FIRESTARTER (1984) Reviews and overview


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Firestarter is a 1984 American science fiction thriller horror feature film based on the 1980 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The plot concerns a young girl who develops pyrokinesis and the secret government agency known as The Shop that seeks to control her.

The $15 million Dino de Laurentiis production was directed by Mark L. Lester from a screenplay by Stanley Mann, and stars Drew Barrymore, in her first post E.T. role, George C. Scott (The Changeling) and David Keith. The synth score is by Tangerine Dream (The Keep; Spasms).

Drew Barrymore in Firestarter

Main cast:

David Keith, Drew Barrymore, Freddie Jones, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Art Carney, Louise Fletcher.



Charlie McGee (Drew Barrymore) is a seemingly happy, healthy eight-year-old girl. Normal in every way but one: she has the power to set objects alight with just one glance. It is a power she does not want. It is a power she cannot control. And, each night, Charlie prays to be just like every other child.

However, there are those that will do anything in their power to find her, control her and destroy her. Will she have the power… to survive?

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A mini-series follow-up to the film, titled Firestarter 2: Rekindled, was released in 2002 on Syfy.



“I can’t piece together why I suddenly was really hot to see this, but I was, and I’m glad I did, as this is a bewitching mixture of total cheesy crap and somewhat cool story, and that can make for quite an entertaining time!” Cinema de Merde

“The film’s crucial flaw is the lack of a strong point to the story. A little girl has her dangerous power, some government agents want to examine her, others want to destroy her, and things catch on fire. That’s about it.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

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Buy DVD:

“In spite of the over the top performances, Firestarter is still an exciting and dazzling science fiction thriller steeped in the supernatural and filled with overtones that will provoke conversations from observant audiences. While no means a masterpiece, it’s a Stephen King film worthy of viewing once or twice.” Felix Vasquez, Cinema Crazed

Cast and characters:

  • David Keith as Andrew “Andy” McGee
  • Drew Barrymore as Charlene “Charlie” McGee
  • Freddie Jones as Doctor Joseph Wanless
  • Heather Locklear as Victoria “Vicky” McGee (née Tomlinson)
  • Martin Sheen as Captain Hollister
  • George C. Scott as John Rainbird
  • Art Carney as Irv Manders
  • Louise Fletcher as Norma Manders
  • Moses Gunn as Doctor Pynchot
  • Antonio Fargas as Taxi Driver

Filming locations:

Wilmington, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure, North Carolina


In 1982, Universal Pictures hired John Carpenter to direct the film. Carpenter had his The Thing collaborator Bill Lancaster write the script. Stephen King approved of the screenplay but after Carpenter’s The Thing flopped at the box office Universal fired Carpenter and abandoned Lancaster’s script.

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New and future releases