‘Firestarter’ and the evolution of the psychic teen girl

‘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 hearth along with her thoughts. Barrymore was contemporary from stealing the present in 1982’s “E.T.”, however this 1984 thriller was a vital 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 totally 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 lady 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 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 function and Zac Efron as her dad, we current a watch record for the evolution of the psychic-girl universe. 

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

King’s first revealed novel turned a Brian De Palma horror basic, 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 hearth) 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 way in which for many years of harmful psychic women down the road in popular culture.

Dan Gauthier and Robyn Energetic in 1989’s “Teen Witch.”©1989 ORION PICTURES CORPORATIO

On this late-eighties film now seen by many as a camp basic, Robyn Energetic performed Louise Miller, a gawky teen who finds that she’s really the reincarnation of a strong witch and can come into her talents when she turns 16. A precursor to the teenage-witch bonanza of the ’90s, it introduced a lightweight contact to the subject material. Bonus: it’s acquired an inexplicable rap scene.

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

The mid-Nineteen Nineties had been excessive occasions for supernatural teen women. Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk and Rachel True are a bunch of highschool associates who discover empowerment in creating 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 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.”©TriStar Photos/Courtesy Everett Assortment

Cute baby actor Mara Wilson performed the title function on this adaptation of a comically darkish Roald Dahl e book, 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 teenagers — and a predecessor of many different girl-centric child lit variations in movie — this Dahl adaptation would spawn successful Broadway musical.

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

Joss Whedon‘s collection featured a number of highschool children 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 feminine hackers pushing again towards a sexist group.

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 ladies to embrace their interior superpowers.

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

The Duffer brothers’ Netflix collection channeled so many features 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 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 giggle observe. 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 ladies’ and girls’s complexity.

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

Set in a vaguely sketched period that may very well 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 gown a la “Carrie”) and to Eleven of “Stranger Issues,” making it the right bridge between the previous and the brand new guard.

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