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

Advertisement
Comments

News

Fright-Rags Announces New HOUSE OF 100 CORPSES Collection!

Published

on

“You like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature?!”

Next Wednesday, May 30 at 10 am EST Fright-Rags will be unleashing their officially licensed collection based on Rob Zombie’s splatter classic House of 1000 Corpses.

The collection includes a brand-new Captain Spaulding mini-mask with all the vintage style of the classic Ben Cooper / Collegeville masks, but at a collectible size.

On top of that, the collection includes Wax Pack trading cards available in single packs, factory boxes or larger sealed boxes, featuring official movie photo cards, stickers, special foil cards, parallel chase cards, and more.

This is all in addition to new t-shirts, socks, an enamel pins with art from Justin Osbourn, Kyle Crawford, Abrar Ajmal, Butch X, Sara Deck, John Tatarelli Jr., and Joe Guy Allard.

Check out pics of the merch below and then make sure to let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The collection is coming May 30 at 10am EST on Fright-Rags.com

Comments

Continue Reading

News

Trailer: Argento and Bava Inspired Neo-Giallo THE ANTITHESIS

Published

on

I don’t know about you, but I love the films of Dario Argento and Mario Bava. And thus, I’m excited about Francesco Mirabelli’s upcoming Italian horror film The Antithesis. Not only is the film inspired by Argento and Bava, but its score is composed by Claudio Simonetti, who some of you may know better as the keyboardist for Goblin.

If you’re as interested as I am in this new film, then you’ll want to check out the trailer below and the poster to the right. After looking through all of that, make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The film is directed by Francesco Mirabelli from a screenplay written by Mirabelli, Francesco Basso, and Stefano Ricciardi. It stars Crisula Stafida, Marina Loi, and Nives Gaudioso. The score is composed by Claudio Simonetti, keyboardist for Goblin. BayView Entertainment releases the film on DVD July 17th.

Synopsis:

An isolated house in the countryside is beset by strange phenomena caused by bizarre temperature surges. Taking the advice of an architect, a young female geologist agrees to spend the night in the mysterious house in an attempt to identify the strange happenings. Once there, she finds herself trapped in a parallel reality… inside a vortex of horror and delirium.

Comments

Continue Reading

News

Ridley Scott Teases THE TERROR Season 2

Published

on

This past week we saw AMC and executive producer Ridley Scott’s horror series The Terror wrap up its first season. And, no spoilers, but the series seems to have come to an end. But no worries, the show was always meant to be an anthology, so what do the powers that be have in mind for season 2?

Well, Scott recently spoke with IndieWire and said the Franklin expedition won’t be followed up on and that they’re looking at several different possibilities for a second season.

You wouldn’t follow this through, I don’t think,” Scott said. “This is complete, but they’re looking for another season of something else. It doesn’t have to even be period, right? It could be modern. So right now, we’re circling the wagons on several things.”

What would you like to see The Terror season 2 cover? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The ten-episode series stars Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, Ciarán Hinds, Paul Ready, Adam Nagaitis, Nive Nielsen, Ian Hart, and Trystan Gravelle. It’s produced by Scott Free, Emjag Productions, and Entertainment 360 in association with AMC Studios. In addition to Scott, the series is executive produced by David Kajganich, Soo Hugh, David W. Zucker, Alexandra Milchan, Scott Lambert, and Guymon Casady.

AMC hasn’t renewed the series for a second season yet.

Synopsis:

British Royal Navy Capt. Sir John Franklin is nearing the end of an uneven career. Described as “a man everyone likes, but no one respects,” Franklin has seen men die under his leadership on previous expeditions, and now he would like to retire with honors by discovering the Northwest Passage. Guiding the HMS Erebus into uncharted territory, Franklin’s most perilous journey yet pushes his crew to the brink of extinction. Frozen, isolated and stuck at the end of the earth, the men have been put in horrible danger by their commander’s Victorian hubris. A struggle to survive ignites infighting, and Franklin must try to undo the damage he has caused.

Comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Recent Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC