CHILDREN OF THE CORN BLU RAY REVIEW ARROW

In the corn fields of the central states of the US, something unsavoury breeds. Something with a youthful veneer but a soul, old and menacing. Children have banded together in a cult of blood letting and Familicide. Imposed on the group are ritual murders and dubious religious fervour from a boy with a venomous mouth and toxic eyes. Sins are washed with blood and words are spoken to enact grave crimes by a young boy called Malachi. THE CHILDREN OF THE CORN trilogy arrives from Arrow video in new and shiny boxes and includes Children of the Corn, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice and Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. Ostensibly all three are about the poisonous interpretation of religion and its effects on the impressionable but even more so it is a series about the darkness at the heart of society and the problems of containing it.

Based on the short story of the same name by Stephen King, these films are a catalogue of video shop thrills and bloody spills. Fitting perfectly into the nightmarish climbs of the early 80s Western worlds lust for capitalism and self assured dogma, the first film CHILDREN OF THE CORN is the best. Its unnerving central performances from Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton, as two adults trapped in a world of evil, delights in say not show horror. Creeping to a final outcome. Gatlin, Nebraska is not the place of family and harmony. It is the location of a religious cult of children led by Isaac and the preacher Malachi. In CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE, the past haunts the living when locals of nearby Hemingford adopt the children who survived the original terror, only for the nightmare to continue. The third film CHILDREN OF THE CORN III: URBAN HARVEST, is a delightfully sardonic slice of the country meets the city when two orphaned boys from Gatlin are taken into foster care in Chicago, where evil returns again!

I was a fan of the series prior to this release and even sung its praises previously. Now to those who know what I am talking about and to those that do not, let me say it now. These films have already had an outing on Blu ray in the UK as a trilogy via 88 films. We even reviewed it for you, some 4 years back. Arrow have promised a changed of tact and introduced more extras, a Ultra High Definition and alternate cuts of both follow-ups for the first time on Blu-ray. Has all this meant that you, dear reader must upgrade? Or is this just another cynical ploy to take your cash?

DISCS

Well the first disc is a vast improvement in truth, Firstly the UHD. Its a study in mastering. Excellent. The film wasn’t riffed with the highest production values but this is the definitive visual version of the release. Simply. That leads to the 1080p versions. I tried to find exceptional differences between these and the 88 films 1080 masters. There is little differences. Across the different cuts, versions and the near and far, same and similar. Sorry Mum. Sorry God. I also will add that CHILDREN OF THE CORN III: URBAN HARVEST is quite different in cuts. Improvement, maybe. Better experience, definitely!

EXTRAS

Arrow are nothing if not purveyors of fine extra content. Here they do make a case for being the best indie label at releasing, finding and creating extra goodness for their releases. In this box the best stuff is on the 2nd disc but on the first disc watch Disciples of the Crow, a 1983 short film adaptation of Stephen King’s short story. Disc twos highlights are Brand new audio commentary by critics Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain, much like a student lecture from two very well meaning and sometimes excessively detailed teachers. The creaky looking Workprint version of the film, is more me than great extra. Its lovely to understand choices and content differences.

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LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of all three films
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) of Children of the Corn
  • Alternate cuts of Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice and Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio options for all three films
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • 60-page perfect bound book featuring new writing by John Sullivan, Lee Gambin, Stacie Ponder, Craig Martin and Guy Adams
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin

DISC 1 – CHILDREN OF THE CORN (BLU-RAY / 4K UHD BLU-RAY)

  • Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
  • Audio commentary with horror journalist Justin Beahm and Children of the Corn historian John Sullivan
  • Audio commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
  • Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn – retrospective piece featuring interviews with director Fritz Kiersch and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
  • It Was the Eighties! – an interview with actress Linda Hamilton
  • Return to Gatlin – brand new featurette revisiting the film’s original Iowa shooting locations
  • Stephen King on a Shoestring – an interview with producer Donald Borchers
  • Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn – an interview with production designer Craig Stearns and composer Jonathan Elias
  • Cut from the Cornfield – an interview with the actor who played “The Blue Man” in the fabled excised sequence
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Disciples of the Crow, a 1983 short film adaptation of Stephen King’s short story

DISC 2 – CHILDREN OF THE CORN II: THE FINAL SACRIFICE (BLU-RAY)

  • Two versions of the film: the International Cut, and the US Theatrical Cut with additional CGI and an alternate audio mix (via seamless branching)
  • Brand new audio commentary by critics Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain
  • Brand new audio commentary by critic Lee Gambin, in conversation with director David Price
  • A New Harvest, a brand new interview with director David Price
  • Sowing the Seeds of Terror, a brand new interview with co-screenwriter A.L. Katz
  • Framing Fear, a brand new interview with cinematographer Levie Isaacks
  • Workprint version of the film
  • Stills gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

DISC 3 – CHILDREN OF THE CORN III: URBAN HARVEST (BLU-RAY)

  • Two versions of the film, the R-rated US Cut and the Unrated International Cut with extended ending (via seamless branching)
  • Brand new audio commentary by critics Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain
  • Corn in the City, a brand new interview with screenwriter Dode Leveson
  • Corn in the USA, a brand new visual essay by author and critic Guy Adams
  • Early treatments, versions of the story from the development process
  • Stills Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailer

**Extras subject to change**

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