Elena Kampouris: 'Children of the Corn' a cautionary tale wrapped in a horror movie

Horror movie "Children of the Corn" will be available on demand and digital platforms Tuesday. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films
1 of 5 | Horror movie "Children of the Corn" will be available on demand and digital platforms Tuesday. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films

NEW YORK, March 21 (UPI) -- Elena Kampouris and Kate Moyer say their characters in the horror movie, Children of the Corn, recognize that violence and corruption exist in their small Nebraska town, but disagree about how to solve the problems.

Written and directed by Kurt Wimmer, the prequel to Stephen King's short story and its 1984 film adaptation is set for release on demand and digital platforms Tuesday.


Moyer plays Eden, a 12-year-old girl who becomes possessed in a dying cornfield by a demon she calls He Who Walks.

Newly empowered, Eden leads the town's children to kill all the adults because of the environmental sins they have committed against the Earth.

Kampouris plays Boleyn, or Bo, a high school student keenly interested in science, who campaigns for cleaner farming practices, but tries to stop the carnage when Eden begins wreaking havoc.


"It's like this manifestation between two leaders -- one for reason and order and one for chaos and disorder," Kampouris told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.

"That's really compelling, especially when you have these two strong female characters," she added. "They're both going through this power struggle.

"Bo means well. She's trying to prevent bad things from happening, kind of causes more bad things to happen, but she has a good heart and she is feisty and determined to save the town before leaving it."

Eden has a completely different perspective than her former friend.

"She's gone through a lot as a young kid, and that's definitely affected the way she's grown up and had this view on the world," Moyer said.

"She has problems trusting people, especially adults because of how they have impacted her life negatively, so I feel like that really drives her character through the story and pushes her to take on this leadership role when nothing is changing for her generation."

Wimmer thinks the story is relevant, especially to young adult viewers, in 2023.

"I look around the world today and see a lot of kids who are becoming politically active and interested in what is going, particularly ecologically, which this film centers on -- the destruction of the Earth," he said.


"Corn clearly is symbolic of the Earth. The children are symbolic of the future," Wimmer added. "I see that everywhere with kids now."

Moyer, who isn't a horror fan, appreciated the many layers of the disturbing story she helped to tell.

"I think [the dimension] makes it have a bigger impact. Sure, it's about children who murder, but it's also about why they are doing it," she said. "It makes it more scary because it is more relatable."

Kampouris agreed the film packs the emotional wallop it does because it is thrilling entertainment that also carries and important message.

"There is this unavoidable thread between man and nature," she said. "If we destroy our world, we will rot, as well. You can try to ignore that, but it will catch up with you. This is also a cautionary tale at the same time as being a fun horror movie."

Wimmer joked, "Be good stewards of the Earth or your kids will kill you."

In addition to this prequel, the franchise includes eight sequels to the original movie, as well as a remake.

"There is just something inherently creepy about that title. I'm sure that has contributed to its longevity," Wimmer said.


Generational conflict, young versus old, is also a timeless theme still appreciated nearly four decades after the first Children of the Corn terrified moviegoers.

"It's about people of majority versus people of minority -- people who have power to direct their destinies, which is the adults, and people who are powerless," the filmmaker said.

Children of the Corn is essentially a story about revolution in which the lower classes rise up against the ruling classes, he added.

"But none of the movies, so far as I know, addressed that. It's always been done off screen," Wimmer said.

"To me, that's always been the most interesting part of the story -- these kids assuming agency and doing something about the world that is being imposed on them, the world that is being destroyed and taking it open themselves to make it better by getting rid of the disease, which is, of course, the adults."

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