thumb|319px|link=Children of the Corn is a film based on Stephen King's short story "Children of the Corn," given a limited release on 9 March 1984 with a wide release a week later on 16 March 1984. The film, which runs an hour and 33 minutes, was produced for a budget of $3-million, and grossed $14,568,989 domestically.
The movie is followed by the sequel Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, which took place in the neighboring town, as well as several other sequels which had nothing to do with the original story and were poorly recieved. However, Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return, did feature John Franklin, who starred as sadistic child preacher Isaac in the original film. Children of the Corn was remade by the Syfy Channel in 2009.
The rural town of Gatlin, in western Nebraska, is mostly run off agricultural profits from the vast cornfields surrounding the town. One particular year, the corn crop fails due to drought and the people of Gatlin turn to prayer in an attempt to ensure a successful harvest. A mysterious boy preacher, Isaac Chroner, arrives and takes all the children of Gatlin into a cornfield to speak to them about the prophecies of a demon called "He Who Walks Behind The Rows". Isaac, through his lieutenant Malachai (Courtney Gains), leads the children of the town in a revolution, brutally killing all of the adults in the town with poison and sharp farm tools. Over the ensuing years, the children take any adults passing through as sacrifices, as well as sacrificing any cultist over the age of 19. Music, painting and reading are forbidden. Only a few children do not want to take part of it, but are forced to go along with the cult, among them Job and Sarah, who are brother and sister. They are tolerated despite of them breaking the rules because of Sarah´s ability to foresee dangers for the cult coming to Gaitlin by painting them.
Several years later, Burt (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend Vicky (Linda Hamilton) pass through Nebraska while driving cross-country to Burt's new job as a physician in Seattle, Washington. They are traveling in their car and hit a small boy out on the highway. This boy was one of the Gatlin children who tried to escape the iron hand of the death cult. The couple place his body in the trunk. They encounter an old mechanic, who is little to no help, as the children of Gatlin have employed him to lead all adults passing through to the town, but they betray him and kill him anyway. Burt and Vicky finally end up in Gatlin, after searching for several hours for a phone.
A struggle ensues between the couple, "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" and the children as the couple are violently chased through the city. Vicky is captured by Malachai, but Burt is hidden by Sarah and Job in a bunker only they know of in time, as she is taken to the cornfield and prepared as a sacrifice, while they try to track down Burt for the same purpose, who is meanwhile infomed by Job and Sarah about what is going on in Gaitlin while his wounds are tended, which were inflicted by the children during the chase.
Meanwhile, Malachai and the others have grown tired of Isaac's arrogance. Assuming command over the children, Malachai orders Isaac to be sacrificed in Vicky's place. Night soon falls and Burt enters the cornfield to rescue Vicky. The sacrifice soon begins and Isaac is devoured by He Who Walks Behind The Rows. Burt arrives and battles Malachai, convincing the children that their minds have been poisoned and their humanity sacrificed in the name of their false god. As Malachai tries to regain control of the children, Isaac's re-animated corpse (apparently possessed by He Who Walks Behind The Rows) appears and kills Malachai, breaking his neck for his behaviour.
Soon, a terrible storm gathers over the cornfield and Burt and Vicky gather the children inside a barn to shield them from He Who Walks Behind The Rows' angry wrath. As the storm intensifies all around them, Job shows a Bible verse to Burt and Vicky that indicates that they must destroy the cornfield for the chaos to cease (it is revealed that "He Who Walks Behind The Rows" is really a demon). While filling the irrigation pumps with gashol fuel, He Who Walks Behind The Rows lashes out at Burt, preparing to destroy the barn. However, Burt is able to spray the fields with the flammable liquid and lights a molotov cocktail, tossing it into the field, burning it and seemingly destroying the demon.
Burt, Vicky, Job and Sarah survive and are able to leave Gatlin as the cornfields burn. As Burt grabs the map in the damaged car they used to get there, a teenage girl, who is a member of the cult jumps out at him from the back seat and attempts to stab him. Burt knocks her out with the passenger door and the four walk off into the distance to parts unknown.
- Linda Hamilton as Vicky Baxter
- Peter Horton as Burt Stanton
- R. J. Franklin as Diehl
- John Franklin as Isaac Chroner
- Courtney Gains as Malachai Boardman
- Robby Kiger as Job
- AnneMarie McEvoy as Sarah
- Julie Maddalena as Rachel
- Jonas Marlowe as Joseph
- John Philbin as Amos
Linda Hamilton got an early start at acting in this film and would later become a star with James Cameron's The Terminator, released the following year. John Franklin would return as Isaac in the 1999 direct-to-video sequel Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return.
The film was poorly recieved by Stephen King fans, who thought that it was too unfaithful to the original story. However, the remake, which was more faithful to the original source material, was heavily criticized as well, and the original film is often regarded as the superior of the two for its disturbing atmosphere. It was also criticized by fans for the inclusion of the two children in the film as well as lacking the themes of the original novel, including a crumbling marriage, which was abandoned entirely in the film.