Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark L. Lester|
|Written by||Stanley Mann
Stephen King (novel)
|Music by||Tangerine Dream|
|Running time||114 minutes|
|Box office||$17,080,167 (US) |
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 and the secret government agency which seeks to control her. The film was directed by Mark L. Lester, and stars Drew Barrymore and David Keith. The movie was filmed in and around Wilmington, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure, North Carolina.
Andy McGee (David Keith) met his future wife Vicky Tomlinson (Heather Locklear) in college while they were earning money by participating in an experiment in which they were given a dose of a low-grade hallucinogen called LOT-6. The experiment grants Vicky the ability to read minds; Andy can make people do and believe what he wants, but the effort gives him nosebleeds. Andy and Vicky went on to get married, and they now have a 9-year-old daughter named Charlene "Charlie" McGee (Drew Barrymore), who can start fires at will, and also tell the near future.
Andy comes home from work one day to find that Vicky has been tortured and murdered; the family had already suspected that the government agency that sponsored the experiment, the Department of Scientific Intelligence (aka "The Shop"), was checking on them. The government wants to capture Charlie and harness her powerful firestarting ability as a weapon. Andy rescues Charlie from abduction by agents of The Shop, and for the next year they are on the run.
To protect themselves, Andy writes letters to major newspapers, but mailing them reveals their location. The Shop sends the one-eyed agent John Rainbird (George C. Scott) to capture them and stop the mail. At the Shop's facility, father and daughter are kept separated. Andy is medicated, and subjected to tests, which show his powers have decreased. Meanwhile, Rainbird takes the role of "John the friendly orderly" to befriend Charlie and encourage her to submit to tests.
Charlie's demonstrated powers increase exponentially, and she continually demands to see her father. Andy stops swallowing his drugs and slowly recovers his power, which he uses to influence Captain Hollister (Martin Sheen) to arrange an escape from the facility. Charlie tells "John" about the escape, and he makes sure to be there. On his way to rendezvous with Charlie at the facility's stables, Andy learns about Rainbird's ruse, and reveals it to her. Andy forces Hollister to shoot at Rainbird; Rainbird kills Hollister and fatally wounds Andy, then is burned to death by Charlie. With his dying breath, Andy tells Charlie to destroy the facility and run, and she does, leaving the facility up in flames, killing many people.
- Drew Barrymore as Charlie McGee, the pyrokinetic of the title
- David Keith as Andy McGee, Charlie's father
- George C. Scott as John Rainbird
- Freddie Jones as Dr. Joseph Wanless, who ran the original experiment
- Heather Locklear as Vicky Tomlinson McGee, Andy's wife, Charlie's mother
- Martin Sheen as Captain "Cap" Hollister, head of the Department of Scientific Intelligence
- Moses Gunn as Dr. Pynchot
- Art Carney as Irv Manders, a farmer who assists the McGees
- Louise Fletcher as Norma Manders, Irv's wife
- Jack Magner as young serviceman
1984 LP album cover
|Soundtrack album by Tangerine Dream|
|Tangerine Dream chronology|
|4.||"Charly the Kid"||3:51|
|11.||"Out of the Heat"||2:30|
- Edgar Froese– keyboards, electronic equipment, guitar
- Christopher Franke– synthesizers, electronic equipment, electronic percussion
- Johannes Schmoelling– keyboards, electronic equipment
See also 
- Ojos de fuego, an Argentine short film
- Firestarter at the Internet Movie Database
- Firestarter at AllRovi
- Firestarter at Rotten Tomatoes
- Firestarter at Box Office Mojo
- NC Film
- Films shot in North Carolina
- Western North Carolina Film Commission
- Movies Filmed in North Carolina