87 user 27 critic
A young boy who lives in a dysfunctional home went to the carnival and met a singer. Shortly after, a murder took place. The town's sheriff is seeking answers. The singer is trying to ... See full summary »


Steve Balderson


Steve Balderson, Clark Balderson (translation)

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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Black ... Sandra / Eleanor
Mike Patton ... Frank / David
Susan Traylor ... Ed
Kathleen Wilhoite ... Jessica
Jak Kendall Jak Kendall ... Jimmy
Brooke Balderson Brooke Balderson ... Pearl
Paul Sizemore ... Officer Harry
Jane Wiedlin ... Ursula
George McArthur George McArthur ... The Bald Man (as George the Giant)
Cathy Berry Cathy Berry ... Maxine, The Lobster Girl
Pleasant Gehman Pleasant Gehman ... Estelle
Selene Luna Selene Luna ... Harriet
Susie Legault Susie Legault ... Buffalola (as Susie Cravens Legault)
Jeff Montague Jeff Montague ... The Announcer
Sean R. Shuford ... The Other Man (as Sean Shuford)


A young boy who lives in a dysfunctional home went to the carnival and met a singer. Shortly after, a murder took place. The town's sheriff is seeking answers. The singer is trying to escape her environment so is the boy. But both has to face their own horror.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


People say nothing ever happens in Kansas


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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

11 October 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Steve Balderson's Firecracker See more »

Filming Locations:

Black Hills, South Dakota, USA See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dikenga Films,Dymax See more »
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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Dennis Hopper was originally cast as Frank but dropped out before the film was made. Steve Balderson said this was because Hopper's involvement in the film did not result in financing, so he reverted to his "original vision" of having the same actor play the parts of both Frank and David, and Hopper was "forty years too old" to play David. See more »


Ave Maria
Written by Franz Schubert (uncredited)
Performed by Clark Balderson
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best detective noirs I've seen
7 April 2005 | by bobdrlngSee all my reviews

As a fan of film noir and detective movies, I am too often put off by modern attempts into the genre that try to replace atmosphere and intelligence by just having gratuitous nudity and swearing; the genre managed atmosphere without these in the forties and fifties but yet modern films seem to rely on them. With Firecracker however, everything works perfectly and, as such, the noir portions look exactly like they were made in the forties and fifties. Everything down to lighting, dialogue, and even the delivery of the lines. Even if the material and tone is darker and harsher than would have been allowed back then, it's the closest film to capture accurate film noir in today's cinema. One of the best detective noirs I have seen in ages. The story development is always going to be the most important thing and Firecracker gets it spot-on throughout, doing the proper thing of starting with a simple story and continually building it more and more complex as it goes. Unlike some other "classics", Firecracker manages to do this without ever losing the audience and I found the plot to be both rewardingly complex but yet still very easy to follow.

Needless to say, things are very dark and the script is convincingly dark, leading to an ending that is as depressing as I've seen – not so much in what actually happens but also in the wider implications for the characters that the credits prevent us from seeing. Director Steve Balderson does a great job of putting this story in a setting that produces a real strong sense of period but also manages to always be showing us the darkness coming through subtly. Of course it helps that he also has a great cast to work with. Karen Black is iconic in this role and, if I had to pick one film to act as an introduction to Black then it would be this film. She brings out her complex characters better than most actresses in the business. She's a living legend! Susan Traylor has less screen time but is just as impressive. Jak Kendall is unbelievably great for his first film. The supporting cast are all fine but really the film belongs to these three, with Karen Black being the stand out role.

Overall this is a very complex, mysterious film; it is dark and seedy without relying on swearing or nudity to set the atmosphere. The direction is great, with a real atmosphere and sense of time and place that is matched by a great collection of performances delivering a great script. A work of art.

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