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NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From moviecynics.com

As you all know, Stephen King has had a lot of his works adapted for the big screen. But the chances of these adaptations being any good is a rarity. Sure there have been a few adaptations that have been great and garnered critical acclaim (i.e. The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, Misery and The Shining)… and those that are ended up awesomely cheesy (i.e. The Running Man and Maximum Overdrive); but, for the most part, movies based on his works are either crappy or mediocre at best. One of his mediocre ones just so happens to be one that he adapted for the screen himself; Silver Bullet.

The movie, which is based on King’s Cycle of the Werewolf novella, is about a small town in Maine that is getting terrorized by a werewolf. To be more specific, Silver Bullet is about a little boy named Marty (Corey Haim). Marty has a tough life being crippled and all… but don’t feel sorry for the kid, he still gets the ladies and rocks out a pimped out, motorized wheelchair that his Uncle Red (Gary Busey) made him. Anyway, one night, Marty takes a bag of fireworks that Red gave him to a bridge to have his own little, 4th of July fireworks show, but then the unthinkable happens; a fucking werewolf attacks him. To save bide him some time, Marty does the first thing he can think of; he shoots the werewolf in the eye with a rocket. The next morning, Marty tells his sister, Jane (Megan Follows), about the incident and tells her to look for a person missing an eye. After finding said person, the two try to convince Uncle Red to make a silver bullet and help them kill the werewolf.

King’s script is kind of a mixed bag; which is surprising since King is a great novelist. The story is decent at best; and has a fair amount of comedic moments tossed into it to break the tension of the story. Some of the moments are funny, but then there are those that are awkward and don’t seem to work for the overall story. Most of the scares in the movie aren’t even scary. Back in the day, the only scare that actually scared me was the “final scare” moment… but, sadly, since I’ve seen this movie numerous times over the years, not even that is scary anymore.

The special effects are also a problem as they are inconsistent in quality. The werewolf suit itself is a little lackluster. Everett McGill (Heartbreak Ridge, Under Siege 2) is clearly in a hairy body suit, but that isn’t the problem. The problem with the suit is with the head… the head is massive and looks like it weighs, at least, 15 pounds. With this massive head sitting on top of a smaller frame, you can imagine how funny the werewolf looks. The other hiccup with the special effects comes when McGill transforms into the werewolf. It looks bad; which is hard to believe because there is a dream sequence earlier in the movie where a bunch of people transfer and it looks great… not An American Werewolf in London great, but still great in its own right. And the sequence at the end of the movie, where McGill turns back into his character, looks better than when he transforms. There is also a part in the movie where a guy gets half his faced ripped off that looks atrocious.

Besides those flaws, Silver Bullet is still an enjoyable movie. The acting and the directing are actually good. None of the kids in it are annoying and Busey is great in the movie, even though he isn’t in it a lot… if only this was post-accident Busey and they let him spew forth his lovely words of wisdom like he does today, this movie would be godly.

Final Synopsis: This is a mediocre Stephen King adaptation. If you really want to see a great werewolf movie, you should check out John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London.

Points Lost: -1 for Stephen King’s mediocre script written, -1 for having awkward comedic moments, -1 for the scares not being scary, -1 for inconsistent special effects

Lesson Learned: A rocket to the eye doesn’t have the same impact as a kick to the nards does.

Burning Question: How the hell does Marty’s motorized wheelchair outrun a car?

Silver Bullet
6/10


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From werewolves.com

In memory of Corey Haim Werewolves.Com presents Stephen King’s Silver Bullet.

When a drunken railway worker is found dead on the tracks after the night of a full moon no one in the small town of Tarker’s Mills has any idea that their long nightmare has begun.

Before Corey Haim became a Lost Boy he starred in Stephen King’s Silver Bullet as Marty Coslaw, a young paraplegic boy who finds himself caught in the middle of a series of gruesome murders. First his girlfriend’s father is brutally slain causing the rest of her family to move away and then his best friend is also found murdered. There are other killings as well, in fact at least one person is killed every month and always during a full moon.

The police are sure there’s a maniac on the loose but Marty thinks that something far more sinister is to blame. After the funeral of his best friend Brady (played by Joe Wright) he confides to his alcoholic uncle Red (played by Gary Busey) that he believes that a werewolf has been killing the people of Tarker’s Mills. This revelation is of course met with disbelief since everyone knows there are no such things as werewolves.

Nevertheless Marty is determined to prove to his uncle that the werewolf is real. In fact after Marty is attacked by the werewolf, injuring it with a firework to the eye allowing him to escape, convincing uncle Red becomes a matter of life and death. With the help of his sister Jane (played by Megan Follows) Marty must discover the werewolf’s identity before it’s too late by finding the person in town who is now missing an eye.

After spending an entire day searching the town for a suspect Jane becomes discouraged and begins to feel the fool. That is until she accidentally stumbles across the man with the missing eye, the local preacher Reverend Lowe (played by Everett McGill). Now that they know who the werewolf is it’s time to get uncle Red on board. Red refuses to budge on the matter until Marty confesses that he has been sending Reverend Lowe anonymous letters demanding that he kill himself. Red is furious until Reverend Lowe, in retaliation to the letters tries to kill Marty by running him off a bridge.

Red isn’t convinced that Reverend Lowe is a werewolf but it’s obvious that something about the Reverend just isn’t right. Now with uncle Red in tow Marty and Jane devise a plan to destroy the werewolf and even though there are hundreds of different legends they all claim one thing… It takes silver to kill a werewolf.

Silver Bullet is based on the Stephen King novella Cycle of the Werewolf and even though the special effects may seem primitive today they are still pretty impressive. Particularly impressive is the Reverend’s reversion from werewolf back to human. A great movie all round with one hell of a climax, I highly recommend Silver Bullet to any werewolf fan.

RIP Corey - December 23, 1971- March 10, 2010 - Chris


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From fearscene.com

Everyone should have an Uncle Red . . .

I mean I don't, but I wish I did. And in Stephen King's Silver Bullet, the relationship between Uncle Red (Gary Busey), Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) and Jane Coslaw (Megan Follows) was really at the heart of the story. Well, that and the murderous werewolf that was stalking the local residents, that is.

The film begins with a bang (well more like a thud) as one of the town drunks who works on the railroad tracks is found dead. Everyone kind of assumes that in a drunken stupor he somehow got himself caught on the tracks. But when other (more respectable) townsfolk wind up dead, everyone realizes that there is some kind of monster on the loose. Only they don't realize how right they are about the monster part.

Marty who is paralyzed and his sister, Jane who is constantly given the responsibility to watch over Marty, are the only two in town who realize what is stalking the townspeople. After their Uncle Red gives Marty a new hot-rod wheelchair (fondly nicknamed The Silver Bullet) and some Fourth of July fireworks, Marty sneaks out of his second story bedroom to shoot them off. This is no easy feat for a little boy whose legs don't quite work. I mean, getting out might not be too far beyond the realm of possibility, but getting back up? It was a stretch to say the least. But I digress . . . So Marty is off shooting off his fireworks which wake up the Werewolf who promptly comes to attack Marty. But Marty has saved a rocket for his last firework and shoots it into the monster's eye. He then hightails it back home and somehow gets away from the wounded Werewolf.

