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Lost in the Maize

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"This maize is too hard for me!"
He began to walk in that direction, not having to bull through the corn any more. The row was taking him in the direction he wanted to go, naturally. The row ended up ahead. Ended? No, emptied out into some sort of clearing...
Night Shift, "Children of the Corn"

There's just something about a field of corn that spells creepy. Maybe it's the fact that corn stalks grow very tall and seem to go on endlessly, preventing anyone who happens to be wandering among them from seeing more than a few feet ahead at a time. Also, each stalk looks exactly the same, so good luck finding your way out. Combined with the fact that they are only found in rural areas, this means that you could be out in the middle of nowhere and no one would see you disappear, or even be around to hear you scream on the off chance that you are not alone.

If characters find themselves in a cornfield, they will almost always get lost. Frantic chases through cornfields are popular in the Horror genre, and double points if it happens to be at night.

Note that despite the trope name, scenes like this don't necessarily have to involve corn.note  Long grass is also popular, especially in wilderness settings, and this trope can apply to other kinds of vegetation where it's hard to see anything below neck level. Compare The Lost Woods, where non-domestic plant life is overwhelming or spooky.

This is also the place to find Scary Scarecrows or Crop Circles. May overlap with Corny Nebraska if the creepy cornfields are in Nebraska. Compare Hedge Maze and The Lost Woods.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Warrior Cats manga Warrior's Refuge, Graystripe and Millie get lost and separated from each other in a field of corn, desperately fleeing from the terrifying roar of a "monster" (a combine harvesting the corn). Some local farm cats find them and lead them to safety.

  • "Cornfield with Crows", is generally agreed to be the last thing Vincent van Gogh painted before he killed himself.

    Comic Books 
  • A villain in the Hack/Slash miniseries My First Maniac used a cornfield (formerly belonging to a farmer he killed) as a hunting ground, having turned it into a deadly maze. It's full of traps and surrounded by barbed wire, and nails through the stalks that rip into anyone who tries to just run through them.
  • In an issue of The Maze Agency comic book, a murder is committed in a cornfield maze and the body strung up as scarecrow to hide it.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Invader Zim fic The Corn Maze, Dib drags Gaz along with him to investigate reports of ghostly activity at the titular tourist trap. After sneaking in at night and finding Zim is placating GIR by letting him make crop circles, they decide that that's the cause of the supposed haunting and decide to leave... only to find that they can't, every path suddenly leading back to the middle of the maze. The siblings team up with a reluctant Zim to find a way out of the maze, which suddenly seems to go on forever and is now full of Scary Scarecrows which are stuffed with human remains. It eventually turns out that a demon of some kind is inhabiting the maze, and trapping people for its amusement.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The 12 Disasters Of Christmas, two teenage girls flee from a tornado through an orchard of Christmas trees.
  • The scene in the 1967 Bonnie and Clyde, where Bonnie runs away through one because she misses her momma.
  • Casino: Nicky and his brother are lured to a meeting in a cornfield where they are brutally beaten and then buried alive.
  • Cold Mountain: After deserting the Confederate army, Inman is on a road through a cornfield when a group of fugitive slaves emerges from the corn near him. He tries to buy an egg from them, but they ignore him and move silently down the road until they're hidden by a clump of trees. Inman keeps walking and then hears screams and gunshots coming from the trees, forcing him to make a panicked dash into the corn. The eerie thing is the sunny, serene tone of the scene, with several idyllic-looking shots of the trees and cornfield undisturbed by what's happening to the characters.
  • In Dead Birds, the farm house is surrounded by a field full of dead corn plants. The climax takes place with characters hopelessly lost in the field down a downpour.
  • Subverted in Field of Dreams, in that the Iowa cornfield is supernatural and mysterious, but it's awe-inspiring, not scary.
  • In Forrest Gump, as a little girl, Jenny runs into the cornfield behind their house to hide from her drunken abusive father. ("Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far, far away from here.")
  • The cornfield rave massacre in Freddy vs. Jason is set up to look like this, but one of the ravers sets Jason on fire at the beginning so Jason goes for a more overt massacre.
  • The climactic chase in The Gathering has the protagonists hiding from a madman while running through a field of corn near their house.
  • There's a scene involving a chase through a cornfield in the movie version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
  • The protagonists of Husk spend much of the film walking, running or driving through the seemingly endless cornfield that surrounds the house; usually with idea of what direction they are going.
  • In In the Tall Grass, the protagonists hear a cry for help coming from a field of tall grass, and decide to investigate - but they quickly realize that the field is magical, and it's almost impossible to get out of it once you get in.
  • A southern variant in Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent. Kurt gets lost is a field of sugar cane while searching for Sam. He gets grabbed by the serpent and dragged away.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park uses the tall grass variant. Doesn't make much of a difference, though, 'cuz everyone knows that Everything's Scarier with Velociraptors!
  • In 2010, a horror movie all about murders in a corn maze (at night!), creatively called The Maze was released. Though in actuality, viewers probably do see more corn than murder.
  • The Mummy Returns has a scene where a bunch of mooks are ambushed and killed by pygmy zombies in waist-high plant life.
  • The crop-duster attack in North By Northwest takes place in and around a cornfield.
  • Signs: The priest lives next to a very creepy cornfield; he ends up being chased through it at night.
  • The X-Files: Fight the Future, with the bees in cornfields...

