He Who Walks Behind The Rows.
  • Chain Pain: One of the children carries a chain. Later, Malachai takes it from him when he is fighting Burt.
  • Creepy Child: The eponymous children.
  • Culture Police: Music and games are outlawed among the children.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: One of the children provide one last scare in the film by attacking Burt from the back of his car.
  • The Dragon: Malachai is Isaac's most ardent follower, and is also the one relaying orders to other children.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Diehl's dog Sarge senses the children hiding in the corn nearby, and goes after them. He is killed.
  • Evil Redhead: Malachai.
  • Going in Circles: When Burt and Vicky try to drive into Hemingford as instructed by Diehl, they end up going in circles and are forced to enter Gatlin.
  • Human Sacrifice: Children who reach the age of 19 are prepared and sacrificed to He Who Walks Behind The Rows.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Used, like with other Stephen King adaptations.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Joseph, who tries to escape Gatlin, is punished with death.
  • Kill It with Fire: He Who Walks Behind The Rows is destroyed when the cornfields sustaining it are burned down.
  • Knife Nut: Malachai and plenty of other children are armed with knives.
  • Lost in the Maize: Joseph tries to escape Gatlin by going through the surrounding cornfields, but he is chased down and throat-slitted by Malachai.
  • Narrator: Job acts as a narrator for the film.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: The opening credits are superimposed on pictures of the Gatlin massacre that were drawn by Sarah, with Creepy Children Singing in the background.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Plays in the background when the children kill Diehl the gas-station owner.
  • Religious Horror: The children practice a murderous, pseudo-Christian Religion of Evil.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: All of the children are named after Old Testament figures (Job, Sarah, Isaac, Malachai, etc.)
  • Self-Made Orphan: The children.
  • Shaming the Mob: How Burt ultimately convinces the children to rebel against He Who Walks Behind The Rows.
  • Sinister Scythe: Some of the children are armed with sickles and scythes.
  • Something That Begins with "Boring": As Burt and Vicky pass rows and rows of corn, Burt jokingly starts playing the "I spy" game.
    Burt: I spy, with my lttle eye, something that starts with C.
    Vicky: Corn.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Both Burt and Vicky died in the original short story.
  • The Starscream: Malachai decides that Isaac doesn't follow He Who Walks Behind The Rows properly (read: doesn't kill everything outright like he does), and takes over.
  • Southern Gothic: A rare West Coast example with an Amish feel; however, the decay, staring unnatural inhabitants, and eerie isolation are still present.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The massacre of adults in Gatlin began when some of the customers at Hansen's diner started dying from their poisoned coffee.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Closest adult to Gatlin is the gas-station owner Diehl, and even he bites it thanks to Malachai's zealousness.
  • Tentacle Rope: The cornfield itself comes alive to tie down Burt as he tries to burn it.
  • Ultimate Evil: He Who Walks Behind The Rows is never properly shown.
  • Wormsign: He Who Walks Behind The Rows appears to claim his sacrifice as a shape travelling underground.
  • Would Hurt a Child: While Burt wouldn't go as far kill any of the children, he has no qualms about punching them out cold.