The next day he begs Jane to help him find out who in town is the Werewolf. She is not quite sure she believes Marty but decides to do her best to see all the townspeople. At the end of her travels she runs into a towns person who does have an eye injury ( I won't disclose now in case you watch). She is then convinced so she and Marty go to the only adult they think might help them - Uncle Red. He is reluctant to help but when the kids both give him silver necklaces to have made into a silver bullet, he does. He then arranges for their parents to be away on the next full moon (which happened to fall on Halloween - what a coincidence!). And then they wait for the Werewolf to cometh . . .

This is a really cute and touching story. It is like a G-rated horror film in my opinion. Well, G-rated might be an understatement, but it is a great little horror flick to watch with the kiddies on a Sunday afternoon.

Something to look out for in the movie is the character of Owen Knopfler (Lawrence Tierney) as he walked around with his "Peacemaker". I just couldn't help thinking "Toby Whang? . . . Toby Wong? . . . " everytime I saw him in a shot. If you are a Reservoir Dogs fan, you will get my reference! If not, watch Reservoir Dogs it is an awesome film.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From blog.paxholley.net

Welcome to the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. This week I’m reviewing werewolf movies. Today, I’m reviewing the movie version of Stephen King’s novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, the movie changed the title to Silver Bullet.

Released in 1985, Stephen King’s Silver Bullet stars Corey Haim as paralyzed Marty Coslaw, Gary Busey as his alcoholic uncle and Megan Follows as his sister. The movie was based on the 1983 graphic novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, also by Stephen King. The movie follows the basic gist of the novella about a werewolf terrorizing the small town of Tarker’s Mill, Maine.

This movie has garnered much hatred from Stephen King fans as well as horror movie fans due to the horrible quality of the movie. And yes, the movie isn’t that great. I watched it many years ago on video cassette and remember thinking it blew big time. However, I DVRed it a few weeks ago off of EncoreHD and watched it very recently and didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. It’s a fairly decent B werewolf movie.

While the movie does take the basic plot elements of the novella; a paralyzed boy discovers a werewolf is murdering the people in his town, it pretty much eliminates following the werewolf’s killing sprees during the different cycles of the full moon throughout an entire calendar year. The movie takes place within a week or two during the Spring of 1976 (if the events do happen over several months like in the novella, the movie didn’t really do a good job of illustrating that). It almost makes the werewolf killings seem like a recent occurrence whereas in the book the killings build up over months and the town labels the serial killer The Full Moon Killer. Most of the movie is uselessly narrated by the sister from the future as if she’s looking back at that time in her life. There really seemed to be no reason to have this narration because the movie never really follows up on it.

Anyway, like I said, Corey Haim is the paralyzed boy and Gary Busey is the loud, obnoxious drunken uncle who drinks Wild Turkey directly out of the bottle as he plays poker with his crippled nephew. However Busey’s slovenly, alcoholic uncle who also doesn’t seem to have a job, has enough clarity and funds to build his nephew a suped up motorized tri-bike to replace his wheelchair.

This is the tri-bike Uncle Rainman builds for Marty:

Pretty sweet, right? And the name of the bike is…wait for it…wait for it…The Silver Bullet. Of course it is. Anyway, the movie is rather tame at first. You get a few surprisingly tame kill scenes with the werewolf. The sheriff doesn’t know what to do or what’s happening. Oh, and the sheriff is played by the immutable Terry O’Quinn who, since I’ve seen him as Locke on Lost, I’ve found is in EVERYTHING. He’s like the white Samuel L Jackson. I just recently watched him in Young Guns, but he’s also in The Rocketeer, Tombstone, The Cutting Edge, The X-Files movie and the TV show Alias. As well as a ton of other appearances in TV shows and movies. So, the townspeople are unhappy with how the Locke is handling the killings. They are probably also pissed because Locke starts off the movie with a goatee/mustache and at some point shaves it off for no reason. So the town gathers a lynch mob to find the killer and is systematically picked off and killed by the werewolf Rambo-style. Despite this setback, the lynch mob wants to go back out and find the killer again (what a dumb f**king town). Throughout these attacks you never actually see the whole werewolf. You see an eyeball, or a claw or fur. They did a good job building up to the werewolf’s reveal at the end (then promptly s**t the bed during said reveal). One night Haim and his awesome tri-bike has a run in with the wolf and shoots a bottle rocket directly into the wolf’s eye. The next day he enlists his sister to go door to door to find someone with a missing eye (who will obviously be the werewolf). The sister knocks on doors acting as if she’s collecting cans for recycling and discovers who the wolf is on her very last stop (it’s the same person as in the novella).

Terrified that the person will come after them now that they know, Haim and his sister have their drunken uncle melt down some jewelry to make a silver bullet and they all lay in wait for the werewolf to come get them. Then we see the full werewolf attack, and it’s overwhelmingly ass-a-riffic. I mean, the werewolf suit looks completely ridiculous. The head is too big for the body and the mouth is ENORMOUS. It looks like The Joker, but as a werewolf. And, obviously, it’s Haim that shoots the werewolf with the silver bullet in its one good eye (of course). All in all, not bad for a B movie, but still not a great movie.

If you watch this as a horror B-movie, then you will go in with the proper expectations. It’s not terrible, but it’s not particularly good. Busey is somewhat fun to watch in all of his craziness and Haim is in his full on Lucas acting mode (he’d star in Lucas the very next year). Watch it with a grain of salt. Not the best werewolf movie ever, but nowhere near the worst.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From horror-movies.ca

Stephen King's Silver Bullet .Directed by Daniel Attias. Based on King's short story " Cycle Of the WereWolf "

The small quiet town of Tarker's Mill is being terrorized what they first to believe is a maniac or deadly beast .But in fact is a werewolf.

Told as a narrative by Jane (Megan Follow ), who is also resents being the caretaker of her wheelchair bound younger brother Marty ( Corey Haim ) Although Marty does seem to get around town well on his own with his motorized wheelchair that goes pretty fast.
The town Sherriff (Terry O’Quinn) is in charge of the investigation, but has no leads as the werewolf claims more victims including Marty’s best friend. After the death of a child a mob is formed in the town, but the mob soon becomes the hunted as the werewolf takes down a half dozen pf them one by one as the werewolf uses the natural fog and shadows to tear the mob members apart.
Marty’s Uncle Red (Gary Busey) unveils Marty’s new wheelchair, which actually looks more like a cross between an ATV and a chopper. When Marty goes out to set off the fireworks that his Uncle Red gave him he encounters the werewolf and narrowly escapes an attack when he shoots a firework right into its eye. The only thing preventing Marty and Jane from discovering the werewolf’s secret identity is finding the townsperson with a missing eye. But they get in over their heads and turn to their Uncle Red for help.

