Firestarter is a 1984 science fiction thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The plot concerns a young girl who develops pyrokinesis (the ability to create fire) and the secret government agency which seeks to control her. It was directed by Mark L. Lester and starring Drew Barrymore in the title role as Charlie, David Keith as her father, Andy, and George C. Scott as Rainbird, the sadistic killer out to capture her. It also starred Heather Locklear as Vicky (Charlie’s mother) and Martin Sheen as Cap.
This was a great take on the classic Stephen King novel and showed from a young age the amazing acting talent that Drew Barrymore has. The plot is very enticing with the characters being well developed and likeable.
David Keith is fantastic in the role of Andy, looking after his daughter with his own powers, Andy developed telepathic hypnosis, a mind control ability, he calls the "push", the ability to create a state of extreme suggestion in the victim's mind after he and his wife (Vicky) played by Heather Locklear signed up to take part in the ‘Lot 6’ experiment. Vicky herself ended up with a small amount of telekinesis, as King had dealt with before in Carrie.
The great thing about this movie is that you really feel for the characters and are on their side right from the start. There are some really emotional scenes in the film, mostly down to Keith’s and Barrymore’s performances which are spot on; they are also a very believable father and daughter duo.
This is another one of King’s ‘have to watch’ movies and the portrayal of the book and characters are kept entirely the same.
The movie was filmed in and around Wilmington, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure, North Carolina.
A miniseries follow-up to the film, titled Firestarter 2: Rekindled, was released in 2002 on the Sci-Fi Channel. It starred Marguerite Moreau as a grown-up Charlie and Malcolm McDowell as Rainbird. Although as other King sequels written by other people, such as ‘Carrie 2: The Rage’ – they just don’t seem to pull it off as well. The sequel to Firestarter didn’t seem to show much throwback to the original characters at all and I think that was its biggest flaw, because the original is so character based.
On the February 3rd, 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live, host Drew Barrymore reprised her role as Charlie McGee, in a fake commercial for "Firestarter Brand Smoked Sausages."