Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - FIRESTARTER on Blu-ray ""

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Scream Factory - FIRESTARTER on Blu-ray

FIRESTARTER (1984; Mark L. Lester)
I must have deluded myself for many years now, thinking I had actually seen this movie when in fact I had not. Or if I did, it was so long ago that my steel trap of a mind has totally lost the details of that first viewing. It's an interesting film for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is an R-rated (and quite violent) decidedly non-family film starring a young Drew Barrymore, who was still fresh in the public consciousness as "Gertie" from Spielberg's cultural landmark E.T. It must have been a shocking thing for folks to expect so see her be cute and adorable again in this movie only to watch horrified as she burns people alone with her psychic powers. And in a time of practical effects in movies, that means that a lot of people were set ablaze in this flick. That said, as much as the film has the melancholic feel of a lot of Stephen King's work (as it was adapted from his bestseller), it is more or less a super hero origin story. We don't think about it a lot, but a lot of origin stories like this involve trauma - not only physical but emotional and that often consists of people close to the hero getting killed. Drew Barrymore's character, "Charlie" is on the run from a sinister government agency known only as "The Shop". This organization has lots of badness to it, but one thing they try to do is experiment on folks to see what happens. One such experiment gives mental powers to Charlie's mother (Heather Locklear - who is in this film far too briefly) and father (David Keith). Thus, their offspring has special abilities as well and that is why Charlie and her dad are on the run. The Shop wants to get them back and run tests on them and other evil stuff that entities like this are want to do. It's not an easy task to catch them though and it requires one of the strangest and most "Huh???" George C. Scott characters that I can think of. His name is "Rainbird" and he would seem to be part Native American based on they name and an awful long gray ponytail that he wears. This character is absolutely insane and a man who craves the hunt and killing - even with his bare hands. He's a true creep and Scott plays him in an interesting if not altogether cohesive way. Also, Martin Sheen plays another of the not-so-good folks from The Shop along with Moses Gunn ("Bumpy" from SHAFT) as a scientist. Oh and Art Carney and Louise Fletcher are in this as well. It's a nice cast for sure, but I have a slight issue with David Keith (and his mullet). Keith always reminds me of Patrick Swayze - slightly in the way he looks, but absolutely with his voice (especially when he yells). This serves to distract me a lot when I'm seeing him in some movies. What's less distracting is his characters ability to control people's minds. That's pretty fun. And Drew's character burning stuff down and blowing stuff up makes for several pretty entertaining sequences and a great climax. Cult Director Mark L. Lester (CLASS OF 1984, COMMANDO, ROLLER BOOGIE, ARMED AND DANGEROUS) brings his special exploitation-style touch to the proceedings (gore, explosions, crazy fire effects) with a bigger budget so it feels like a high end Corman movie with a better story than normal.

Bonus Features
-NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive Film Element
-NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mark L. Lester
-NEW Playing With Fire: The Making Of FIRESTARTER – Featuring Interviews With Director Mark L. Lester, Actors Freddie Jones, Drew Snyder, Stuntman/Actor Dick Warlock And Johannes Schmoelling Of Tangerine Dream
-NEW Tangerine Dream: Movie Music Memories – An Interview With Johannes Schmoelling
-NEW Live Performance Of "Charlie's Theme" By Johannes Schmoelling Of Tangerine Dream
-Theatrical Trailers
-Radio Spot

Buy FIRESTARTER on Blu-ray here:
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