Saturday, October 4, 2014

The MONTH of HORROR - Day 3: Firestarter

If Stephen King ever wrote an X-Men comic, it would be 'Firestarter'.

Released in 1984, Drew Barrymore had to have been the ideal casting choice for a young girl with "pyrokenesis", the ability to set anything on fire with her mind. On the run with her father, who has his own powerful gift of mind control, government agents are hot on their trail. It's not the FBI, but a super secret branch simply called "The Shop", and they have their own agenda for what they intend to do once they capture these mutant fugitives.

Sounds like a pretty fun little story, right? At times it is but unfortunately it doesn't sustain what should be a campy, entertaining idea, and instead winds up becoming a bit of a bore. The set up is great, the movie looks decent enough, the pulsing, synth heavy musical score by Tangerine Dream is a stand out, and the characters seem interesting but then what went wrong? I'm going to guess budget was a problem, and they spent it all on the effects heavy finale, which may have handicapped large portions of the rest of the film where it simply becomes too talky.

There is one character in this movie though that I need to shine a spotlight on, and not because it's a great character but more so because it's an extremely weird one, leading to several uncomfortable scenes. Academy Award winner George C. Scott plays an "exterminator", basically an assassin, who is a straight up pedophile. I'm not being over-dramatic in my word choice there either, his entire motivation is to run away with Drew Barrymore's 8-year old character, and become her lover. He sports an eye patch, a long grey ponytail, and is constantly aroused around her, even touching her inappropriately. I was so creeped out by many of their scenes together that it tarnished my overall experience with this flick.

This isn't a bad movie, nor is it a great movie, it merely exists. If you're a Stephen King fanatic then yeah, you may as well check it out, if you haven't already. It's not one of the best adaptations of his material, nor is it the worst--far, far, far away from the worst!

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