This movie is about as cheesey as it could possibly get. Maybe its Corey Haim's dopey grin or perhaps Gary Busey playing himself basically as drunken loser Uncle Red that makes it comical . I think no one else could have played this part but Busey. This role was MADE for him.

Silver Bullet has a great cast that fits well into the small town setting and atmosphere.The gore effects that are shown are pretty good. we have a decapitated head, a woman's skin being shredded by sharp claws,The modern CGI werewolf does not shed blood like the old school effects.
The sound effects went from afterschool special music to menancing tones and growls.

Here's the only problem. The werewolf. It was pretty awful. It looked too much like what it actually was-- a person in a hairy rubber suit. I feel perhaps the director was aware of this and kept the werewolf hidden in trees and in fog. Only showing the glaring eyes and claws attacking. what killed it for me was when the werewolf climbed a tendrail to reach the 2nd floor- crash in window and attack a woman ? He also took a bat that a man was using as protection and clubbed him to death with it ? I kept wondering why a werewolf would use a bat and it took me out of the moment.

I feel the werewolf was far more scary when he is in human form and is aware that Marty and Jane know his identity, He stalks his prey with the cold quiet demeanor of a true predator, trying to run Marty over while Marty is driving his ATV wheelchair on the side of the road. As tame as this scene sounds its actually quite suspenseful.

The real treat of this movie are the last scenes when Gary Busey, Megan Follows, and Corey Haim finally confront the werewolf head on with a silver bullet melted down and forged from the Jane and Martyy’s necklaces. Other than the distraction of the bad werewolf effects this movie is great popcorn horror. One to watch again and again.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From horrornews.net

SYNOPSIS:

Adapted from author Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf, this campy thriller tells of a sleepy American town that’s terrorized by extreme sadistic murders — seemingly, by a werewolf. While all the town’s inhabitants prepare to lock themselves up at night, Marty Coslaw, a 13-year-old, wheelchair-bound boy, is the only person brave enough to try to track down the mysterious killer.

REVIEW:

The thing I love about Stephen King adaptations from the 80’s is how wholesome and family oriented they are. In my opinion Stephen King writes about children and siblings really well, albeit with a great deal of corn. Silver Bullet is the film adaption of the Stephen King short story “Cycle of the Werewolf” and this time the screenplay was written by King himself, and the quality shows. Despite the R rating this is essentially an all ages horror movie. The horror is suspenseful and the identity of the werewolf makes for a good mystery. Before this review continues I need to say Silver Bullet contains Gary Busey fighting a werewolf and Corey Haim on a gas powered wheelchair and, that is all the motivation you need to go find a copy of Silver Bullet.

The story starts in a small town where we meet a young paraplegic boy, Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) and his sister Jane (Megan Follows). The town is a small quiet place, where very little ever happens, but one night a young woman who was just abandoned by her boyfriend after learning she was pregnant tried committing suicide. Before the woman could swallow her first pill a werewolf jumped through the window and tore her to shreds. The werewolf appears as a bipedal wolfman. Although the suit worn by Everett McGill is cheesy at times, it’s a solid movie effect portrays a creature of the shadows that fits well into the atmosphere of the film. Stephen King adaptations are not typically known for their gore, but there are two onscreen kills where we got to see the werewolf’s claws in action. The modern CGI werewolf does not shed blood like the old school effects.

Sherriff Haller (Terry O’Quinn) is in charge of the investigation, but has no leads as the werewolf claims more victims including Marty’s best friend. After the death of a child a mob is formed in the town, but the actions of the mob are fruitless as the werewolf takes down a half dozen townspeople. The townspeople are taken down one by one as the werewolf uses the natural fog and shadows to tear the mob members apart. The next scene is a dream sequence where everyone in town turns into a werewolf at funeral of the six werewolf victims. . The next day Marty’s Uncle Red (Gary Busey) unveils Marty’s new wheelchair, which actually looks more like a cross between an ATV and a chopper. When Marty goes out to set off the fireworks that his Uncle Red gave him he encounters the werewolf and shoots a firework right into its eye. The only thing preventing Marty and Jane from discovering the werewolf’s secret identity is finding the townsperson with a missing eye.

Say what you will about Gary Busey’s current state of mind, but no one plays the drunken uncle quite like him. Silver Bullet has a great cast that fits well into the small town setting and tone. Horror films set in small towns have great ensemble casts where character actors such as Terry O’Quinn, whom I reviewed earlier for his excellent role in The Stepfather, get a chance to play the good guys. The mystery behind the identity of the werewolf was a nice plot element.

(SPOILER ALERT) When the werewolf is finally revealed to be the town reverend played by Everett McGill whose performance takes on sense of genuine menace when he justifies his killings in the name of God. When the reverend learns that Marty and Jane know his identity, he stalks his prey with the cold quiet demeanor of a true predator, trying to run Marty over while Marty is driving his ATV wheelchair on the side of the road. As lame as this scene sounds its actually quite suspenseful.

The real treat of this movie are the last scenes when Gary Busey, Megan Follows, and Corey Haim finally confront the werewolf head on with a silver bullet melted down and forged from the Megan and Corey’s necklaces. Silver Bullet is a great lesser known adaptation of a King work hidden amongst a lot of crap. This movie is a must if you enjoy the King brand of horror.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From impulsegamer.com

Stephen King is a mastermind but he's also a twisted story teller and unfortunately I'm a sucker for his movies, especially those that deal with the supernatural and his Silver Bullet does just that.

The story begins with citizens of a yokel town being murdered by a strange creature, however the main characters in the movie involve Jane Coslaw (Megan Follows) who has been given the task of being the protector of her brother Marty (Corey Haim). They are also joined by the eccentric Uncle (Gary Busey) who also provides a healthy dose of comedy in this horror comedy.

Unfortunately for Marty, he is wheelchair bound but the thoughtful Uncle Red creates him a new hotted up wheelchair and when he sneaks out to play with some fireworks, he encounters the unthinkable, a Werewolf.

Although he somehow manages to escape which was actually quite entertaining to view, his sister Jane and him decide to find out which of the townsfolk is the Werewolf and they bring Uncle Red to their fight, believing that he is the only adult they can trust. Thankfully the technological minded Red creates some silver bullets for the kids.

While Silver Bullet is a horror movie, it's actually quite a laid back and almost family friend movie (obviously not due to the rating) and even though it won't get you scared, it will definitely bring a smile to your face. With that said, the movie does have some parallels to The Lost Boys.

In regards to the video quality, it is a little lacking but considering it's age, it is acceptable. The video quality is on par with the audio and although it won't wow you, it will still draw you in. At the end of the day Stephen King's Silver Bullet is more a cult movie than a mainstream movie but hell... it made me laugh hard.

