Disciples of the Crow (John Woodward, 1983, USA)

Made one year before Fritz Kiersch's feature-length adaptation of Stephen King's 1977 short story, Disciples of the Crow is the first attempt to adapt the tale of a cult of killer children who worship the ominous corn god - "He Who Walks Behind the Rows". Despite being truly low-budget and facing the limitations associated with it, Disciples is a remarkably faithful adaptation (although to be fair, faithfulness when it comes to Stephen King adaptations is a very low bar). The most significant change arrives at the beginning - King's setting of Gatlin, Nebraska is replaced with Oklahoma. It's unclear why they changed the setting, as there are no other attempts within the film to disguise that it is a King adaptation.

Disciples also notably diverges in that it makes the killer kids mostly anonymous - the iconic Isaac and Malachi are not named in the film. The film also changes the extremely grim ending of King's story. Interestingly, Fritz Kiersch's 1984 feature-length adaptation also changed the ending of the story - in both versions of the film, the couple of Burt and Vicky survive (at least for now). 

Disciples have some interesting ideas when it comes to the articulation of the kids' weapons and methods of worship, clearly drawing some inspiration from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The famous "Blue Man" also makes an appearance in the film. Despite having no budget, the film builds a considerable amount of tension, and the final melee in which the kids attack Burt and Vicky are quite tense. Despite some poor acting, Disciples of the Crow is one of the better short film adaptations of a Stephen King work. It received limited video distribution in the US and Germany, where it was on a compilation of other King short films called The Night Shift Collection.



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