H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Children of the Corn [Blu-ray]


(Fritz Kiersch, 1984)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Angeles Entertainment Group

Video: Anchor Bay/Starz



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:31:49.153

Disc Size: 30 Gig bytes

Feature Size: 26.5 Gig

Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 25th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1



English, English (SDH), Spanish, none



“It Was The Eighties!” (14-minutes in HD) -- Linda Hamilton talks about working on the film, offering great behind-the-scenes stories about the cast and crew
• “Stephen King on a Shoestring” (11-minutes in HD) – All-New interview with Producer Donald Borchers.
• “Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn” (15-minutes in HD) – Interview with Production Designer Craig Stearns and Composer Jonathan Elias
• Audio commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin & Courtney Gains
• “Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn” (SD)
• Fast Film Facts
• Original theatrical trailer
• Poster & still gallery
• Original storyboard and original title sequence art


Description: Young lovers on a cross-country trip stop in a small Nebraska community and make a shocking discovery. One day, three years prior to the couples' arrival, the town's children killed all of the grown-ups at the apparent behest of a demon simply dubbed "He Who Walks Behind the Rows." Based on a short story from horror scribe Stephen King's "Night Shift" collection, this film spawned a slew of bloody sequels.



The Film:

It's a peaceful, parched Sunday morning of late summer in the tiny Nebraska farming community of Gatlin. It's that lazy hour between the end of church services and the start of Sunday dinner when most kids feel at loose ends - but not this morning. The Gatlin children, at the direction of pint-sized Isaac, who looks like the demon seed of John Brown, rise up and with cool dispatch murder everyone in Gatlin over the age of 19. They use butcher knives, hatchets, sickles and whatever else is handy.

All of this takes place in the swift, efficient, blood-splattered precredit sequence that begins ''Children of the Corn,'' another horror film from what must be the busiest word processor in the fiction business, the one belonging to Stephen King (''Carrie,'' ''The Shining,'' ''Christine'' and others ).

Mr. King didn't actually write the screenplay, only the short story that was adapted by George Goldsmith and directed by Fritz Kiersch. However, for those who take Mr. King seriously, this is high-proof King corn, which is to say it has a kick to it even though it hasn't much taste.

Excerpt from Vincent Canby at the NY Times located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

While I can't be positive - it appears as though Children of the Corn may have had use of digital noise removal as the image has a strange softness making skin tones look almost plastic at times. I realize it has never been a pristinely sharp-looking presentation but despite what I determine to be untoward manipulation it still looks better than I have ever seen it before on digital. On Blu-ray, colors appear bright and there is even some depth to the dual-layered image where the feature itself takes up over 26 Gig. There is a hint of grain in the backgrounds but those sensitive to the homogenized appearance of the detail may be less happy with what they see... but it is absolutely possible that this is inherent in the print although I can't recall other mid-eighties stock having this effect. Daylight scenes seem to make the alleged transfer culprit a bit more prominent, but this is still quite a cheesy film and I really got something out of my viewing with these 1080P visuals. I wasn't overly deterred by the apparent weakness of the appearance, that is to say, I still got a heavy dose of 'the willies'. Once I got past it - I had a super viewing.

















Audio :

There is some surprising depth to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. Horror films can rely heavily on a decent mix with effect sounds, both subtle and demonstrative creeping out of every corer of your home theater. This isn't too bad at all - a darn sight tighter than the image. There is also a decent score - befitting the genre. Dialogue is conveniently scattered at times but, for the most part, I liked what I heard. There are English and Spanish subtitles (no DUBs) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

The Blu-ray is stacked with three new 1080 supplements (40-minutes worth) beyond the director led commentary and older featurette found on the previous SE DVD edition from 2004. This is someone's favorite film at Anchor Bay as there is a lot of effort gone into the bonus features with cast input (seeing how they've aged is somewhat comforting), production design, retrospective pieces and even a Pop-up Trivia track. I kinda liked 'It Was the Eighties' with Linda Hamilton but surely there is something supplement-wise for anyone curious about Children of the Corn. You can even indulge in stills galleries, storyboards and a theatrical trailer as well. There is quite a lot here for those who wish to partake. Full marks for the extras. Great job Anchor Bay.



It's pretty hard to complain. A lot of love went into this edition and it's less than $13. This is one of those memorable, if unsubstantial, films from the past (impossible to believe it's 25-years old!). It definitely has it's appeal and there are still many who revel in this chilling story. On Blu-ray you get great value - the best it's ever looked or sounded and a host of extras (new and old). Despite any reservations I had - I surely recommend for a solid horror night (first of a Double Feature?) in your home theater! 

Gary Tooze

August 19th, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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