A couple who participated in a potent medical experiment gain telekinetic ability and then have a child who is pyrokinetic.
Release Year: 1984
Rating: 5.8/10 (11,254 voted)
Mark L. Lester
Stars: Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Freddie Jones
Andrew and Vicky McGee met while earning money as guinea pigs for an experiment at college. The experiment was shrouded in suspicion and mystery, and seemed to be related to psychic abilities. The two were married and had a daughter Charile, who has the ability to start fires by merely thinking about it. Naturally, the government takes a great interest in Charlie, and operatives from the secret department known as "The Shop" want to quarrantine and study her.
Writers: Stephen King, Stanley Mann
Andrew 'Andy' McGee
Charlene 'Charlie' McGee
Doctor Joseph Wanless
Victoria 'Vicky' Tomlinson McGee
George C. Scott
(as Richard Warlock)
She has the power . . . an evil destructive force.
Release Date: 11 May 1984
Filming Locations: Chimney Rock Park – Highway 64/74A, Chimney Rock, North Carolina, USA
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
Martin Sheen took over at a late stage from Burt Lancaster who had to withdraw following heart surgery.
Crew or equipment visible:
When Charlie throws the three agents in silver fire suits out of the barn after setting them on fire, the wires used to pull them back are clearly visible as the barn door breaks.
You men are tresspassin. Show me a warrant or get off my land.
We don't need a warrant.
You do unless I woke up in Russia this morning!
One of the more accessible King adaptations, but best if you enjoyed the book
Firestarter is the story of Charlie (Drew Barrymore at age 8) and Andy,
her dad (David Keith), and the people who are trying to imprison,
control and/or kill them (Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Moses Gunn,
and others). Charlie is a mutant. Her father and mother were part of an
experiment on mutagenic substances performed on college students in the
1960s by The Shop. The experiment gave Andy the ability to control
others minds, but the mutation, apparently dormant in his wife, was
passed on through the sex chromosome to his daughter. Charlie, quite
plainly, can combust virtually anything with her mind.
Though all the acting in this film is good, Barrymore and Scott are
truly awesome. Scott plays a brilliant sociopath, and can go from a
kindly old Viet Nam vet to a ruthless killer with one quick change of
facial expression. And Barrymore (at the age of 8, if you didn't pick
up on that the first time I said it) gives her character a fully
believable person-hood with great depth.
Like the novel, this is more of a horror-thriller than classic King
ghost stories – like The Shining. It is also less classic King horror –
like Carrie. And its also not a great drama like Dolores Claiborne,
Misery and Stand By Me. Though it fits into roughly the same category
as Hearts in Atlantis, it is not a literary as this much later King
work and the characters are not as well developed. Although the book
could be said to be one of King's earlier experiments with what would
become a formula for his lesser works, King's writing is so lucid, and
his characters are so interesting, believable and nicely examined, that
his 'B fiction' is still somewhat above the average best-seller. The
film follows the book very closely, and, like the book, is sort of a
prototype for the more formulaic films in the King portfolio.
The directing is very good, the cinematography (especially the effects)
is excellent, and the film is, as a whole entertaining. But, for those
who have not read the book, the film will likely come off as 'no big
deal.' As with many of the more formulaic King-derived films, this is
best seen as a cathartic summary of the original work (like
Dreamcatchers, Running Man, The Stand, Maximum Overdrive, The Mangler