Disciples of the Crow (1983)

A year before Children of the Corn was released, director John Woodward took Stephen King up on his offer to film makers and independent filmmakers. He’d allow them to adapt any of his short stories for just $1*.

Originally appearing in March 1977 issue of Penthouse before it was printed in the short story collection Night Shift, this is the story of the darkness in a small town, particularly the cornfield.

Taking place in Jonah, Oklahoma instead of Gatlin, Nebraska in the novel, this version of the story shows more of the events that take place before a couple on the edge of divorce roll through town.

Made for a sliver of the budget afforded the Hollywood version and with around a third the running time. Disciples of the Crow is an effective slice of horror made by folks from around the very same region where the story was set. It also changes the film and instead of trying to explain exactly why things went so wrong, it takes a more chilling approach: who knows why things happen?

Woodward also appears as Bobby, the adult leader of the children who is a mix of the characters Isaac and Malachai.

I’m always a big fan of smaller budget affairs that take place in broad daylight. This would be a great example.

*Other King $1 shorts include Jeffrey C. Schiro’s The Boogeyman — not the 1980 Ulli Lomme slasher — and Frank Darabont’s The Woman in the Room.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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