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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Silver Bullet (1985)




I haven’t covered many Werewolf movies for the blog so I figured I should lead with one of the better ones. This is based off of Stephen King book and stars a couple of icons of the ‘80s as well as someone that the non-horror ladies might recognize. Time to dive into Silver Bullet.

Tarker’s Mills was a nice place to live until the bodies started showing up! Someone is killing the locals, including a kid, and the sheriff seems powerless to stop it. When a posse heads off into the woods and find the killer they get butchered! Into all this a young boy named Marty and his sister Jane stumble over the identity of the killer and more importantly that it is a werewolf! Marty is off one-night shooting fireworks when he is attacked by the werewolf, who he shoots in the eye with a rocket before making his escape. That is why he sends his sister around town looking for someone missing an eye! Sure, enough they find who the werewolf is, but are also discovered in the process.

The kids turn to their uncle Red, since no one else believes them. Red is the guy who gave Marty the fireworks and built his sweet wheelchair called the Silver Bullet. Oh yeah Marty can’t walk… While Red doesn’t believe them he still is their favorite uncle so he melts down some stuff to make a silver bullet and waits with them at the next full moon for the killer to show up. Sure enough, they are attacked and after some drama manage to do away with the werewolf. Not really a spoiler, is it? You had to know they weren’t going to let the werewolf win and eat the kids… Sheesh modern audiences have watched way too many depressingly downer horror flicks!

I haven’t watched this one for years before popping it in for the review. I remember loving it and still really like it. The cast is excellent with both a Corey and Busey, how can you go wrong? This is before Gary Busey got too crazy but was still crazy enough to play the drunken uncle who really tries to buy love with borderline dangerous things. Like giving fireworks to a kid, or building him a wheelchair that is more of a motorcycle! This is the kind of uncle that all of us would want growing up! Silver Bullet also reminded me how great of an actor that Corey Haim was before Hollywood chewed him up. Here he is a sweet kid with the charisma and screen presence to carry the movie.

Such a great cast
If this weren’t enough for you we also get Evertt McGill who is basically a go to guy for any weird character in a horror movie. Here he plays the town’s reverend and is very creepy in the role. As I mentioned above even the ladies who aren’t into horror will enjoy seeing Megan Follows, old Anne of Green Gables herself, playing Jane. As much as I like teasing my wife I have to admit she is very good in this and pretty much anything else she appears in. This movie has a great cast.

The writing and story are wonderful as well. Both the book and the screenplay were written by Stephen King. The action is paced so that there is always something interesting going on. Either we see an attack, the kids trying to figure out who the killer is, or finally doing battle with the evil! Mixed in are some scenes that reinforce how much Marty, Jane, and Red love each other. This gives Silver Bullet an unexpected sweetness that you normally don’t see in a horror movie. I chalk this up to King being a great author and in this case screenwriter.

Not a fan of the werewolf effects
The one thing that I remember being much better than it is are the werewolf effects. The reverse transformation at the end is decent, but the full-on wolf mode is laughable. I get that the werewolf can be one of the most difficult creatures to bring to the screen, but it has been done much better before and after Silver Bullet was made. Since we see a lot of the creature on screen this gets to be distracting after a while. You know it is bad when the human version of the werewolf is way more intimidating than the wolf version is. Not enough for me to not still like the movie but it does take some of the fun away.

Silver Bullet is a good movie with a great cast and excellent writing. I recommend it with the one warning about the werewolf effects work. I can be found on several budget DVDs without special features on the cheap for less than five bucks. Easily worth every penny.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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