If remakes are what’s hot right now in Hollywood, then remakes of Stephen King adaptations are infernos. Everyone seems to be digging into the back catalog of the famous horror writer, with new versions of It, Pet Sematary, Carrie, and Firestarter all hitting big and small screens in the last decade. [Remakes of Salem’s Lot and Cujo are on the way.]
Another addition to that ever-growing list is a new version of Children of the Corn, which doesn’t deviate too much from the 1984 original with Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton. There’s lots of corn, some creepy kids, a few grisly deaths, and a charismatic leader who shouldn’t be trusted. Digital Trends talked with the 2023 remake’s director, Kurt Wimmer, about the enduring appeal of Stephen King and why he’s drawn to remaking classic genre films from the ’80s and ’90s.
Digital Trends: In researching your past work, I discovered you’ve been involved with a lot of remakes. You’ve written screenplays for the remakes of The Thomas Crown Affair, Total Recall, and Point Break. And now we have Children of the Corn, which is another remake. What’s so appealing to you about reinterpreting something that already exists?
Kurt Wimmer: Absolutely nothing. [Laughs] I didn’t intend to be the “King of Remakes.” I’ve made a lot of movies and some of them are remakes. It’s just that this is the world that we live in now. It’s very difficult to get an original movie made. There has to be some sort of recognizable IP attached to it, like a comic book, a novel, or a previous movie that can be remade.
So there’s absolutely nothing that attracts me to them. With Point Break and Total Recall,I really loved those original movies so when I got the offer to write the remakes, I said to myself, “Well, listen, if somebody’s going to fuck it up, it might as well be me.” You don’t always have complete control over the movies you get to make.
I appreciate the honesty.
Sure. The Thomas Crown Affair was at the very beginning of my career. With that one, I couldn’t say no to doing it.
You said that you were a fan of the original Total Recall and Point Break. Is the same true with the 1984 version of Children of the Corn? And have you seen any of the nearly dozen sequels that have been made over the years?
I haven’t seen any of the sequels, to be honest. I just went back to the original material [the short story by Stephen King]. There’s a reason why so many sequels were made because the original material that King created has such resonance.
As written, Children of the Corn has a very bare-bones skeletal story with enormous elasticity, which allows it to be retold for different generations. The major theme of the story is generational warfare. In the 1984 version, it focused on religious fanaticism. Young people today who are 16 years old, if they go back and watch that movie, they won’t get it at all because that’s not what’s important today.
In 2023, I think children have a real bone to pick with adults in terms of the way the world is being administered around them. And we all know that the Earth is going to hell in a handbasket. And it’s certainly not the younger generation’s fault, but they’re the ones that are going to have to deal with and live with it. They’re not making the decisions. The adults are making these really lousy decisions. And so I can understand why kids would want to take matters into their own hands.
I think that is really something that deserves to be retold through a Children of the Corn remake. It’s a template that can be repeated over and over again. I think that 15 years from now, there’ll be a different reason for friction between adults and kids, and it should be remade again to address that friction.
Are you a big Stephen King fan?
Oh, yeah. When I was younger, I read a lot of his stuff. I love the classics like Carrie and The Shining, I really enjoyed those books. In recent years, I haven’t kept up with him. I mean, who can? He writes faster than you can read them.
What was the most challenging aspect of shooting this movie?
The hardest part was shooting in cornfields with a bunch of kids covered in blood. I mean, every movie is challenging, so I can’t say this one was more challenging than the rest. We shot in April 2020 during the early stages of COVID so at one point, we were the only movie actively in production on Earth. But I can’t say it was more challenging than any other movie I’ve done.
Children of the Corn is now playing in theaters.