Still don't believe me? Check it out as a rental first!


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From monstersatplay.com

It's the Spring of '76 in the small Maine town of Tarker's Mills, and a most disagreeable fiend of the Canis lupus variety is wreaking considerable havoc upon the townsfolk. First, a drunken railroad worker finds himself on the unpleasant receiving end of a decapitation; given his well-known fondness for the almighty bottle, his death is written off as an accident (passed out on the tracks, ya know). Next, a pretty blonde woman is mauled to death in her bedroom right before attempting suicide with a handful of pills; after all, her jerk of a beau had brushed her off earlier with the classy statement, "It may be your baby, but it ain't my bun in the oven." Then the town's teen troublemaker is done in while flying his yellow kite in the park; but when we first see him in the film, he runs over a cockroach with his bicycle, so perhaps "what goes around, comes around", huh? After three grisly deaths in a town the size of a postage stamp, you'd think the FBI would descend upon Tarker's Mills like a tick on a june bug; instead, the hapless sheriff and dimwitted deputy are launching an investigation that's assessed as being "about as effective as a submarine with screen doors". Of course, the frustrated citizens who form a non-sanctioned posse aren't any more effective; instead of doing spread-out parallels in the woods, their quaking-in-the-boots selves bump into each other and say things like, "Bob, are you gonna make lemonade in your pants?" Nah, the only ones who stand a chance of ridding Tarker's Mills of this seven-foot-tall hairy varmint is eleven-year-old, wheelchair-bound Marty (played by Corey Haim), his wise-beyond-her-years older sister Jane (Megan Follows), and their thrice-divorced, Wild Turkey-swigging Uncle Red (Gary Busey). (Oh, and did I mention the local bartender carries a bat around with him that has "The Peacemaker" etched into it? Didn't think so.)

Suffice to say, Silver Bullet isn't meant to be taken seriously as a straight horror tale. Adapated by Stephen King from his novelette Cycle of the Werewolf (which showcased some truly stunning graphics by the renowned Berni Wrightston), it's a ninety-four-minute comedy chiller that elicits more in the way of laughs than palpitations. The director, Daniel Attias, whose theatrical debut this is, displays a decent eye and knack for 'Scope composition, though I suspect a good deal of this is due to the stalwart efforts of cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi, who managed to give some visual prowess even to Stephen King's hoary directorial debut Maximum Overdrive a year later. But he's an absolute zero as a scaremeister. Not only does Attias make perfectly clear a few football fields away who the next ill-fated victim is to be, but he prolongs their upcoming demises with so many unimaginative tracking shots and red herrings that the stock "Boo!" moments punctuating the creature's eventual appearance are rendered obsolete because we're beyond caring and just want the damn scene to be over with already. With an inability to use the camera suggestively and tighten the scenes for maximum suspense, the director's forced to rely way too much on the awful music score by Jay Chattaway, who's done good work with B-movie director William (Maniac) Lustig but whose work here is overstatedly bombastic -- it threatens to lift the roof off the ceiling during the horror moments and send you gagging during the saccharine dramatic ones. Blending horror and comedy into an overall whole is quite a chore for most directors because they fail to understand that both elements have to be fully realized (going fifty percent on each doesn't add up a one-hundred-percent success), which is why the tone in films like Silver Bullet are almost always inconsistent, and why we're afforded a masterpiece like George A. Romero's Creepshow only every decade or so.

As much ragging on the film as one can rightly do (especially in regard to the whodunit angle -- it wasn't wise to cast a sinister-looking actor in the part, even if his character's profession is seemingly disarming), the experience isn't a total wash. For one thing, the scene transitions have been edited with adroitness and snap by Daniel Loewenthal. A shot of several coffins inside a church right after the private justice-seeking citizens have been offed is good for a hearty guffaw. And the performances by Haim, Fellows and Busey are outstanding, especially the latter's. Busey is as ingratiating here as he was menacing as the Psychos 'R Us mercenary in Lethal Weapon; and what's miraculous is that his role is full of trap doors into maudlin depths, and he expertly sidesteps every one. There's a scene where Uncle Red reconsiders taking a nip from his flask during the funeral of Marty's best friend, and another where he's elated over presenting Marty with a custom-built, high-speed motorized wheelchair called the Silver Bullet (hence the film's title), and Busey, a keen and perceptive actor, filters out the mundane and replaces it with a knowingness that seems to be saying, "No, that's exactly what the audience is expecting me to do. Let 'em get a load of this instead." Everything Busey does here is unexpected -- he gives Uncle Red an uninhibited boisterousness that jolts the film with a shot of high-wire energy whenever he's on-screen -- and he sinks his teeth into the film's best dialogue with relish (upon becoming a part of Marty's werewolf-catching scheme at the risk of catching the wrath of his own sister, he quips, "I'm gonna wind up singing soprano in the Vienna Boy's Choir.") Without Busey, the talented Haim and Fellows would still lend Silver Bullet some heart, but not it's life force and soul.

I doubt, though, that most people going into Silver Bullet are doing so to appreciate some commendable performances (or some truly atrocious ones as well -- especially the one by Kent Broadhurst, as a grieved father, who can't even say a line like "How dare you." without sounding like he's auditioning to the Shakespearean gods). Even creature affectionadoes will come away considerably disappointed, which is a shame in light of the participation of the award-winning special-effects artist Carlo Rambaldi, who copped two Oscars for his extraordinary work in Alien and E.T. The werewolf on dubious display looks more like Smokey the Bear than a blood-thirsty, terrifying beast, and though Attias tries the Ridley Scott/Alien method of not showing too much of it, it still comes off as nothing other than a man in a creature suit. Failing to invoke so much as an iota of primal fear, sounding oddly like Godzilla when it gets POed, and with a pair of hokey glowing red eyes, it's by far the least frightening werewolf I've ever seen. (It's a shame the silver screen, and not just a silver bullet, couldn't do it in.) Gorehounds will be somewhat sated during the film's opening passages, but after that the emphasis switches mostly to cutaways of blood splatters, and they'll probably be asleep by then, anyway, what with all that talkin' going on in between. And sorry to be the ultimate killjoy, but even those seeking out some gratuitous nudity or sex will be sorely let down: the closest sexual reference is when Uncle Red tells Marty he feels like a "virgin on prom night" before presenting him with his new four-wheel get-up-and-go. Bottom line: For a scrumptiously enjoyable Gary Busey performance, check out Silver Bullet; for a fun and scary werewolf film, check out Eric Red's underrated 1996 Bad Moon instead, please.

