Here we are, today, with Warner Brothers' Godzilla pitted against Sony's The Amazing Spider-man 2, and with highly successful The Walking Dead taking another few months out before AMC kicks off its fifth season. However it's all too clear that the spandex crowd have gained world domination, with a massively popular back-catalogue of superhero movies and another half a decade's worth of box office hits already in planning. However, many attempts have also gained world criticism. There's a very thin line between success and excess, after all.
It only makes sense that I take this route towards explaining how Quantum Geek's next retro movie review should appeal to the comic book fans out there whose movie fare nowhere near resembles the darkness of their favourite Marvel or DC story arcs. Without further jibber-jabber on behalf of yours truly, let's set back the clocks...
STEPHEN KING'S FIRESTARTER
Tired as you may be of the name Stephen King, especially if you watched a lot of television in the last decade and a half, the '80s really set him onto the path to superstardom. Movies such as Cujo, Creepshow, Children of the Corn and Christine aren't just vivid childhood nightmares to many of us, they're an important part of cinema history, regardless of their box office performance!
One movie of his that wasn't clear cut horror, however, was Firestarter, and I feel that it doesn't come across as memorable as the rest, sheerly for the fact that it wasn't one of the grossout movies. Instead, thanks to today's comic book superhero renaissance, King's Carrie-esque journey into shady government experiments and pyrokinesis (fireballs out your ass, baby!) is probably more relevant today than it's ever been. Despite its age, it's also a really enjoyable bit of drama, pumped chock-full of literal hair-raising pyro-stunts.
King's limited and highly sought after 1980 novel of the same name was adapted for the big screen and released in May of 1984, starring then-child actor Drew Barrymore in her first movie since Spielberg's ET: The Extra Terrestrial amongst a collective of very fine actors, including Oscar winning veteran George C. Scott (Dr Strangelove, The Exorcist III) and Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The West Wing). Imagine an X-Men Origins movie to one of Professor X's many gifted school pupils, only it was made in the '80s. Instead of millions being spent on tailor-making fucking leotards, you spend them on good actors, original loactions and then blowing it all to shit. That is Firestarter, and if you want my opinion, it fucking rocks!
Firestarter sees future husband and wife Andy McGee (David Keith) and Vicky Tomlinson (Heather Locklear) meet as volunteers of a scientific experiment, just trying to pay their way through college like any other sensible and wholesome hippy kids. The experiment is being run by shady government organisation "The Shop" aka the Department of Scientific Intelligence. While the effects of ingesting LOT-6, a drug they believe simply to be LSD, fails on other volunteers, it grants Andy and Vicky psychic and telekinetic powers.
|"Hey, I love you man! No, you don't know, I really do! Got the bad munchies too..."|
What the fuck, Shop? You outta your damn minds? Heather effin' Locklear?!!
|Heather be thy name. Shwiiiiiing!|
|"FUCK HYDRA!!! I was General Patton."|
As the inevitable shit hits the fan, we are treated to some gloriously old-school pyro-stunts. When I say some, I mean that it's a surprise Drew Barrymore is still with us today. For what it is, and for when it was made, Firestarter lives up to its name, ending with more than a bang. I mean, for Christ's sake, it looks like director Mark L. Lester was practicing for Schwarzenegger's Commando and just brought a bunch of RPG's and rocket launchers to the set on the last day.
Not only does this movie succeed by good drama, storytelling, effects and Barrymore's impossible cuteness, like I said, it does what Marvel should be doing right now. It tells a tale of the darker side of great power and responsibility, something that isn't just limited to web-slinging. Even Joss Whedon is, so far, guilty of hiding women in refrigerators. This movie is about that girl you'd never dare suggest she take a cold spell.
|"Fuck marshmallows, Ima toast your face!"|
Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment below. More to come later this week from Quantum Geek.