‘Firestarter’ and the evolution of the psychic teen girl

The unique “Firestarter,” based mostly on the 1980 novel by Stephen King, starred Drew Barrymore as Charlie, an 8-year-old lady who can set issues on fireplace along with her thoughts. Barrymore was recent from stealing the present in 1982’s “E.T.”, however this 1984 thriller was a essential flop, with Roger Ebert observing that for a movie about deadly telekinesis, “probably the most astonishing factor within the film … is how boring it’s.”

Since then, popular culture has absolutely embraced the trope of the younger lady with psychic powers, with many characters inspiring devoted cult followings. The metaphor of the unknowable thriller, energy and instability of a woman on the cusp of womanhood — sixteenth birthdays and proms have each figured prominently — has been by way of many iterations. And the style has come a great distance from the unique “Carrie” bathe scene, during which Sissy Spacek’s terrified powderkeg of a teen is pelted with tampons by imply women chanting “Plug it up!” 

Drew Barrymore in 1984’s “Firestarter.”
©Common/Courtesy Everett Assortment
Ryan Kiera Armstrong in the remake of "Firestarter."
Ryan Kiera Armstrong within the new “Firestarter,” out Might 13.
©Common/Courtesy Everett Assortment

On the event of a “Firestarter” reboot, starring Ryan Kiera Armstrong (“American Horror Story”) within the Barrymore position and Zac Efron as her dad, we current a watch listing for the evolution of the psychic-girl universe. 

Sissy Spacek in 1976's "Carrie."
Sissy Spacek in 1976’s “Carrie.”
Everett Assortment

King’s first revealed novel grew to become a Brian De Palma horror traditional, with a younger Spacek starring as Carrie White, the abused teen who develops the flexibility to maneuver issues along with her thoughts (to not point out set them on fireplace) when she’s pushed to the brink by her domineering mom (Piper Laurie) and a horrifying promenade prank involving a bucket of pig blood. “Carrie” would pave the best way for many years of harmful psychic women down the road in popular culture.

Dan Gauthier and Robyn Lively in 1989's "Teen Witch."
Dan Gauthier and Robyn Vigorous in 1989’s “Teen Witch.”

On this late-eighties film now seen by many as a camp traditional, Robyn Vigorous performed Louise Miller, a gawky teen who finds that she’s truly the reincarnation of a robust witch and can come into her skills when she turns 16. A precursor to the teenage-witch bonanza of the ’90s, it introduced a light-weight contact to the subject material. Bonus: it’s obtained an inexplicable rap scene.

A scene from 1996's "The Craft."
Rachel True (heart) performs Rochelle in a scene from 1996’s “The Craft.”
©Columbia Footage/Courtesy Eve

The mid-Nineteen Nineties had been excessive instances for supernatural teen women. Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk and Rachel True are a gaggle of highschool associates who discover empowerment in growing their magical powers — earlier than it corrupts a few of them. A millennial fave, it’s feminist and tacky in equal measure.

Melissa Joan Hart, Salem the cat, 'Sabrina's Pen Pal', (Season 3, ep. 320, aired March 26, 1999), 1996-2003.
Melissa Joan Hart with Salem the cat in a March 1999 episode of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
©Viacom/Courtesy Everett Assortment

Melissa Joan Hart starred on this lighthearted, laugh-tracked collection adaptation of an Archie comedian, during which her character Sabrina learns on — yep, her sixteenth birthday — that she will do magic. Seven seasons ensued, with Hart proving the endurance, and rankings clout, of the supernatural teen lady.

Mara Wilson in 1996's "Matilda."
Mara Wilson in 1996’s “Matilda.”
©TriStar Footage/Courtesy Everett Assortment

Cute youngster actor Mara Wilson performed the title position on this adaptation of a comically darkish Roald Dahl ebook, during which precocious Matilda Wormwood finds she has telekinetic powers that emerge when she’s abused by the terrible grownups round her. Extra ominous than many films ostensibly for youths — and a predecessor of many different girl-centric child lit diversifications in movie — this Dahl adaptation would spawn a success Broadway musical.

Alyson Hannigan and Sarah Michelle Gellar in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Alyson Hannigan and Sarah Michelle Gellar in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Assortment

Joss Whedon‘s collection featured a bunch of highschool youngsters coping with supernatural points, however Alyson Hannigan’s geeky Willow Rosenberg was the character who most embodied the psychic-teen trope, along with her powers rising steadily all through the collection —concurrently with discovering she was homosexual, after which tragically dropping her girlfriend. The plotlines of “Buffy” have impressed numerous tutorial research, and Willow’s arc has been seen as an outline of queerness, of drug use, and of the experiences of female hackers pushing again towards a sexist group.

Emma Watson in 2010's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."
Emma Watson in 2010’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Half 1.”
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Assortment

Emma Watson’s Hermione Granger, hero to many a tousle-haired feminine bookworm, was a Muggle-born lady with magical powers who ended up saving Harry’s life on many an event. Of all of the psychic women within the popular culture panorama, Hermione most likely looms largest, inspiring generations of women to embrace their inside superpowers.

Millie Bobby Brown in "Stranger Things."
Millie Bobby Brown in “Stranger Issues.”
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Assortment

The Duffer brothers’ Netflix collection channeled so many elements of pulpy Nineteen Eighties popular culture, however its breakout was absolutely Millie Bobby Brown because the telekinetic Eleven. Initially giving sturdy Drew Barrymore vibes, Brown’s Eleven has very a lot grown into her personal distinctive character, and launched many youthful viewers to the trope of the psychic lady.

Kiernan Shipka in the "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina."
Kiernan Shipka within the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Colle

Kiernan Shipka anchored this revisit of the Sabrina story, which was modernized with a darker, twistier, extra completely Gothic worldview — and, crucially, no chortle monitor. This “Sabrina” modernized the character as soon as written for a sitcom, giving her an edge that was in line with the cultural embrace of women’ and girls’s complexity.

Sophia Lillis in "I Am Not Okay with This."
Sophia Lillis in “I Am Not Okay with This.”
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Assortment

Set in a vaguely sketched period that might be now or the ’80s, this Netflix collection starred Sophia Lillis as Sydney Novak, alarmed to seek out she has anger-induced telekinetic powers. The present ideas its hat to early influences (see her preliminary look in a blood-soaked costume a la “Carrie”) and to Eleven of “Stranger Issues,” making it the proper bridge between the outdated and the brand new guard.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button