Children of the Corn
October 20, 2015
(The 2015 Nostalgia-Ween opening plays, before showing NC in his room, wearing the Nostalgia-Ween jacket)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. It's Halloween! Time to look at another memorable movie and go, "Ooh! That didn't age well." It's Stephen King Time!
(Stephen King is shown bobbing his head near the background of a children's castle as children cheer and the logo "Stephen King Time!" is shown. Images of Stephen King are shown as NC speaks)
NC (vo): As usual, I have to start out praising this guy before I piss on this guy, because the dude does have mad talent and has written a lot of awesome stories. (Footage from It, The Langoliers, The Tommyknockers, The Shining (Mini-Series version), and Maximum Overdrive are shown) But, however, they don't translate well into film, or they just pick the worst ones to adapt, his movies and miniseries rarely show the strength of his abilities, often resulting in hilarious results.
Craig Toomey (from The Langoliers): Scaring the little GIRL?!
Pennywise (from It): Wa-ha! Wa-ha! Wa-ha!
NC: And to start off this review, how about a dramatic reenactment of how King chooses what to write about next? (Grabs a couple of darts and looks at a dart board, which is called "The What to Make Scary Next Board", and the dart board is filled with notes saying various words, which say "Children", "Clowns", "Toilet", "Cars", "Balloons", "Corn", "Soda Machine", "Prom" and "Dog". NC throws two darts at two notes, which say "Children" and "Corn") Children of the Corn!
(The logo and footage from Children of the Corn is shown as NC brings out his opening thought)
NC (vo): Based on King's short story, Children of the Corn looks at an already popular scary subject--creepy kids--and for some reason combines them with a yellow vegetable that's about as scary as...well, balloons. Does it pay off? Well, if you like to get paid in maize. It dawned tons of sequels, a cult status, and, of course, hundreds of people around the world saying, "I think there's better King movies that could be made than this."
NC: Let's see if King can turn shock horror into shuck horror. This is Children of the Corn!
(The movie begins at a church with the caption GATLIN, NABRASKA, THREE YEARS AGO)
NC (vo): The film opens up three years ago with a narration from a kid named Joe.
Joe (vo): I was the only kid in church that day. The others were with Isaac out at the cornfield. I didn't get to go because Dad didn't like Isaac. He was pretty smart, my dad.
NC (as Joe): I was off to my daily beating, I was; on account of my bow tie and that I talk like a complete tool.
NC (vo): But kids start to surround the café, led by their Amish mafia leader Isaac, and get ready to take it down. And with wallpaper like that, do you really blame 'em?
(Cut to scenes of the children murdering adults in various ways)
NC: Oh, come on, this is just a Friday night at Denny's.
NC (vo): After making a hand sandwich, Joe continues to narrate while seemingly having no emotional reaction talking about his father being killed right in front of him.
Joe (vo): It happened everywhere in Gatlin that day. That's when Sarah started drawing these pictures.
NC (as Joe): Oh, they also served me my father at the International Hell of Pancakes, but I really want to talk about my sister's drawings.
NC (vo): We then cut to three years later, where a just graduated doctor wakes up at a hotel.
(A pair of legs walk as the camera zooms in on the doctor's face)
NC (vo): (sarcastically) Well gee, with the lack of detail they're showing you in this scene, I'm just positive something terrible is about to happen.
(Vicky shoves the end of a toothbrush into Burt's ear, and laughs as he wakes him up)
NC (vo; as Vicky): I hope my fake out music didn't wake you.
NC (vo): This is Burt, played by Peter Horton, and Vicky, played by Linda Hamilton at... (shows a image of a pack of cigarettes with a counter next to it) What do you think? One, three...
Vicky: (wearily) I got a couple of things you could look at.
NC (vo): Two packs of cigarettes a day.
Burt: Live happily ever after.
Vicky: Is that a proposal?
NC (vo): They're heading towards a internship, while mockingly making fun of preachers on the radio. I guess that's a thing.
Preacher on radio: There's no room for fornicators!
Vicky: Amen! (Mocking the preacher) Peanut butter and white bread!
Burt: (mocking the preacher) No room for people who watch public television!
Vicky: (mocking the preacher) No room for commitment!
Preacher on radio: Amen!
Burt: (looking at Vicky) Come on.
NC (vo as Vicky): As someone who likes to make fun of religious practices, I hate that you won't commit to that religious practice.
NC (vo): And, of course, the internship is just near our town of tiny pointless narrators.
Joe (vo): We weren't the only ones who thought Isacc was weird.
NC (vo): Slaughtering a village falls into the weird category? How about...
NC (as Joe): We weren't the only ones who thought Issac was a buzz kill. In that, he'll kill you with a buzz saw if he didn't like the way you looked.
NC (vo): One kid tried to escape the madness to get help leaving his two friends behind.
Kid: Unless you tell anybody I'm gone. If you tell, you're gonna burn in the lake of fire for all eternity.
Joe: We won't.
Kid: Cross your heart. Hope to die. (in sync with Joe) Stick a needle in your eye.
NC (vo): Why do you even have that rhyme? It sounds like the lake of fire would be a million times worse!
Joe: Okay, go! Go! Nobody's looking! Nobody's looking!
(The kid runs off)
NC (vo; as kid) Thanks for shouting my escape, you little dumbasses! I'll be sure to let you keep my head if they remove it from my body!
NC (vo): No real surprise, they do end up finding him, but not before--like I said-- they try to somehow make corn actually scary.
(The kid looks around in fear at the cornstalks surrounding him as dramatic music plays)
NC: No, don't fill me with dietary fiber!
NC (vo): So one of the kids finds him (the escaping kid) and kills him. Gee, I can't imagine how they were tipped off to that.
(Cut back to the scene of Joe yelling "Nobody's looking!")
NC (vo): But luckily, our two main characters are here to save the day--
(Shows their car plowing into a kid)
NC: Well, that could have gone better.
Burt: (to Vicky) Hang on. Let me check. Let me check.
NC (vo): Yeah, make sure she's okay before you check on the kid you steamrolled with your car. You're going to be a great doctor!
Vicky: Was it an animal?
NC (as Burt): Uh, yeah, an animal. Let's go.
NC (vo): He goes to check on the kid, noticing that his throat has been slit.
Burt: I want you go back to the car and wait for me there. Understand? And keep all the doors locked until I get back.
Vicky: Why? Where are you going?
Burt: I'll tell you when I get back. Just do what I say.
NC (vo): It is a little weird telling Sarah Connor to wait in the car, I don't think your sensitive mind could hear the truth yet.
NC: It's like telling The Rock not to look at a paper cut or he'll pass out. It's just weird.
NC (vo): But she eventually can't take it, and finds that she has to look at the body herself.
Vicky: I'm so sorry.
(Suddenly the kids springs up, surprising Vicky)
NC (vo): Jazz hands! (with a JAZZ HANDS caption underneath the clip)
Burt: (waking Vicky up) Come on!
NC (as Vicky): Oh, Burt, I had the worst jumpscare dream. It didn't tie in to the story and was completely pointless!
NC (as Burt): It's okay, we still killed the kid.
NC (as Vicky): Oh, thank God. That calms me down.
NC (vo): So they put the kid in the trunk and drive off because...
NC: That doesn't seem fucking suspicious.
NC (vo): As they try to forget about their kid killing by putting on the radio. That'll work.
Preacher on radio: Only by the blood of the lamb are we saved!
Burt: Getting tired of that crap.
NC (vo as Burt): I mean, how many King films have religious bashing now? You could make fucking playing cards out of it.
Burt: I really think we should open it.
NC (vo): They also decide to open up the kids briefcase because bad enough they killed them, they might as well rob him, too.
Burt: (holding a cross made of straw) Jesus Christ!
Vicky: Not in my book.
Burt: Looks like some primitive folk art.
Vicky: I think it's repulsive.
NC (vo): Jeesh, I've seen more tolerance from Bill Maher on Islam. Did a church sting you as a child or something?
Mechanic: (to his dog) Good boy!
NC (vo): They surprisingly come across a mechanic, who seems to be the only adult left in town. Which is kind of odd; Did they keep him around because he was the only mechanic? Were they really no other adults needed alive for anything else?
NC: How about someone who knows the password for the adult sites?
Burt: Uh, we've got some--
Mechanic: Ain't got no gas.
Burt: Uh, no, I-I don't need gas.
Mechanic: Ain't got no diesel fuel, neither.
Burt: Your telephone, I need to use your pho--
Mechanic: Telephone? I ain't got no telephone.
NC (vo as Mechanic): We ain't got no kids and we ain't got no corn either. In fact, I'm not even here. Who ya taking to you? I'm just a scarecrow.
Mechanic: Now you get on that right fork there, and you'll be in Hemingford in no time.
NC (vo): But they (the kids) make a Korean barbecue out of his dog, and decide to kill him off because...after three years of fixing stuff, never escaping and telling nobody about the mass slaughter that happened in the neighborhood, it's finally time to kill him because he told two people not to go in their neighborhood!
NC: They'd make better choices following the church of the magic eight ball! (photo of a church with an eight ball on top of it)
(The car stops at a wood pole says "Gaitlin" on it).
NC (vo as Vicky): I find that sign shaped the tiniest bit like a cross revolting.
NC (vo): As they continue to get more lost, we see the kids honoring their corn on a cross, and listening to sermons by their leader Isaac. Isaac is the best fucking thing in this movie.
Isaac: The lord did come to me, and he was a shape. It was He Who Walks Behind The Rows.
NC: Issac is...the movie (picture of) Jesus Camp in reverse.
NC (vo): He's the Munchkin version of the (picture of) the bad guy from Manos. He's every self indulgent prophet that fits into most (picture of) overhead compartments.
Isaac: Joseph has taken his things, and fled this happy place. So take you his life, and spill his blood!
NC (vo): And he's also a wanted criminal. Oh, not for mass murder, nor for brainwashing all these kids; but because he steals every single scene in this movie.
Isaac: But let not the flesh pollute the corn. Cast him instead upon the row.
NC: (laughs) I know now why they set this in a cornfield. It's so the rest of the actors can have some scenery to chew on.
Isaac: Question not my judgement, Malachai. I am the giver of his word. ("BITCH" appears under Isaac)
NC: And the interesting thing: This actor was twenty five years old-
NC (vo): (The words "25 years old" appear under Isaac) -when he did this role. Yep, he has one of those conditions where he looks and sounds a million times younger than he really is. And yet even knowing that, he still comes across as a snot nosed little piss ant, commanding his legion of good sons and bad seeds. He's just a treasure.
Isaac: And just as the blue man was offered up onto him, so shall be the unbelievers!
(Isaac points at the screen, causing NC to act like Issac is point at him)
NC: (panicked) No Isaac, I believe you! I would never doubt your whiny wisdom! (sees he is pointing at a group of children, causing him to relax) Oh, he's pointing at them, but that's how intimidating he is!
NC (vo): The one thing I never quite got though is, How did Isaac convince all these kids to kill the adults? I mean, he has the authority now, but how did he get it from them before? Were kids just watching TV, and like...?
(Cut to A cowboy on tv, played by Malcolm Black)
Cowboy: Yee-haw! Cumpy the Cowboy will be back after a message from our favorite sponsor, Isaac. (the words "We'll be right back", materialize on the screen).
(TV Static and then Isaac's top half appears on the screen win the words "Kill the adults now!"
NC (vo as Isaac): The blood of the old shall spill! Rise, my children! Kill now, kill now!
(TV Static, and back to Cumpy, who looks confused)
Cumpy: Um, don't listen to him this week, kids. Uh, he's a very naughty boy.
(Multiple hands holding guns rise and shoot Cumpy dead)
Cumpy (offscreen): I knew we shouldn't have been payed in maize.
NC (vo): Peter and Vicky show up into town as we partake in a thrilling amount of looking, looking, and even more looking. Yeah, I'm beginning to see why this was originally a "short story". They come across some kids, but they disappear pretty fast, so we go back to more looking. The film becomes so bored with The Walking Dull that this actually counts as a scare.
(Burt runs into Vicky as a CHUUM! sound effect plays)
NC (vo as Burt) Honey please, turn your CHUUM! off.
NC (vo): They do, however, come across Sarah.
Vicky: Are your mommy and daddy around?
Sarah: They're in the cornfield.
Vicky: Oh. What are they doing there?
NC (as Sarah): Fertilizing. Mostly.
NC (vo): They try to get more answers out of her, but she just seems too shy to respond. So Peter decides to leave his wife and the little girl behind because, seriously: What's the worse that can happen in this child throat-slitting town?
Burt: Things just aren't happening fast enough.
NC (as Vicky): I'm sure we can move past all this tedious looking with even more looking.
Burt: I'm going to go look at the town hall.
(Shows Burt walking to Gaitlin School)
NC (vo as Burt): Yep, this looks like the town hall.
NC (vo): He sees corn is placed everywhere because...remember, corn's scary now.
NC: Ooohhh (a picture of corn appears in a puff of smoke)
NC (vo): And notices some strange rendition of their religious pictures. Must be part of their "Jesus goes to Willy Wonka's factory" set.
NC (vo): But Vicky gets in trouble when she becomes surrounded by Isaac's second-in-command, Malachai.
Vicky: Who are you?
NC (vo as Malachai): Have you heard the good news about the corn?
Malachai: Seize her!
NC (vo): We then see this movie's brilliant idea of foreshadowing as he looks at a picture of a dragon burning a woman while Vicky is being attacked.
NC: D-does that really add anything?
NC (vo): I think it is pretty obvious she's in danger by the sharp objects being thrown at her; not an Eragon colouring book.
NC: It's like me confirming something I already know.
(NC gets knocked out of his chair by a piece of corn. He sees a white piece of paper that says "Ow" on it)
NC: So it did hurt!
(dramatic music plays as the camera zooms in on NC's face)
Child: Get out of there!
(Vicky is holding the doorknob and an axe bursts through the door.
NC: Heeere's Corny!
(The children come into the room, and Vicky throws a lamp at them. She misses and it hits the wall.)
NC (as Vicky): Oh wow, I really need James Cameron to write for me.
NC: They take her away, as we see the kid's drawing predicted what was going to happen like she predicted everything else that was going to happen.
NC: Why, this looks like a job for Stephen King's favourite trope: (dramatic voice) Unexplained Psychic Child!
(A picture of Super girl with Sarah's head super imposed on it appears)
NC: So, you're psychic, huh?. Where did that come from?
UPC: I don't know.
NC: How did you get it?
UPC: I don't know.
NC: What will you do with it in the future?
UPC: I don't know.
UPC: If I took it out of the story, would we miss it that much?
UPC: Probably not.
NC: (dramatically) Off you go, Unexplained Psychic Child! (she flies off) The less we know about you, the lazier!
NC (vo): They turn Peter's vehicle into a corn on the car, not allowing him to follow Vicky to Isaac.
NC (as Vicky): The fact that you want to kill me is fine, but doing it by placing me in a cross-shaped cross is just revolting!
NC (vo): But there are burnt kernels among the corn.
Isaac: You know not the laws.
Malachai: He's a God of blood and sacrifice, not ceremonies.
Isaac: Down on your knees, heretic!
Malachai: You shut your mouth, Isaac! You've grown prideful, and apart from us!
NC (as Malachai): I will not indulge your quarter-life crisis!
Isaac: Seize him! Punish him! Cut him down, I command you! I am the word and the giver of his laws.
NC (as Isaac): I am the snapper at bitches! (snaps his fingers)
Isaac: Do it now, or your punishment shall be a thousand times, a thousand deaths; each more horrible than the last!
Malachai: They're tired of your talk, Isaac.
NC: I refuse to believe that! Nobody can ever get tired of Isaac! He who is tired with Isaac, is tired with life!