Nothing puts a marriage to the test like a jaunt to bible belt Nebraska and into the midst of a pagan nightmare. But in the case of Kings hapless couple, Burt and Vicky, this is the reality they face as they discover a dead child in the road and head out to local town, Gatlin, to get help. What they actually find is a ghost town, with shadows cast by the Midwestern sun concealing a community of kids with murderous intent. Like all of the stories in this list, Children Of The Corn starts slow and, in a way, quite mundane as we first meet this Cali couple during an argument about directions. However, the story soon builds into something frightening and, crucially, believable as Burt and Vicky start to learn more about what's happened in this town. As the couple become separated a finale among the leafy stalks looms, where it's safe to say that only the corn comes out feeling pleased. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre may have arrived three years earlier and scared us into ever visiting backwater America The Children Of The Corn scythed its way into the pages of Cavalier in 1977 but this perhaps does a better job of creating an aura of terror in the remotest of locations and is a deserved number one - a short story crammed with scares, drama and a page turner in every sense. As well as spawning its own film franchise, the monolithic power of The Stand also looms over this tale, with King fans more than likely well aware that He Who Walks Behind The Rows is none other than uber antagonist, Randall Flagg. You've read the complete list, now it's time to sharpen your memories and cut in with any other titles that you feel were contenders for this list.
Shaun is a former contributor for a number of Future Publishing titles and more recently worked as a staffer at Imagine Publishing.
He can now be found banking in the daytime and writing a variety of articles for What Culture, namely around his favourite topics of film, retro gaming, music, TV and, when he's feeling clever, literature.