Donald Borchers believes he's hit his target.
"I think we stepped up to the line, measured the distance to the dartboard and struck the bullseye," said Borchers, the producer, director and co-writer of the remake of "Children of the Corn."
Borchers' version of "Children of the Corn," based on a Stephen King short story, premieres next weekend on the cable channel Syfy. It was filmed in the Quad-City area over about four weeks during September 2008.
Besides the made-for-cable TV film, an expanded version on DVD will be released in October. The DVD will include a few minutes of additional footage.
Borchers said Syfy, formerly the Sci-Fi Channel, is pleased with the results.
"From the script I submitted, not one word was changed because of an instruction from either the studio or the network," he said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "Not one line of dialogue was changed."
"Children of the Corn" is one of several movies to film in Iowa of late thanks to tax incentives granted to filmmakers.
Borchers was nothing but complimentary toward the crew and residents of the state.
"First and foremost, what great people," he said, "everybody we met, from the first phone call to the film commissioner to the local contact guy to hotel people. Even the temp agencies. ... fabulous locations."
About 1,000 children auditioned for speaking and non-speaking roles in the film.
"When we said we needed extras, heaven forbid," Borchers said with a laugh. "The enthusiasm from the people who wanted to volunteer to go on this crazy, educational learning journey of being in the film - what rewards we were given."
Borchers praised the cooperation of the children's parents and teachers, the latter parlaying the students' experiences into classroom reports on what they'd learned.
A year after the fact, he also had praise for The Lodge hotel in Bettendorf, Hy-Vee food stores throughout the area and the price of sushi in the Quad-Cities.
In the original story and movie, a married couple discovers a small Nebraska town where a gang of children, armed with farm tools, has taken over.
Borchers co-produced the original "Children of the Corn," which became a cult classic after it was released in 1984, but it was one of the few movies based on his works where King disapproved of the treatment, including the ending.
"I wanted to get it right this time," Borchers said. "I made Stephen King's short story. It's faithful. We took a chance by not going with the traditional Hollywood structure and I think it paid off in spades."
King, who is credited as a co-writer, has seen this movie, Borchers said. Writers Guild of America regulations state that he could keep his name in the credits, be listed under a pseudonym or take his name off completely. He elected to keep his name in the credits, Borchers proudly said.
"Children of the Corn," which Borchers had in the works for many years before filming it, may yield a harvest beyond a two-hour TV movie. David Simkins, his former classmate at the University of Notre Dame, is executive producer of "Warehouse 13," a Syfy original series, and Borchers has hopes for "Corn" to become a weekly show as well.
"If there is interest, we have the concept for quite an interesting series," he said. "I've got a hunch that whether or not it gets ratings will determine its fate."
Borchers said he is confident audiences will enjoy the finished product.
"If you're a person who otherwise enjoys the genre of horror, you will find this delivers in spades and you will have a very spooky night," he said, then added, "with nightmares."
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