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Film / Disciples of the Crow

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A 1983 short film inspired by Stephen King's short story Children of the Corn. Directed, written and edited by John Woodward, the film is only 20 minutes long, and is heavily abridged, but covers the majority of the original story's plot aside from the ending.

Beginning in 1971 in the small Oklahoma town of Jonah, a drought is plaguing the corn harvest. The children, led by a boy with a distinct birthmark on his face, are secretly part of a bizarre religious group that worships the corn and an entity that makes itself known through the crows living on the land. The night after the Sunday church service, the children murder their parents in their beds...

Cut to several years later, where bickering couple Vickie and Burt are driving through the corn fields, hopelessly lost, when they hear a strange religious sermon on the radio, and see several signs on the road threatening death to anyone who doesn't worship the land. After hitting a boy who wanders out into the road from the fields, they discover that his throat has been slit, and takes him to the closest town, which happens to be Jonah...

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Tropes Include:

  • Ambiguous Ending: Unlike the short story, Burt and Vicky manages to successfully escape the town, but their car is heavily damaged, and Burt wonders aloud how a place like Jonah could go undetected for so long, unless it really is protected by a cruel and bloodthirsty God.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The film is only 20 minutes long, and cuts a lot of plot, as well as changes the ending. It also changes the name of the town from Gatlin to Jonah, and the setting from Nebraska to Oklahoma.
  • Composite Character: The leader of the children, Bobby, is a composite of Isaac and Malachai.
  • Creepy Crows: While still worshipping the corn, the entity behind the children uses the crow as his symbol, and it appears everywhere, both as real crows and as paintings in the church. It's also implied he can relay messages to Bobby through them.
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  • Distinguishing Mark: Bobby has a very noteable birthmark on his jaw, it's what lets the viewer identify him both as a child and as a teenager.
  • Jump Scare: Bobby appearing next to Burt in the dark church.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Unlike the original short story, the original children aren't teenagers when they killed their parents, but mostly consisted of pre-adolescents.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Unlike the short story and later films, there are no obvious supernatural occurrences shown on screen, possibly aside from Bobby's visions, and it's entirely possible the children are suffering from some sort of mass psychosis.
  • Oracular Urchin: It's implied several times that Bobby has psychic visions.
  • Sinister Minister: The strange preacher on the radio, who is clearly an adult at that, doing a sermon about corn.
  • Scary Scarecrows: Burt and Vickie doesn't notice this in time, but several of the scarecrows in the fields are made from human skeletons, presumably the bodies of the massacred adults.
  • Religious Horror: Of course.
  • Teens Are Monsters: In present day, the kids are all in their late teens.
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