My Life in Horror 1984 – Firestarter


My quest continues to watch two horror films from every year I’ve been on the planet, the first winner of a Twitter poll was A Nightmare on Elm Street. The second winner I was surprised to see was Stephen King’s Firestarter turned into a film. I’d hadn’t really heard much of this and wasn’t expecting too much when I watched it, did it exceed my expectations? Continue reading to find out!


Director – Mark L. Lester

Writer – Stanley Mann, Stephen King(novel)

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

Run Time – 114 minutes

Budget – $15 million estimated

Tagline – Will she have the power… to survive?

The 80’s was an immensely popular time to take Stephen King books and turn them into films. He had and has such an extensive library that’s there loads to choose from. I recently reviewed Christine which was even better than I remember, I wasn’t really looking forward to this when it won the voting but after seeing the cast I knew it’d be at least a decent watch. Drew Barrymore was a really good child actor add in Martin Sheen along with Oscar winner Louise Fletcher and it’s a very strong cast.


The story starts with Andrew on the run with his daughter Charlie. It’s clear that he has some sort of strange powers, it turns out he can make people do what he wants by controlling their mind. How did he come across these powers? Well thanks to some flash backs we see Andrew and Vicky had volunteered for some scientific experiments. The two then paired up and had a child Charlie, as you can guess from the title of the film she can set things on fire and much more.


Whilst on the run they manage to hitch a ride but the old man they are with is smarter than they think, he knows they’re not what they appear to be. He and his wife (Louise Fletcher) take them in and even fight alongside them when the group responsible for giving Andrew his power comes after them.


The group that did the experiments are chasing Andrew and Charlie and eventually they end up in their custody although it is after we get to see what Charlie is capable of. With both held prisoner by the evil “Shop” group they are split up, it’s here that the evil John Rainbird along with Capt. Hollister concoct a plan to make Charlie display her powers. They separate the Father and Daughter up and keep her active with false promises.


Eventually the Father attempts an escape plan, it’s here that we get a somewhat unexpected and spectacular display of Charlies powers as she tries to get out. I was really taken back but what she was capable of and it was an amazing end scene to the film.

The Good

  • The acting is top notch all the characters play their parts really well.
  • Drew Barrymore in particular is great, it’s easy to see why she was such a good child actress.
  • John Rainbird comes across as a henchman to start with but he’s one evil bastard.
  • The scene when Charlie loses it and unleashes her true powers is immensely satisfying to see.
  • Pacing of the film is good, it’s just under two hours long but I wasn’t bored at any point nor did I feel it dragged.
  • I liked that the group/place known as “The Shop” was kept hushed up, we didn’t really get to see or know much about them and I liked that.
  • The very last scene was the perfect way to finish the film.


The Bad

  • I’d have preferred to have seen a bit more of how Andy and Vicky got together and had Charlie. It’s all a bit rushed, a single scene to show them meet during the tests then boom another scene and they’re married with a kid.
  • Louise Fletcher is an Oscar winning actress yet she’s really underused, I mean it’s not as if they could have wrote her character a bigger part or anything it just seems a waste of someone like her.
  • Some people really don’t learn their lesson, she just threw a fireball at your workmate yet you still chase her, are you mental?


As I said this time period was popular for Stephen King books being turned into films. We all know a load of them and we’ve all watched a fair few as well but there are some that have been catapulted to the top sure they’re great films but it leaves a few hiding in the shadows. This is one of those films, I never see it mentioned at all, maybe because it’s not really that scary? That’s the only reason I can think of but I really enjoyed this, if you’re a Stephen King film fan then this is a must watch. If you’re a fan of this type of movie then you need to grant yourself two hours of spare time and give this one a watch.

Overall Rating – 8/10

The other films I’ve review for the My Life in Horror series

My Life in Horror 1984 – A Nightmare on Elm Street

My Life in Horror 1983 – Christine

My Life in Horror 1983 – Videodrome

My Life in Horror 1982 – Swamp Thing

My Life in Horror 1982 – Poltergeist

My Life In Horror 1981 – The Beyond

My Life In Horror 1981 – An American Werewolf In London



9 thoughts on “My Life in Horror 1984 – Firestarter

  1. Great post.I loved the novel.It was fast paced and very good.The movie is the same and Drew Barrymore is great in this.The story is surprisingly touching too as the bond between father and daughter is sweet. Another King adaptation that was made well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Life in Horror 1985 – Demons | AcidBurnsHorrorshow

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