  • Stephen King's short story Children of the Corn served as loose inspiration for an endless string of movies which are probably the example that a lot of people remember, and contributes a great deal to cornfields being associated with creepiness. The page quote above, from the original story, gives an example.
  • The Goosebumps book The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight has this, naturally.
  • InCryptid: The prologue of That Ain't Witchcraft features Annie and Sam destroying a Corn Blight, a Festering Fungus that kills and zombifies people who get lost in the corn.
  • The Jerome Bixby short story "It's a Good Life", where the Reality Warper Anthony Fremont literally buries people who do anything he doesn't like in the cornfield behind his family's home. Served as the basis for a memorable episode of The Twilight Zone.
  • In The Lovely Bones, Susie is cutting through a cornfield on her way home from school when a neighbor lures her into a secret underground room, rapes her and kills her.
  • Averted in Reaper Man, where the term "corn" actually refers to wheat.note  This doesn't stop many American readers from getting a mental image of Death toiling in a creepy cornfield when they read this Discworld novel.
  • In Dorothy Canfield Fisher's short story "Sex Education" a town preacher lurks in a cornfield waiting to jump and rape any young girl dumb enough to wander nearby. It's heavily implied by the female characters that a number of other men in their town have similarly questionable hobbies, also involving young girls and cornfields.
  • In King's novel The Stand, a number of characters dream about being chased through a cornfield by the Dark Man.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Bones episode "Mummy in the Maze".
  • The series finale of Carnivāle has the climax take place in a cornfield, with Brother Justin chasing after Ben with a scythe, no less.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Middle Man", and the end of "The Big Game".
  • This eerie sketch from Human Giant exemplifies the mystique of the Corn Maze.
  • One of Sal's punishments on Impractical Jokers sends him into a haunted cornfield. The hazards he encounters are a little girl in a dress, an unexpected air horn, a living scarecrow, a pile of manure, and Benjamin Cat.
  • An episode of The Middle had the teenaged son lose his little brother in a cornfield maze, and he kept running into the creepy caretaker who told him about how he had lost his own little brother in a cornfield all those years ago.
  • The Pawnee Harvest Festival had a maze in Parks and Recreation. When Li'l Sebastian wanders in there, it leads to a massive manhunt. When Jerry Gergich gets lost during the manhunt, everyone forgets about him.


  • In Qwerpline there is a corn maze, often confusedly referred to as the maize corn, in which several visitors and search parties have disappeared, and people are warned to bring supplies in case they are lost. It's allowed to stay open though. It turns out they're falling into the "rum tunnels" smugglers dug under the town during Prohibition.

    Video Games 
  • In Batman Doom, one such maze pops up near the beginning of the level with the Scarecrow boss fight. It's full of gangsters and even spotting the passages is a problem, though the automap helps. Once you're past this part, the rest of the level is thankfully free of confusing view-obfuscating maize.
  • Dead by Daylight: The various Coldwind Farm maps are colloquially known as "corn maps" because they all have one trait in common along with decrepit structures and mutilated cattle — fields of corn in the open spaces. These cornfields tend to favor Survivors and their Third-Person Viewpoint over Killers, who are locked in First-Person view and are thus more likely to have their view obstructed by it.
  • There's a field in Fallout 2 where some guys scare intruders through ghostly images to keep them away.
  • INSIDE (2016) has a decaying farm with a cornfield. The protagonist doesn't get lost, but the cornstalks do hide a hatch leading to the Secret Ending.
  • There is exactly one frightening scene in Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green and it involves having to run through a cornfield as you hear zombies crashing around you, unseen.
  • Left 4 Dead
    • "Blood Harvest", the fourth campaign of the first game, has a cornfield in the last level right before the finale. Survivors suffer from very reduced visibility while in the fieldnote  and, as you walk by, you inevitably disturb a murder of crows, and the noise attracts a horde.
    • Left 4 Dead 2 has a section set in a dense field of sugarcane between a decrepit sugar mill and a gas station in the fifth campaign, "Hard Rain". You have to cross it twice: the first time is during the day, cutting off the visibility you're used to when the sun is out, and making it very easy to bump into one of the many Witches in the level. The second time, you backtrack through it in the middle of a hurricane storm, so while the sugarcane cuts your vision to a few feet, the storm cuts your hearingnote . And while the downpour has washed away the scent of sugar that brought out so many Witches before, a few can still spawn, and as it's dark, they're stationary and their aggro range is larger. Also, that section is frequently a Tank spawn point. The only boon the survivors get is a section of pipe that leads back to the main ruins and makes traveling by hopping on it faster than slogging through the water.
  • The game Maize begins with you waking up in the middle of a cornfield, and traversing it becomes one of your initial goals while sifting through the puzzles and dealing with the odd talking corn.
  • Never touch the cornfields in MediEvil. You'll die very quickly. We're probably lucky they don't show what kills you...
  • A chase through a corn field takes place a few times in Outlast II. Although there are pathways in between certain sections, along with trash cans and pools of water to (temporarily) hide in, it doesn't make it any less terrifying when you see the flashlights of Knoth's followers coming from somewhere to hunt you down. At least their visibility isn't any better than yours.
  • In the horror Adventure Game Sanitarium, there's a creepy pumpkin patch in one chapter that fits this trope. It's the setting of one of the game's rare action sequences.
  • ThanksKilling Day: In order to get to his grandfather at the silo the kid needs to navigate a maze of what is presumed to be corn. The horror doesn't start until he gets to the other side, though.
  • In the standalone 400 Days episode of Telltale's The Walking Dead, Bonnie's story takes place in a cornfield.
  • In Zardy's Maze, the setting is a farm, and the place you will be in the most is a maize being hunted by Scary Scarecrows, most notably the title character, Zardy.

  • Lampshaded in Lackadaisy when Rocky and Ivy run off into a cornfield in an attempt to lose the car chasing them. The corn turns out to be too short to hide them, prompting Rocky to say that "this is terrible corn!"
  • In this Nedroid strip, Beartato gets so hopelessly lost in a corn maze, he begins to remember only the maze. The Alt Text claims that anyone still in a corn maze at the end of autumn becomes a scarecrow.
    Reginald: Beartato! I'm so glad you found me!
  • The Halloween-themed Skin Deep story "The One-Eyed Bear" centers around a road trip to an annual haunted corn maze attraction in Verona, MO referred to, appropriately enough, as The MAiZE. (See Real Life, below.) In keeping with getting lost, they stumble onto the attraction while fleeing from a nightmare and a demon, only to be menaced by a hockey-mask-wearing, chainsaw wielding maniac who is actually both a performer in the haunted maze and a bugbear in human guise.

    Web Videos 
  • The Regular Car Reviews episode on the 2003 Toyota Tacoma ends with Mr. Regular inside a cornfield trying to find a way out.
    Mr. Regular: Yeah, keep running. Keep running in that cornfield. Where's the way out? Where is the way out? Oh, no, not that way.
  • Unwanted Houseguest: Episode 12 of "TRUE Scary Stories" features the main character lost in a corn maze.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of The Busy World of Richard Scarry, an inadequately supported sign flips and sends people looking for a stall selling corn into the middle of a cornfield, where they can't find their way out again.
  • Fillmore!!:
    • "Two Wheels, Full Throttle, No Brakes". Of course X Middle School has its own corn maze. Why wouldn't it?
    "The corn! IT ALL LOOKS THE SAME!"
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Roadside Attraction", Soos is accidentally left behind by the Pines in a Corn Maze tourist trap.
  • Johnny Bravo, in its episode "Johnny, Real Good" (a parody of It's A Good Life) has this as one of the torments that the Reality Warper boy inflicts upon Johnny: teleportation to an actual cornfield (not really that horrible, but still a minor annoyance for Johnny who has to walk back home), which becomes a Running Gag. At the end of the episode, he teleports sleeping Johnny in his bed onto a lonely island — covered with maize.
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Marge went to a therapist to deal with the roots of her fear of flying, one of her childhood memories was of her mother showing her a cornfield, only for a crop duster to show up and fire at them.
    • In another episode, Homer gets lost in a corn maze. He tries to just shove his way through the hedges, but discovers they're backed up by a fence—which is electrified.
  • The Tick had villainous sunflowerman El Seed raise an army out of an evil cornfield maze.

    Real Life 
  • Actual cornfield mazes are built in real life as attractions, and often give people the chance to go through them at night. Occasionally the cornfields are 'haunted' by people dressed in costume.
  • After United Airlines Flight 232 crash-landed at the Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa, many of the surviving passengers got lost in the cornfields next to the airport, as the largest piece of the fuselage that came off the rest of the plane as it hit the ground came to a rest there. Lots of pieces from the plane were also strewn over the fields, and one lucky farmer received a modest reward for locating the fan disk from the engine which failed and led to the accident, as investigators couldn't find it among the tall corn.
  • Averted in previous centuries, when corn hadn't yet been selectively bred to stand taller than a human. At least one Civil War battle's events had to be re-examined by historians when it was pointed out that corn grew only waist-high in the 1860s, hence couldn't have provided concealment to standing soldiers.
  • Could become a Forgotten Trope as modern farming techniques plant corn too densely for a human to walk through.
  • Grandparents born before The Great Depression who grew up on farms have told stories about how farmers of that day were afraid that gypsies would kidnap their children, and instructed their children to hide in cornfields whenever gypsies were around. The children were told to stay in one row of corn to avoid getting lost themselves.
  • British soldiers fighting in France in the summer of 1944 were told that cornfields were very good cover on both grounds, concealment and protection, as a hundred feet of growing corn would stop bullets as effectively as six inches of brick wall.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Creepy Cornfield, Corn Maze


Autumn Mountain tall grass

The grass in this section of the mountain is so tall Bobby cannot see over it and gets lost.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / LostInTheMaize

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