Mark L. Lester Talks Firestarter, Class of 1984 and Lots More! - Dread Central
Connect with us

Mark L. Lester Talks Firestarter, Class of 1984 and Lots More!

Published

on

Mark L. Lester is a friend to horror and wild cinema in general. Though his name may not be instantly recognizable to some, a quick look at his credentials will rectify that!

He produced and contributed to the script for Tobe Hooper’s wonderfully weird The Funhouse. As a director, his savage and prophetic Class of 1984 still disturbs to this day, for an unnerving amount of reasons. His adaptation of Firestarter captured a freakish tornado of both unintentional and deliberate violence. And the battering ram impact of Commando, his most successful feature, remains respected worldwide.

Recognize him now? And do you want a chance to win an autographed DVD of Class of 1984 or Commando (see details below)?

Mark L. Lester Talks Firestarter, Class of 1984 and Lots More!

Indeed, Firestarter and Commando are lined up for remakin’. Surprise, surprise. While the two 80’s staples are being put back through the machine, Lester is staying busy ushering new films onto screens via his distribution company American World Pictures.

We caught up with Mr. Lester to chat about his past, present and future, which led to some fun trips down memory lane.

On Firestarter:

“Originally John Carpenter was gonna direct that,” Lester reveals. “There was a script that was written, I forget who wrote it. Then the budget was way out of line, like $15 million. And the script had no relationship to the book whatsoever. They didn’t want to shoot it for that amount of money so Dino de Laurentiis came to me and said, ‘I read the book. Can you make a treatment out of this?’ So I brought in Stanley Mann, who I knew, and when we wrote the treatment, we styled [it after] the book exactly scene for scene. We gave it Dino De Laurentiis, and he said, ‘Well this just follows the book exactly…’ Well, yeah, of course! You paid a million dollars for the book, I said, ‘Why aren’t you following the book? That’s why this thing can’t get made yet. We’ll just shoot the book.’ And he says, ‘Okaaaaay…’ So within three weeks the script was written, and we had a green light from Universal to make the film just off the script, which was identical to the book.”

Lester confirms that Firestarter has been his most difficult film to date. “That was all practical [effects]. The fireballs you see … that’s not CGI. Back then, we actually created fireballs that could fly through the air – they were on a wire and could crash into buildings. We had people on fire that were on trampolines that had to flip through the air. It was very dangerous. All the effects were done right on the set – it was a pretty intense thing to do then…” Lester also notes that the film’s epic “farm attack” scene took an entire week to film.

On Class of 1984:

Lester considers his favorite film he’s made to be a tie between 1982’s Class of 1984 and 1985’s Commando. Understandable, as Commando was his most successful feature and Class of 1984 was an original concept of Lester’s, based on visiting his old high school. “[It] had been taken over by a gang,” Lester shares of his return to his alma mater. “When I went to it, it was a peaceful, wonderful place. All of the sudden, it was a dangerous place. I thought, ‘Wow, this would make a really good film.’ I was a big fan of Blackboard Jungle and [John] Ford movies so that kind of inspired me to do a gang-run-amok-in-a-high-school [film].”

Lester acknowledges 84’s unfortunate historical significance. “There were beginnings of different violent incidences in schools so I researched all that. And actually, in the movie, when we have the checking for weapons at the school…that was like ‘Oh my God, that’ll never happen in schools.’ And now its commonplace in various schools.”

After what’s happened in recent years, Lester holds a different opinion of his film. “Now it’s tame – after Columbine, it’s tame. In the beginning of the movie, if you look at it, it opens with a card that says, ‘Last year, there were 280,000 incidents of violence by students against their teachers and classmates in our high schools Unfortunately, this film is partially based on true events.’ So there was a warning at the beginning of the film that was very prophetic because the warning didn’t even comprehend what actually would happen. It’s happened. And it looks pretty tame today because at the end of the movie the gang leader [is only] fighting with a knife … ”

On Commando:

“I met [producer] Joel Silver at a party at the Playboy Mansion; we were standing around in our pajamas. He said, ‘Oh, you gotta direct this picture – we have Schwarzenegger.’ That’s all I needed to hear because he had done Terminator – I thought he was amazing. I immediately signed on. There was a just a rudimentary script, then it was rewritten – and it’s become a classic. I couldn’t imagine at the time how big the movie would be.” As for the remake mentioned above, unfortunately Lester will not be involved. “In May I was flying back on a plane from Europe, and I met the head of Twentieth Century Fox. I’d been trying to get the remake rights for some time. I never thought of a remake – I was thinking of a sequel. I said, ‘I wanna buy the sequel rights – I’ll pay $2 million.’ He said, ‘Oh, why that film?’ I said because there’s websites dedicated to it, there’s a huge fanbase, people know every line in the movie…’ Three days later they announced a remake of the film.”

