Many of you have no doubt seen the 1984 horror film classic Children of the Corn. Many of you haven’t, and for that, you should consider yourself blessed. But after seeing it a few times, I’ve got one question nagging at me. (Okay, many questions from this god awful movie, but we’ll focus on one for a second.) What happened to the kid that was shoved in the trunk in the beginning of the movie?
For those that haven’t seen the movie, Children of the Corn is based on a short story written by a little-known horror fiction author, Stephen King. The premise is simple enough – the Devil, or someone, really, it doesn’t really specify beyond the moniker “He Who Walks Behind The Rows,” turns a whole bunch of unfortunate-looking children against their local adults, murdering them all in the process.
And they really are quite unfortunate looking:
Gaaah! Poor guy.
The ball really gets rolling, however, when this asshole of a doctor and his girlfriend, played by Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame, travel across the country to take a job in a Seattle hospital. Long story short, they decide to drive across the country in their dog-puke-yellow Buick, and end up heading through the endless corn fields of the great state of Nebraska, which is a place I am told actually exists.
While looking down at the map, the Bad Doctor and Linda Hamilton manage to hit a young boy, sadly pleading for help, standing in the middle of the empty road.
He was bleeding from a neck wound before being struck, but now, he’s definitely a goner. And also, I don’t think legs and arms are supposed to bend like that? Probably a minor issue now though.
At first, he checks on the boy, but it’s not looking good. There’s blood everywhere, they’re in the middle of nowhere, and Linda Hamilton has immediately decided that yes, now is a good time to go take a nap. Proper lawyers always advise grabbing a few winks of shuteye after acting as an accessory to homicide.
Being a Bad Doctor, the Bad Doctor does what any of us would when faced with a dead child that was alive, but injured, yet is now definitely dead thanks to your own negligent actions:
He stuffs him in the cavernous maw of his pukey Buick.
And then they drive off, fingerprints all over the definitely murdered child, to ostensibly find someone with a telephone. The world’s most awkward conversation that seems inevitable (“Hi, yes, I’d like to borrow your phone. I have the body of a dead child in the trunk of my car. He was murdered. Well, someone tried to murder him. He’s got slashes on his throat and wrists, but he was alive when I found him. But then I mowed him over with my car, so he’s definitely dead now. I am definitely not the one that cut him up though, so don’t charge me with anything, but yeah, the car part was all this guy. Anyways, body’s in the trunk. Got a phone I could borrow?”) sadly never happens.
Instead, the Bad Doctor and Linda Hamilton try to reach a phone in the city of Hemmingford, but they’re re-directed towards the ominous town of Gatlin, which I’m told does not actually exist. The dead child really only serves as a plot device from this point forward, as now Linda Hamilton and the Bad Doctor must try to escape with their lives.
Because this is a 1980s horror movie and people weren’t really feeling original in horror movies back then.
Gatlin is completely deserted, for the most part, and there’s evidence that something’s gone horribly amiss. Stores are trashed, and wisps of dried corn husks adorn pretty much anything still standing. Instead of plowing on with their quest to find a phone, Hamilton and Doc decide that no, screw the dead kid in the trunk, they’re going to get to the bottom of this mystery.
What they find is unsettling. The town has been entirely taken over by a murderous child cult, controlled with an iron fist by a weirdly aged-looking kid named Isaac (it turns out the actor playing Isaac was actually aged, as he was an adult that suffered from a hormone deficiency and now seems like a very nice English teacher in the ‘burbs), and his main goon, Malachi. It’s cornfield Nebraska, so I don’t question the names.
They also meet two kids, Joby and Sarah, who are pretty much inconsequential to the story, except Sarah likes to draw prophecies of people getting murdered in crayon. It sounds more important than it is.
Bad Doc and #TeamLH discover that Isaac, Malachi, and the rest of the evil children have been sacrificing anyone who reaches the age of 19 to a demon who lives in the cornfields, and doesn’t seem to do much besides burrow like a mole in the dirt and occasionally accept child sacrifices.
Pictured: the devil. Photo credit Serena.
Malachi and Isaac argue a bit, Linda Hamilton gets cut up and almost crucified a bit, and the Bad Doctor bumbles around A LOT. Throughout it all, Little Joey’s body lies rotting in the trunk.
Eventually, Joby and Sarah casually mention that, oh yeah, someone else came here once before. A police officer, in fact. He was murdered by the kids, and apparently the rest of the police force/the FBI/the National Guard/really just everyone figured that the guy who wandered into the town full of evil young’uns and never came back out again probably just decided to buy a house and have a nice life there or something. But that police officer did try to do the only reasonable thing, which is burn all the corn down.
Bad Doc and Linda finally get the idea that they, too, need to burn the corn down, and do so with the help of some ethanol and a really crappy Molotov cocktail. The whole thing burns, and in doing so, they seem to kill off the guy from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Maybe explains why he was in some sort of purgatory during that film.
Satisfied that Jack the Pumpkin King is dead, Bad Doc, Linda Hamilton, and Joby and Sarah stroll out to their car. “So what are we going to do with these two little munchkins, huh?” Linda Hamilton asks.
Presumably Little Joey’s body, in the trunk not five feet away from them, is not one of the little munchkins.
Bad Doc goes into the car to look for the map to Hemmingford, when one of the child cultists, hiding in the back seat, pulls out a sickle and tries to kill him. Linda Hamilton, in prep for her upcoming role as the mother to the savior of humankind from the cybernetic menace, knocks the kid cultist out with a swift bash from the car door.
The car door. Attached to the car. With the trunk. That Little Joey’s corpse still lies inside.
And then... they just walk off. That’s it. The end.
Literally. No more words are spoken, least not of Little Joey. Not Bad Doc, not Linda Hamilton, nor Sarah or Joby, say a word about that horrific smell coming from the back of the car.
Nobody remembers the kid they finished off just that morning, the one with the gruesome lacerations, that they totally killed. They just pretend it never happened. For all we know, his body is still in that car.
Maybe with all of the other dead kids lying around, they figured no one would ask about one more.
Prayers up for Little Joey.