In keeping with Paramount's affinity for bare-bones DVD releases, one shouldn't be too surprised by the skeletal treatment given Silver Bullet. Granted, given Paramount's inexcusable reluctance to put chapter stops on their LaserDiscs during the '90s until late in the game (even after a second-tier brand like Image Entertainment started doing it), their having chosen to not even include a lousy theatrical trailer in this package is a new low even for them. Yet, truth be told, I could actually care less. For this marks the first time Silver Bullet has been made available on home video in its original J-D-C Scope-shot, 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio, and the anamorphic transfer's pretty much a beauty. Blacks are deep and reasonably glossy, shadow detail is impressive, flesh tones are consistent, grain is kept to a minimum even in the nighttime scenes, and no edge enhancement is detectable. As for the 2.0 Mono, it's not exactly dexterous in the channel-separations department but is surprisingly punchy and distortion-free. Overall, this DVD isn't quite on par with Anchor Bay Entertainment's excellent one of Maximum Overdrive, but it's close.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From classic-horror.com

Based on Stephen King's novella "Cycle of the Werewolf," Silver Bullet merges Stephen King's distinctive American style of horror with werewolf mythology and a wonderful twist in a film slightly marred by the too-often-present King project low-budget woes, but blessed with lots of skill and good fortune, as well.

As a King film, you can already guess that it's set in Maine (not Castle Rock, this time, but the town of Tarker's Mills). You can also guess that it has slightly dysfunctional families with at least one alcoholic per, and that plenty of people get killed by some monstrosity. Those elements, present in a plot that's part straight-ahead character study of Small Town, U.S.A., part gradual psychological deterioration of the same characters as they realize the extent of whatever monstrosity happens to be plaguing them this time, amounts to the King formula (which shows influences from Hitchcock's The Birds), and we can already place most of you in either the good or bad candidate camp for this film based on whether you enjoy experiencing the formula or not.

You can just glance at how many King films I've reviewed so far to guess which camp I'm going to fall into. I like the formula, which in my eyes is merely a stylistic marker for King, and I not only don't mind seeing a variation on it; in fact, I pretty much expect it. Everyone who gets agitated as soon as they hear 'Maine,' 'alcoholic' and 'horror' mentioned in the same breath already knows to stay far away from a King film, and Silver Bullet is no exception.

Since my praise is far weightier than my criticism of this film, let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. The primary flaw with Silver Bullet is the budget problem. Although filmed for theatrical release, the atmosphere often reeks more of the `made for television' King films like The Tommyknockers and Salem's Lot. I suppose it doesn't help that I watched Silver Bullet on commercial television in pan and scan, time compressed, and probably edited for gore, but the low budget feel has plagued many of King's films that I first experienced in the theater, as well, such as Maximum Overdrive and Children of the Corn, so I can't completely blame it on the cable station.

On the other hand, it's not the fault of anyone in the crew or cast that companies like Paramount don't pump huge sums of money into horror films, even with names like King's attached. They know they'll make a certain amount of money from the die-hard fans, and their main concern is guaranteeing a profit based on that.

In fact, director Daniel Attias, who has primarily worked in television since lensing Silver Bullet, does a remarkable job with the materials at hand. Scenes like the antagonist-eye view from beneath the floorboards of a victim-to-be's home, a long, spine tingling traipse through the woods in a heavy fog, and the reverend's nightmare are classic.

And the actors all turn in excellent work, especially Gary Busey, who is at his wackiest here as Uncle Red, and the two teen-actor leads, Marty (Corey Haim) and Jane Coslaw (Megan Follows). Haim really carries the film, and that while tackling the challenging role of a paraplegic (who, by the way, winds up driving a souped-up 'Silver Bullet' wheelchair, built by Uncle Red, that must have been responsible for half of the pollution in the state of Maine in the 1980's).

As far as the writing goes, one of the nicest elements of Silver Bullet, in my opinion, is the twist, which not only did I never expect because it's relatively off-the-wall, but which should pleasantly ruffle a few feathers of those folks who are easily offended. This is not one of the best King-oriented works, at least not on the whole, but it's a solid, above average film that horror and King fans, serious or casual, should enjoy.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From nytimes.com

''STEPHEN KING'S SILVER BULLET,'' Mr. King's own adaptation of his novelette, ''Cycle of the Werewolf,'' tells us how plucky little Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) almost single-handedly rids the small town of Tarker's Mills of its own, live-in werewolf.

It's not easy.

Nobody believes Marty when he suggests that a werewolf may be responsible for the awful murders that are rocking Tarker's Mills to its foundations. Then, too, Marty is confined to a wheelchair from some unidentified illness he's had since birth. First he must convince his plucky older sister, Jane (Megan Follows), and together they convince their hard-drinking uncle, Red (Gary Busey).

It's also not easy convincing the audience. The werewolf, when it finally comes onto the screen, looks less like a wolf than Smokey Bear with a terrible hangover.

''Stephen King's Silver Bullet,'' which opens today at the Orpheum and other theaters, is very low-grade Stephen King fiction. Daniel Attias is the director. It's R-rated. Who's Afraid? STEPHEN KING'S SILVER BULLET, directed by Daniel Attias; screenplay by Stephen King, based on his novelette ''Cycle of the Werewolf''; director of photography, Armando Nannuzzi; edited by Daniel Loewenthal; music by Jay Chattaway; produced by Martha Schumacher; released by Paramount Pictures. At Loews Orpheum, Third Avenue at 86th Street; Loews State, Broadway at 45th Street, and other theaters. Uncle RedGary Busey Reverend LoweEverett McGill Marty CoslawCorey Haim Jane CoslawMegan Follows Nan CoslawRobin Groves Bob CoslawLeon Russom Sheriff Joe HallerTerry O'Quinn Andy FairtonBill Smitrovich Brady KincaidJoe Wright Herb KincaidKent Broadhurst Tammy SturmfullerHeather Simmons Milt SturmfullerJames A. Baffico Mrs. SturmfullerRebecca Fleming Owen KnopflerLawrence Tierney


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From filmfreakcentral.net

Imagining a film in which a disabled lad with a gas-powered wheelchair (called the "Silver Bullet") teams up with Gary Busey and Anne of Green Gables to battle a werewolf who can decapitate his victims with one sweep of his claws but chooses, more than once, to use a baseball bat on them instead will almost prepare you for Stephen King's Silver Bullet. A 1985 cheapie adapted by King from his Cycle of the Werewolf, a book so thin the opening credits term it a "novelette," Silver Bullet has a peculiar charm; as a rule, nothing starring Corey Haim should be this compulsively watchable.

Haim's wheelchair-bound Marty lives with his resentful sister (Megan Follows) in the sort of mudhole that has one businessman, one clergyman, one policeman, etc. A serial killer haunts this jerkwater town, and after the discovery of the third or fourth body, Marty--in what must be the worst-foreshadowed development in King's oeuvre--decides that the perpetrator is a werewolf. From that point forward, Silver Bullet becomes a game of guessing the lycanthropy's human identity (the film presents the revelation of such as a plot twist--twice) and self-preservation on the part of Marty, who has to prove his mad theory to his skeptical sibling and their alcoholic uncle, Red (Busey).