On his current projects:

As a devoted producer of such genre flicks as Pterodactyl, Wraiths of Roanoke and Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon, Lester continues to work in creature features. His recent producer credits include a new Beauty and the Beast, Sinbad and the Minotaur, and Jabberwocky ( “based on the Lewis Carroll poem” ). In the meantime, his American World Pictures will be distributing horror flicks such as Detention (available on DVD April 12th), The Frankenstein Syndrome, and Kill Katie Malone ( “about kids who buy a ghost on the Internet”).

Mark L. Lester Talks Firestarter, Class of 1984 and Lots More!

If that’s not enough to keep him busy, Lester is also taking a seat once again in the director’s chair for the sea monster movie Leviathan. He also recently directed Groupie, an intense-looking film about a cursed band starring Taryn Manning and the great Eric Roberts (available on DVD around March or April). “I’m gonna get back heavy into directing in the next couple years,” Lester confirms. Sounds good to us!

To enter to win a signed DVD, just send an e-mail here with YOUR NAME and FULL MAILING ADDRESS. Good luck, folks! Look for more from Lester soon!

Chris Haberman

VISIT THE EVILSHOP @ AMAZON!
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Meet your future in the comments section below.

Image Type 1:

Comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

News

Jamie Lee Curtis Says Blumhouse Halloween Will Make Us “Very Happy and VERY Scared”

Published

on

Bring. It. On.

It was only last week that we let you guys know that Jamie Lee Curtis had wrapped filming on Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

And today we have another Instagram post from the legendary scream queen where she not only shows us a creepy-ass painting of Michael Myers, but she lets us know that Blumhouse’s Halloween is going to make us all “very happy, and VERY scared.”

Hoo-ray!

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to just go ahead and trust Jamie Lee Curtis on this one. She’s been around the Halloween block more than a few times and I trust her judgment… other than Halloween: Resurrection.

You can check out her post below and then let us know how excited you are for Laurie Strode’s return!

Halloween is directed by David Gordon Green based on a script he wrote with Danny McBride. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode as does Nick Castle as Michael “The Shape” Myers. They are joined by Will Patton, Andi Matichak, and Judy Greer. Halloween creator John Carpenter is on board as executive producer of the film as well as the composer.

The anticipated release date is October 19, 2018.

Synopsis:

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Comments

Continue Reading

News

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Pre-Production for Marcel Walz’s New Film

Published

on

The Blood Feast remake directed by Marcel Walz has been generating quite a buzz (read our review here) so we’ve been wondering what’s next for him, and over the weekend Walz provided us with an answer… sort of.

He sent over the following photos for us to share with our readers, some of which also appeared on his social media accounts.  Marcel is in pre-production on a new film that will start shooting in Los Angeles next month.

Right now the title and primary cast members are being kept under wraps, but you can expect an official announcement soon.

In the meantime check out the images, and let the guessing games begin!

Comments

Continue Reading

News

Death House Theatrical Release Delayed One Week Due to Black Panther Success

Published

on

Death House

If you were excited to see Death House this week, you’re going to have to pump your brakes as the film’s theatrical release has been postponed one week due to the success of Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther.

Eric Pakrinson, C.E.O. of Hannover House, who is distributing Death House in theaters, states, “Obviously, we are very disappointed to find such pressure from the exhibitors to hold-over multiple screens for ‘Black Panther’ but we are happy for the success that this film is providing to theatre owners, and we know that the slight delay we are implementing for ‘Death House’ will ultimately pay big dividends for the film.”

The plan is to now launch Death House on Friday, March 2nd, with a special media event and public opening at the Regency Plant 16 in Van Nuys, California, where 20 cast members, along with additional crew, will be present. From there, the film will spread to other markets on March 9th and March 16th. If performances are strong, additional markets will be added following those dates.

This shift in release also pushes back the home video and digital release dates to July, although no official date has been locked.

Director Harrison Smith recorded a video asking the horror community to turn out in droves when the film hits their market. You can see it below.

Comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!
Advertisement

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC