Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Firestarter (1984, Mark L. Lester)


Drew Barrymore has always been a good actress, and she got her start as a young girl appearing in multiple famous 1980s movies. One of them was Firestarter, which I think was really great even though the critics didn’t like that one. I bet they compared it to Carrie, and while it’s not as good as that film it is certainly a well done effort in its own right. Imagine a girl with the ability to cause fires with her mind. I wouldn’t want to anger that person, and the people who are after her find that out all too well.

Charlie and her dad Andy (David Keith) are on the run from The Shop, a quasi-CIA style organization that wants to harness her powers. Leading the group is Hollister (Martin Sheen played two evil characters in Stephen King adoptions), who sends George C. Scott’s creepy hit man Rainbird after them. What happens next is both violent and shocking, as Charlie’s full powers are revealed. I was reminded of The X-Men films, and while the comics existed before Firestarter the modern film adaptations clearly borrowed some elements from this movie.

I liked the flashbacks, which outline both Andy and his wife Vicky (Heather Locklear)’s powers, and how they try to deal with Charlie’s struggles to control her abilities. The Tangerine Dream score for this film is also unreal, and the final act is pure escalation, to put it mildly. Despite being a tad dated I really loved this movie, and I eagerly recommend it. Maybe one day I’ll read the book, too.

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