Schlockleftoverfest: Firestarter

Firestarter (1984)


*Spoilers Throughout*

What’s It About:
 Drew Barrymore plays Charlie McGee who, along with her father, are trying to flee a nefarious agency that is responsible for making Charlie and her father telekinetic.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • Dino again? How many Stephen King flicks did that guy make?!
  • Now is David Keith the white guy or is that Keith David?
  • Heather Locklear? SCHWING!
  • This music is so out of place. I realize it’s the great Tangerine Dream but it’s not ominous or horror-themed at all.
  • So David Keith (the white one) and Drew Barrymore are fleeing some guys in suits on a busy city street. As soon as the suits get out their car to nab them, Keith hails a cab. Why didn’t they get a cab in the first place?
  • Hahaha. The cab driver is Huggy Bear Antonio Vargas! Sweet!
  • Keith has the power to manipulate minds. He makes Huggy Bear see a $1 bill as a $500 bill to take them to the airport.
  • In a flashback sequence we see Keith and Locklear and a dozen other people in a laboratory with a doctor saying they are all volunteers for a scientific experiment. Apparently this is how Keith got his telepathic powers. And managed to be able to boink Locklear.
  • Also it’s making some of the other subjects freak out or in intense pain. If only they were good looking like Locklear and Keith then the serum wouldn’t have adverse effects.
  • Barrymore mentally just set a guy’s feet on fire. Just his feet. Weird.
  • Keith panics as the guy’s feet are aflame and leaves the airport. But he should know that such a phenomenon wouldn’t be known that Drew did it. They could’ve faked being surprised like everyone else and not aroused suspicion to themselves.
  • Why did they go to the airport for anyway?
  • In a flashback, after Drew sets her mom’s hands on fire for refusing to go to bed Keith says that her power is a bad thing. But right before that he was training her to control it. Kinda a mixed message if you ask me.

  • In another flashback Keith comes home and finds his wife Locklear stuffed in a closet. I think she’s dead. Is that all we’re going to see of Locklear? Please no.
  • Dammit. Yeah she’s dead.
  • Keith finds Charlie and the agents who killed his wife outside someone’s house and he telepathically makes them give Charlie back to him. He then makes them blind out of revenge by telepathically telling them they’re blind. Which is cool but why are the guys writhing on the ground?! I mean, I’m sure I’ll never know the feeling of some dude telepathically making me lose my eyesight in an instant but I don’t know if I would drop to the ground in anguish though.
  • Martin Sheen in his second King flick. Come to think of it this is Barrymore’s second as well.
  • Just realized that the doctor who conducted the experiment is Freddie Jones who also played Ynyr in Krull!
  • How many times has King used telepathy in his stories? The Shining. Carrie. Dreamcatcher. The Stand. The Dead Zone to a lesser extent. The guy sure likes mental powers.
  • Did Drew just say ‘Grandthers’ instead of grandfathers?
  • Good ‘ol Art Carney.
  • Now that farmer Art Carney is taking Keith and Drew to his farm for a quick reprise I’m seeing a lot of similarities to Logan.
  • And his wife is played by Louise Fletcher. I’m going to take an educated guess and say they won’t be on the film for much longer as soon as the agents from The Shop find them there. Such odd roles for two academy award winning actors.
  • Oh weird. Barrymore also has psychic ability and can see things happening somewhere else. This wasn’t established before. I guess it’s now convenient to the plot.
  • Carney offers to help defend Keith and Barrymore and says he’ll get his gun. Barrymore makes this cute pouty face and says: “You don’t need your gun.” Hahaha. If she’s going out there to mentally burn all those guys then that’s one awesome way of her saying that without saying it.
  • Did an agent just say “Honest to Gosh.” That was really creepy.
  • Why is the wind picking up when Barrymore is concentrating on her powers?
  • It’s incredibly difficult watching this movie while Barrymore is mentally igniting bad guys on fire and not have The Prodigy song playing in your head!

