Short Story Review: Children of the Corn by Stephen King

Children of the CornTitle: Children of the Corn
Author: Stephen King
Anthology: From Night Shift
Publication Date: February 1978
Genres: Horror, Short Stories
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
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“This 1977 Stephen King classic is about a couple Burt and Vicky, who drive to California for a vacation in a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage. As they drive through the middle of Nebraska, their constant bickering is interrupted when Burt hits a child who suddenly appears out of a cornfield. Burt stops the car and examines the child, only to discover that the boy’s throat had been slit before he was hit by the car. Vicky looks in the boy’s suitcase that he had with him, and she finds a creepy crucifix made of corn. Spooked, Vicky says that they should take the boy and his belongings to the nearest large town which happens to be 70 miles away. Burt rejects this idea and says that they should go to the authorities in the nearby small town of Gatlin. The only problem is that when they arrive, it seems like they are the only ones there. Everything around them seems out-of-date as if no one had lived there for quite some time. Despite Vicky’s protests, Burt explores the town and the church — the only place that seems to have been kept up. It is in that church that Burt begins to discover some of the town’s dark secrets.”


“The Children of the Corn” is a short story and is a very fast-paced read at that. I typically appreciate stories that get right to the point, but this one was a bit too short, even for my taste. There was so much packed into this story that it seemed a bit rushed and really wasn’t as fleshed out as it could be. There were a lot of thematic elements of religion, sacrifice, and morality, which were quite intriguing, but were ultimately left open-ended and that gave the book a bit of a flat feeling for me. Yes, it was creepy but no, it wasn’t King’s best work.

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