This is the 25th anniversary of “Firestarter,” director Mark L. Lester’s adaptation of Stephen King’s spooky and scorched tale about a little girl with a special talent for trouble. The movie had little 9-year-old Drew Barrymore in the lead; she had made her screen debut in “Altered States” in 1980 and
became a famous face with “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” in 1982, and in this film she was teamed with three Oscar winners (George C. Scott, Art Carney and Louise Fletcher) as well as Martin Sheen, David Keith and Heather Locklear and a score by Tangerine Dream.
I caught up with Barrymore as she basked in the glow of her well-received directorial debut “Whip It” and asked how “Firestarter” echoes for her. She chose her words carefully. “It’s a weird, different little movie. It looks dated when you watch it now, but it was a unique idea.”
Unique, perhaps, but part of a crowd. “Firestarter” was the fifth King adaptation to arrive theaters within a year (“Christine,” Cujo,” “The Dead Zone” and “Children of the Corn“) and, well, it didn’t exactly light it up with audiences or critics. Roger Ebert wrote that the film imports King’s vivid creations but “the most astonishing thing in the movie, however, is how boring it is.” Ouch, that burns.
– Rachel Abramowitz
Artwork: Vertigo Comics.