  • Carney offers to help Keith and Barrymore giving them his Jeep which is awfully generous and he justifies it to his wife that the agents trespassed on his property without a warrant and tried to kidnap the girl. Even after he witnessed her burn about a dozen men with her mind he’s still more incensed by the trespassing.
  • Ya now there’s a very line between Tangerine Dream and common 80s porn music.
  • Keith and Barrymore drove to some mountain lake house. At first I thought it was remote and a good safe haven from the Shop but nope, it used to be owned by Keith’s grandfather. Which means the Shop can easily find the place if they researched the McGee’s thoroughly enough. Dumb plan.
  • For some reason George C. Scott just judo chopped the doctor played by Freddie Jones in the face killing him in the middle of the night.
  • Wow, one day and Sheen and Scott know where Keith and Barrymore are hiding out. One fucking day. Genius hideout Keith.
  • Hahaha. George C. Scott has a ponytail. Weird.
  • Eeeww. George C. Scott just said [Barrymore] is “Very beautiful. Very young.” After Sheen asked him what does he want her for.
  • George C. Scott just garroted a mailman and stole the mail in his truck. He and another Shop accomplice made the mailman stop by pretending they had a broken down car and asked if the mailman could help them jump the battery. The mailman complied and was going to help them. Scott could’ve easily stole the bag of mail while he was out of the truck instead of killing the poor man. Talk about ruthless.
  • Keith is a real big idiot. Scott shoots Barrymore with a tranquilizer dart and instead of grabbing her and running for cover, he stays with her and screams until Scott shoots him with a dart.
  • Does Keith have to hold his temples to activate his mental powers? Because that seems stupid.
  • The inside of the Shop is decorated like a funeral home.
  • Say what was stopping Charlie from frying Martin Sheen while he was alone with her.
  • This other doctor for the Shop is played by Moses Gunn, who played Bumpy Jonas in Shaft! What is with this flick and casting these awesome Blaxploitation actors?
  • Oh man, this movie is only halfway over? What else could possibly happen in the next hour?!
  • George C. Scott is posing as a cleaning guy in Charlie’s room.
  • I’m kinda wondering why The Shop hasn’t tried to replicate their success with other, more cooperative subjects to make them have mental powers. I know Charlie is probably a fluke since she’s an offspring of two subjects but have they tried at all to duplicate their findings? Obviously their serum worked on one person.
  • It just seems very difficult at this point to try to control or persuade the McGee’s to do anything the Shop wants them to.
  • It would be awesome if Keith blew up this dude’s head like in Scanners.
  • Why did George C. Scott put on an eye patch?*
    *According to imdb trivia: George C. Scott wears an eye patch over his left eye during the final half hour of the film which was due to the infection caused by the contact lens used earlier in the film. The eye was not quite healed and had to wear it to complete the filming of his scenes.