Though the film is set in 1976, its tasteless quotient is pure eighties: children are mutilated; a priest (Everett McGill, an underrated character actor) mows down Marty with his car; the one person slain on camera--more graphically than you could imagine--is a pregnant woman; Uncle Red encourages his nephew to break a police-ordained curfew to go light fireworks by himself in the woods; the list goes on. To what end, you ask? It all makes the TV-style Silver Bullet irresistable circa 2002. Current horror, while slicker-looking, toils to be inoffensive, the odd concession to a tradition of a fixation with breasts aside; to quote one of Silver Bullet's walking lunchmeat, that's "about as useful as a submarine with screen doors."

The genre saw a fruitful period between, approximately, 1970 and 1986 because censorship practices were at their most lenient and thus filmmakers could best explore our expectations of a lucid nightmare. If you think about your least pleasant dreams, there's an attendant depravity to them, a side-effect of a want to be shocked. This led to fewer masterpieces (The Exorcist) than stinkers (I Spit on Your Grave), but the ironically liberal spirit in which they were made elevates many a fright flick of the greed decades today. And if you think a return to the Silver Bullet days would be nonetheless regressive, consider that the period was also open to heroes of every stripe--as callously as King treats Marty, it's nice to see a disabled person--a youth, no less--portrayed on screen as a) proactive, and b) neither pitied nor self-pitying.

There's been nothing like that at the movies since (or I've missed it), and in fact, political correctness may have diminished what little respect the handicapped received in the first place from the media to nothing as they became the only minority unaided by a strong voice of support--a safe post-Reagan punchline, in other words; I'd take a bullet for last year's beautiful Ghost World, but there's no getting around that it ridicules the disabled with schoolyard glee.

Stephen King's Silver Bullet is kinda sorta good, definitely a howler.

Paramount preserves Silver Bullet's JDC-Scope aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on DVD in an anamorphic widescreen transfer that does not transcend Armando Nannuzzi's one-dimensional, low-contrast cinematography. To be fair, the elements are in good shape and the compression seems flawless. The shock notes sound flat in the 2.0 mono mix, alas--a jump scare just isn't a jump scare anymore without assistance from the subwoofer. (Otherwise, the track has acceptable dynamic range and clear vocals.) There are no supplements on this disc. - Bill Chambers


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From top10films.co.uk

You have to give Silver Bullet credit – not only does it star Corey Haim in the lead role sans friend and many time co-star Corey Feldman and has Stephen King inadvisably adapting his own short story, but it co-stars Gary Busey in one of few films the fine-toothed actor appears in that doesn’t stink. So you’ve got to give Silver Bullet a pat on the back. I mean, those particular criteria would usually breed disaster, so the film deserves a certain amount of respect given such bold would-be hindrances. It isn’t as if Haim made many good films with Feldman, but he made even less without him, and it seems every time Stephen King gets the nod to convert his own books into films, we’re painfully exposed to overlong exposition, wayward narratives and three and a half hours of characters running around in the dark. No, Silver Bullet is that one rare beast that coverts these elements into a horror film that works on the basis of its subversive humour, its total lack of seriousness, and its quality scares.

The film is based on Stephen King’s novella Cycle Of The Werewolf, and sees crippled Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) noticing there may be a rather mythical reason why violent, bloody murders have been occurring in his little home town of Tarker’s Mills. Through some particularly annoying voice-over exposition by his sister (certainly a King trait we could have done without, but it’s a minor problem), we get to see an interesting werewolf story that neatly combines King’s dark humour that seeks out the raw side of the human psyche, with a reasonably inventive play on the werewolf myth through some, albeit flimsy, moralistic issues, and the creature’s superhuman strength pitted against the youthful, wheelchair-bound child. One of the film’s most appealing aspects is how director Daniel Attias combines King’s community togetherness and the story’s idea of martial law, with a John Carpenter-style siege mentality that sees the locals taking matters into their own hands.

For sure, Silver Bullet doesn’t take itself seriously and King’s humour is at times exceptionally funny, particularly because Attias delivers it with such subtlety. When the locals go hunting for the werewolf it’s as if both the writer and director are just having fun with the conventions of the genre without resorting to cliché. There’s a distinct sense of the film trying to be subversively funny through its subtle humour and its light homage. One scene stands out in particular. When the local’s go hunting, they find themselves in the woods. One of them, wielding a baseball bat with the words ‘The Peace Maker’ written on it, gets caught by the beast and disappears into the darkness, clearly trying to hit the animal with his weapon. Next thing we see is the werewolf with the bat in its hand beating the hell out of him. The film propels itself above mediocrity with its quite odd sense of the comic that is delivered with the straightest of faces – for instance, outside of broad comedy, where else would you see a super-powered wheelchair being chased by a car?

That’s not to say Silver Bullet is a great film, far from it. The voice-over by Marty’s sister, sounding many years older as if she’s telling a story of her past to her grandchildren, is unnecessary – a far too easy ploy to move the story forward which alienates the viewer by distancing us from the characters. Yes, voice-over can be used well, but it isn’t here, showing simple laziness and poor storytelling, exampling a weakness in King’s feature film writing. Similarly, many of the film’s interesting attributes are glossed over in a rush to find out ‘who dunnit’, like the father who loses his child and fights against the law to inspire the townspeople to act out their own personal justice, and the relationship between Marty and his sister. The fact Marty is in a wheelchair is interesting and tidily worked into the story but ultimately his predicament isn’t fully realised, much in the same way King struggles to bring the novella’s idea of the lunar cycle and the werewolf killing on certain, notable calendar days to the screen. That said, both Haim and Busey are likeable in their roles and the film motors along at a hefty pace. Attias does have trouble pacing the story as some element of tension is lost in his hurry to the finish line, but he throws in a couple of notable graphic deaths and never loses a tongue in cheek tone which makes the film continually entertaining, even more so given the superb creature effects and werewolf transformation sequences. Silver Bullet is no Shining, but if Kubrick’s film is the main course when it comes to Stephen King, then Bullet makes for great finger food.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From werewolf-movies.com

At their best, Stephen King's movies are dark, wonderful and clever. At their worst, they're schmaltzy crap with a couple of good ideas thrown in. Unfortunately, "Silver Bullet" falls into the latter category.

It's not all that bad, though ... the acting is mostly competent, although nobody is particularly noteable except for Corey Haim as the young ten year old boy, who is actually very good. Everyone does their best, as most of the characters are fairly cardboard, and as usual in Stephen King movies the kids are pretty much all innocent and pure while the grown-ups are drunken idiots who flail around a bit and then most likely get killed. But there are a couple of interesting scenes here ... there's a great one where the townspeople are hunting the beast in the fog, which may not be that convincing, but it's a very cool idea cinematically. There's also an excellent scene in a church which I won't spoil for you.

