Andy McGee (David Keith) met his future wife Vicky Tomlinson (Heather Locklear) in college, while they were earning money by participating in an experiment in which they were given a dose of a low-grade hallucinogen called LOT-6. The experiment grants them telepathic abilities; Vicky has the ability to read minds, and Andy can take over minds and make others do and believe what he wants, but the effort gives him nosebleeds (the novel revealing them to be "pinprick" hemorrhages). Andy and Vicky went on to get married, and they now have a nine-year-old daughter named Charlene "Charlie" McGee (Barrymore), who has pyrokinetic abilities (she can create heat and start fires with her mind). Charlie can also see the near future.
That´s why they spend a lot of time with her with the intention of teaching her to control her powers, especially since they already knew since childbirth, how strong she was in starting fires.
Andy comes home from work one day to find that Vicky has been tortured and murdered. The family had already suspected that the government agency, that sponsored the experiment, the Department of Scientific Intelligence (aka "The Shop"), was checking on them. The government wants to capture Charlie and harness her powerful firestarting ability as a weapon despite of the objections of Joseph Wanless, who prefers Charlie dead, because she is in his eyes too powerful. Andy rescues Charlie from abduction by agents of The Shop blinding them on the way to avid them to follow them and for the next year they are on the run.
To protect themselves, Andy writes letters to major newspapers, but mailing them reveals their location. Once The Shop kills Joseph Wanless because of his interference they kidnap Charlie and Andy and encourage Charlie to submit to tests.Charlie's demonstrated powers increase exponentially, and she continually demands to see her father. Andy stops swallowing his drugs and slowly recovers his power, which he uses to influence Captain Hollister (Martin Sheen) into reuniting him with Charlie. When Rainbird is killed by her in self defence after he killed her father and Captain Hollister, a dying Andy tells her to destroy the facility and run.
- Charlie McGee - Drew Barrymore
- Andy McGee - David Keith
- Captain Hollister - Martin Sheen
- John Rainbird - George C. Scott
- Vicky Tomlinson - Heather Locklear
- Joseph Wanless - Freddie Jones
- Moses Gunn - Dr. Pynchot
- Art Carney - Irv Manders
- Louise Fletcher - Norma Manders
- Antonio Fargas - Taxi driver
- It was one of two Stephen filmed adaptations made in 1984. The other was Children of the Corn (1984).