  • Why is Barrymore wearing a leotard?
  • Scott is trying to get Barrymore to warm up to him by pretending to be scared of the dark when there’s a blackout. And now he’s telling her about the time he was a Vietnam POW and ate live spiders. What is it with King and Vietnam war stories?
  • Still doesn’t explain why he’s wearing an eye patch. The first time he “cleaned” her room he didn’t wear it.
  • Well his eye patch and war stories worked because Barrymore totally trusts him.
  • Again with the wind while Barrymore activates her powers. She’s not even outside! Why are they using wind to convey the awesome mental powers?
  • After Barrymore burns things in her test Sheen excitedly tells that “she did it!” Does he not know that she torched half of his Shop agents at Art Carney’s farm?
  • Hahahahaha. George C. Scott tells Barrymore that the horse’s name is Necromancer. Great name for a horse. (Yeah The Shop has a stable for some reason) And then he says it means a wizard or sorcerer. He casually left out the part of the definition about communicating with the dead.
  • So now Scott and Barrymore are best buds, just like he planned. This is a little creepy. Why couldn’t the flick have a female who works for the Shop to befriend Barrymore? It just seems weird to have a 60-year-old man do it. Eye patch or not.
  • Why did the cinder blocks explode when Charlie was doing her powers in the room? Was the cinder blocks made out of C4?
  • Keith is slowly regaining his powers because he’s covertly not taking the pills The Shop is giving him to suppress his powers. The Shop really doesn’t know what it’s doing.
  • Again I have to question The Shop’s motives with Charlie and her pryokinesis. Are they planning on sending her off to a foreign country as a warrior? She’s 8.
  • Keith is now mentally controlling Sheen to get a helicopter for him and Charlie to escape. Why hasn’t he learned that running from the Shop is futile? He and Charlie have to kill each and every one of them if they want to truly be free from them.
  • I find it odd now that Keith can totally control Sheen completely without much effort and it used to be that he had to hold his head in pain and would get nosebleeds. It was also quick mental commands like ‘drop the gun’ or ‘you’re blind’ not something that made Keith a puppet master so to speak.
  • Now why does Scott have the eye patch on again?! To look more sinister? Why would he hinder his vision just to look more villainous?
  • Scott is guilting Charlie not to burn him because she will also burn the horses. Sinister move Scott.
  • Wait. Now I’m confused. Charlie just telepathically pulled the faucet off a water pipe. I thought she only had fire power?
  • Hahaha. So Keith commands Sheen to shoot Scott but he misses terribly and Scott shoots Sheen right in the head. Keith then commands Scott to jump off the second floor of the barn, which he does and hurts his leg but he still has his gun and shoots Keith in the neck. If only Keith commanded him to drop the gun instead of jump.
  • Very interesting but stupid part where Scott shoots at Charlie but she stops the bullet and heats it to the point of exploding (bullets don’t work that way).

  • Then she roasts Scott as he says that he loves her. Is he being sincere or was he trying to convince her to not burn him? He did just try to kill her after all.
  • Who’s commanding these troops and agents of Sheen and Scott are dead? The doctor guy? How do they even know what’s going on in the barn?
  • Man Drew Barrymore is intense on this. And this was shortly after E.T.
  • Woah! She just made a cannonball sized fire missile and totally annihilated this goon!

  • How hot can she get to make a literal force field that stops bullets?
  • I’m not gonna lie. This scene fucking rules. She’s kicking so much ass to the soundtrack of Tangerine Dream.
  • There’s assholes still trying to shoot her! This is insane.
  • Do you really think a copter is gonna stand a chance? Christ it wasn’t even armed.
  • Jumping Jesus Barrymore is slaughtering everyone. No wonder she became a junkie.
  • And her happy ending is living with Art Carney and Nurse Ratchet. How sweet. You know what? I’m cool with this. After that awesome fire massacre I’d be cool with wait…
  • …now she’s going to the New York Times to tell her story? Earlier in the film Keith said he wrote a letter to them. This could’ve been cut out and just have her get embraced by the farmers. This was unnecessary especially since she killed every Shop person. She already got her justice.


Scare Level: This is more of a sci-fi, action thriller than a horror movie. Probably why I left it out of last year’s Schlocktoberfest. That and it’s kinda good.

Gore Level: No gore. But plenty of crisped and charred flesh.

Nudity Level: George C. Scott only wears an eye-patch in one scene!

Best Line: “Get out of here, you bastard! I’ll burn you up! I’ll fry you!”

Best Scene: Easily the finale when Barrymore is going full nuclear on the bad guys with reckless abandon.

Worst Scene: This is not George C. Scott’s finest hour. The scene(s) where he’s trying to gain the trust of Charlie are tough to watch. Then again, most scenes with David Keith are bad too.

Stephen King References: Telekinesis, old wise men aiding the protagonist(s), creepy kids

Overall: This one is one of the more entertaining flicks I’ve seen during Schlocktoberfest season and that is saying something. Not sure why it took me so long to check this one out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great film and I wouldn’t say, run, go see it immediately but if it’s on and you have time to spare the final battle alone is worth it.

Score: 7 eye-patches (out of 10)

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