In fact, both of the good ideas take place within the same five minutes, so maybe you could just skip forward fifty minutes into the film, watch those, and not bother with the rest. The problem with it is, there aren't enough interesting or original ideas on show. It's clear that Stephen King did little, if any, research into werewolves, and apparently he hasn't thought at all about exactly what makes them scary. Any truly great writer should really think about the essence of what he's writing about, and attempt to define it in a new and original way. Stephen King knows how to do that, but here he just hasn't bothered. The voice-over from the grown-up sister was a bad idea, and the execution of it is really bad. And pretty pointless too. Just because it's an adaptation of a book, doesn't always mean a voice-over is necessary.

The idea of the lead character being a small, helpless boy in a wheelchair on the run from a werewolf is promising, but doesn't pay off. We also fail to sympathise with the werewolf, something that they understood was necessary even way back in the 1930s (except for perhaps in one of the two great scenes).

Aside from a couple of shining moments, this is ultimately an a fairly dull movie, far short of what you expect from Stephen King, and not one that I'd really recommend.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From dvdactive.com

When asked to review this movie I was pretty sure that I had seen it before but wasn't quite sure. I am a fan of Stephen King books but most of the time the films don't live up to the standards of the books. Read on to find out if Silver Bullet is any different...

Movie

Silver Bullet is based on Stephen King's novel "Cycle of the Werewolf". The film is set in a small peaceful American town called Tarker’s Mills. In this town everyone knows each other and not much happens from day to day. That is until a mutilated body is found. At first the town think it was a suicide but they soon realise that something more sinister is happening in the town. A pattern soon emerges as a member of the town is killed every month.

The film concentrates on the Coslaw family. The main character is Marty (Corey Haim) who is a crippled young boy who travels everywhere on a motor driven wheelchair (The Silver Bullet). Marty has an older sister called Jane. The two tease each other but deep down they get on well. After the death of Marty’s friend the young lad decides to investigate who is behind the sudden flurry of murders. After a run in with the killer Marty realises that all is not what it seems. Marty realises that the killer is in fact a werewolf. The young boy decides to tell his Uncle Red (Gary Busey). Uncle Red is not your average uncle. He is an alcoholic womaniser but he cares greatly for Marty. Busey’s character is a strange one to call as he can be out of control one minute but completely sensible the next. I suppose that’s what drinking does to you! Unfortunately for Marty his uncle doesn’t believe his revelations, but he instead finds support in his sister. Jane agrees to help her brother search for the werewolf who is thought to live a normal life during the day and terrorise the locals during the night.

Bearing in mind that Silver Bullet was actually made over fifteen years ago I quite enjoyed it. When watching this film you have to bear in mind that the film is old and therefore the technology and costumes are not up to the standards of today. For example the first time I saw the werewolf I nearly burst out laughing. It basically looked like a guy dressed up in an apes suit. Thinking about it, it probably was! What makes Silver Bullet a reasonable film is the storyline. Fans of Stephen King will know that lots of his books are made into feature films. Not all of these are worth watching. Lots of Stephen King novels get turned into TV series and then over time get pieced together into a film. Well Silver Bullet looks like it was made as a straight out film. It is well paced so that it doesn’t get boring. In fact it probably could have been a little longer. I think in the first twenty minutes I counted about 4-5 murders, which is good going for any film!

If I were going to criticise any aspect of this movie it would have to be the abrupt ending. The hero’s spend all their time worrying about the werewolf coming to get them and when it does happen the beast dies within a matter of minutes. I am a great fan of movies that have spectacular last battles but in this case it was over before it started. Some of the scenes looked like they could be very intense and scary but seemed to end too soon. As for why this film has an 18 rating I will never know. I realise that the subject matter requires a fairly high rating but there is nothing in this film which should make it over a 15 rating.

Video

I wasn’t really expecting much from this aspect of the disc but I was pleasantly surprised. The film is presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic. It is not reference quality but surpasses any expectations I had. The picture is clear and there does not seem to be any damage to the film, which is surprising considering the age of the movie. The only thing that lets down the transfer is the colour. There doesn’t seem to be the full range of colours that you would expect from a film which is set mostly out doors. The colours seem to be washed up, drained and not as vibrant as they should be. It’s hard to criticise a film, which is 15 years old so overall this transfer is very good.

Audio

Sadly the audio side of the disc does not live up to the visual aspect. Four language soundtracks are included. English, German, Italian and Spanish but they are all at Dolby Digital (2.0) so not that impressive really. However to be honest this film does not have many moments where a better soundtrack would have been beneficial. There is a lot of dialog and not many action scenes so the soundtrack provided is adequate.

Extras

This has to be the easiest review I have had to write in terms of extras. The simple reason for this is that there is very few included on the disc. There is an audio commentary by director Daniel Attias, which is actually pretty good. The director talks about various aspects of the movie and explains how certain scenes were shot. The commentary is very open and truthful.

The only other extra included on the disc is a trailer. There is something about old trailers, which amuse me. No matter what trailer you watch from the 80’s there always seems to be the same guy narrating. He speaks in a deep voice, which adds to creepy element of the trailer. The trailer is worth looking at for the novelty factor.

As you can see the extras on this disc are very poor. I would probably go as far as to say that they are the worst that I have seen in recent months. Recent DVD release have been packed with extras but for some reason the makers of this release decided to go with the minimum that they could get away with.

Overall

Silver Bullet is one of Stephen King’s better movie adaptations. It is a good night's entertainment and it allows you to relive the years when movies were not just about special effects. The transfer is excellent for such an old movie. Sadly the audio and extras don’t live up to the high standards set for widescreen presentation. For fans of this movie I would recommend buying this release as it doesn’t seem to be available in any other region and the transfer is excellent.

Review by Richard Schuchardt


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From fatally-yours.com

Review by Sarah “Fatally Yours” Jahier

Ah, the nostalgia that a Stephen King work brings to me…his stories remind me of being in elementary school and devouring his novels. Of course, it also helped that I could identify with many of his characters, who were usually around my age in the books. I remember reading IT and then enjoying the movie on VHS (remember how it came with two VHS tapes since its 3 hour length couldn’t all fit on one?). Even though I didn’t really dig the ending of the film I loved the story and at the time was obsessed with actor Jonathan Brandis, so I pretty much wore out those VHS tapes. I enjoyed many of King’s other books and subsequent adaptations, but one (short) story I never read was Cycle of the Werewolf, which Silver Bullet is based on.

Silver Bullet is about young, wheelchair-bound Marty (Corey Haim) who lives in a small town with his family, including mom, dad, older sister and crazy Uncle Red (Gary Busey). He spends his days tormenting his older sister, hanging out with his best friend and best girl and tooling around in a tricked out wheelchair, courtesy of Uncle Red.

