“I can easily tell you what (Children of the Corn) doesn’t have, namely a solid narrative, good direction, complex characters, strong performances, and genuine terror. And yet, it remains an undyingly popular movie 25 years on.”
All week I’ve been in Sioux City, Iowa working on a production and I picked up a book yesterday that said the first feature film shot in this area was the 1984 Children of the Corn based on a Stephen King short story. The 92 minute film has a strong enough fan base to recently have been released in Blu-Ray for its 25th anniversary edition.
The original film starred Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton and cost $300,000. to make and went on to make over $17 million. at the box office. Six spin-offs have been made and while none were wildly successful there are some actresses who picked up some early experience working on one of the franchise films. The 1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest was the début film of Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts starred in the Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering, and Eva Mendes is one of the stars in Children of the Corn V.
A TV version of the film was shot in Lost Nation, Iowa in ’08 (see photos) and shown on the Sci Fi channel in 2009. It was written and directed by Donald P. Borchers who was a producer on the original 1984 Children of the Corn.
And not that long ago Variety announced that the Weinsteins were producing a remake of the original with Ehren Kruger writing the script. (But I couldn’t find any other evidence that the movie was still in development. Maybe the TV version killed it.) But with the success of Avatar 3-D can Children of the Corn 3-D be too far off?
Though the stories takes place in Nebraska (usually a place called Hastings), for various reasons the films have been shot in various states including the first one in Iowa. Not sure why the original Children of the Corn was shot in and around Sioux City but I know it’s part of their folklore. Just like Lewis & Clark (and gang) passing through here on their famous journey west. They even have a monument for Sergeant Charles Floyd who died here in Aug. 20, 1804.
I couldn’t find a monument for anything related to the filming of Children of the Corn. Maybe it’s hidden in a corn field somewhere. (Then again, I wasn’t looking for one.) But what I did find was something somewhat related to Children of the Corn from a screenwriting perspective in a Q&A with Stephen King.
TIME magazine Nov. 23, 2007 Q&A: Talking with Stephen King
Gilbert Cruz: There have been so many movies and TV miniseries made from your stories and, not to be disrespectful, but some of them are stinkers. Sleepwalkers, Sometimes They Come Back and its various sequels, etc… How do you maintain quality control? Do you even try?
Stephen King: I’d go crazy. I don’t try to maintain quality control. Except I try to get good people involved. The thing is, when you put together a script, a director, and all the other variables, you never really know what’s going to come out. And so you start with the idea that it’s like a baseball game — you put the best team you can on the field, and you know that, more times than not, you’re gonna win.
And in my case, more of the movies than not — if we except things like Return to Salem’s Lot, Children of the Corn 4, The Children of the Corn Meet the Leprechaun or whatever it is — if you do that, then most times you’re going to have something that’s interesting anyway. That doesn’t mean you’re going to have the occasional thing that’s just a train wreck like Dreamcatcher, because that happens, right?
May all your train wrecks be as interesting as Stephen King’s.