That is, until one day in May when the moon is full and the killings start. Townsfolk are being ripped to shreds but no one has any idea who (or what) the killer is. Every month when the moon is full the killings start again…

When the killer murders Marty’s best pal, drives his best girl and her family out of town and causes the town to cancel some firework festivities, he decides to take matters into his own hands…especially once he discovers exactly who and what the killer is. After convincing his older sister and Uncle Red, the three of them make one final stand against the monster on Halloween night.

Silver Bullet is a pretty decent Stephen King adaptation and a good werewolf film to boot! I really enjoyed how the main character was a kid and how this gave the film a sweet, nostalgic feel. The film may be rated R (there is lots of cussing and some gore), but I think it’s pretty kid-friendly and Marty is an extremely likable character you can root for all the way through. If you’re a kid you will have no problem relating to Marty and all the adventures he has (disabled or not) and if you’re an adult you’ll blissfully remember those carefree days as a kid (minus the werewolf…at least I hope so).

Corey Haim as Marty is the absolute star of the film and does a fantastic job in his role. His talent definitely shines through in this film and really makes you realize what a great actor we lost. Gary Busey is his usual scenery-chewing self in the film, but his boisterous Uncle Red gives the film a pleasant manic edge. And he’s got some of the most hilarious lines in the film (“Holy jumped-up bald-headed Jesus palomino!”).

The film does have a few instances of bloodshed (victims getting diced and sliced, some ocular horror, etc.) but gore is not the focus of the film, so don’t go in expecting too much (it’s kid-friendly horror, remember?). However, I did like the impressive werewolf transformation scenes, especially one set in the church. Sure, some of the prosthetics look a little rubbery or fake, but at least all practical effects are used…and I was expecting much less out of the film!

Silver Bullet is a fun and entertaining werewolf film that is definitely worth viewing. Haim and Busey’s performances give the film bite, but it’s also King’s nostalgic tone and the practical effects that make this underrated flick a must-see for all Stephen King and horror fans.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From thehorrorenthusiast.com

Based on Stephen King's novella Cycle of the Werewolf, Silver Bullet tells the story of Marty; Other than being confined to a wheelchair, Marty is your typical snot-nosed kid who loves antagonizing his sister (Megan Follows) and getting into mischief with his Uncle Red (Gary Busey). Needless to say, when townsfolk begin turning up in pieces, no one believes Marty when he, quite literally, cries wolf.

The first thing that comes to mind whenever I'm discussing Silver Bullet is the performance of Everett McGill as Reverend Lowe. His take on the character is simultaneously sympathetic and downright chilling, Quite frankly, he gave me nightmares as a kid. I often compare his performance to that of Julian Beck as Reverend Kane in Poltergeist II in that he can send a chill down your spine with a simple look.

Also turning in an amazing performance is Gary Busey as Uncle Red. Red seems like your standard, run of the mill, drunken uncle at first, but we soon learn that he cares deeply for Marty, even going so far as to build him a hot-rodded wheechair. Red is the source for most of the comic relief in the film and is, to everyone's surprise, actually funny, which is usually a rarity in horror films of the 80's. Along with Reverend Lowe, Uncle Red really makes the film.

Corey Haim, in my opinion, gives the best performance of his career in Silver Bullet. (Eat your heart out, Lost Boys.) He's not completely annoying here, unlike in many of his other films. He does an especially good job of making you concerned for him; In particular, one very suspenseful scene on an old covered bridge.

The feel of Silver Bullet reminds me of Cujo at times. (Which is, coincidentally, also based on a Stephen King book.) The reason for that being that, at times, Silver Bullet feels like a family film. Contrary to popular belief, especially in the horror world, that isn't a bad thing, and actually creates a stark contrast for when things get scary.

Adding to the aforementioned contrast is the score by, which also reminds me of Cujo. The score is light and chipper when it needs to be, but kicks you in the gut in all the right places.

What would a werewolf film be without the special effects? The creature doesn't look bad, but he also doesn't look as amazing as one would like. The effects designers went in a very different direction than films such as The Howling and An American Werewolf In London, taking it more into the realm of Bigfoot. The end result has the character looking like a hybrid between a bear and a wolf. It's a good thing the creature isn't seen that much, or my opinion of it would probably be much lower. The bottom line is that they got their point across, which is the most important thing.

The transformation sequences are really well done, especially the final transformation from wolf to man, which is very startling, to say the least.

There are a handful of films that bring up fond memories of my childhood; this is one of them. Silver Bullet is delightfully campy and has the same tongue in cheek charm of films such as Fright Night and House. It has a way of sucking you in and making you feel like you're part of Marty's family; This is, of course, extremely effective when Marty and company are in danger of becoming Alpo.

Directed By: Daniel Attias
Starring: Gary Busey, Corey Haim, Everett McGill, Megan Follows
Released By: Paramount

There are no Special Features.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From digital-retribution.com

Something's not right in Tarker's Mills, a sleepy town in Maine. A lot of stories start off with "something's not right" and, in this case, it's a gross understatement: murders of the grisliest kind are wracking the citizens with a palpable feeling of dread. I guess there's no point in being too diligent about spoilers for a movie called Silver Bullet – our antagonist is a werewolf, and a particularly nasty one at that. Not just one of those rabid man-dogs that go on a rampage every full moon, but an insatiable, psychopathic beast that runs wild whenever it changes, and it does so unpredictably. However, as one of the characters immortally puts it, as full moon approaches, it becomes more "wolfy".

Jane (Megan Follows) narrates the film and introduces her relationship with her paraplegic younger brother Marty (Corey Haim). Their relationship is a difficult one with Jane tending to Marty, who in turn is mentored by his uncle Red (Gary Busey), who has more-than-solid reliance on an ever-present bottle of Wild Turkey to get through the days and nights. In this setting, the townspeople of Tarker's Mills are dropping like flies and everyone else is up in arms. Against the advice of Pastor Lowe (Everett McGill, who later appeared in Licence to Kill and the TV series Twin Peaks), a group go out in an attempt to catch whoever (or whatever) is terrorising their town and they are attacked: Owen Knopfler (the great Lawrence Tierney) is killed, and none of the mob witnessed anything they can be certain about. When Red builds Marty a wheelchair-cum-motorcycle for his birthday, a vehicle he christens 'the Silver Bullet', Marty takes it out of town to light fireworks and he is confronted by the creature. Faced with a hysterical Marty, Red is completely disbelieving but Jane very reservedly buys into what he's saying, and the two begin investigating.

Stephen King wrote Silver Bullet from his 1983 novella The Cycle of the Werewolf, and it was the third in a series of adaptations of his own works, sandwiched between Cat's Eye and his sole directorial effort Maximum Overdrive (a personal favourite of mine). Silver Bullet is typical of the screenplay work King did in the eighties – essentially, it's a horror-comedy, and both elements oscillate between sharp and original, and hokey and passé. But I think by and large Silver Bullet is really well done, and its better executed than Maximum Overdrive (it's a tenuous comparison, but I make it because both are King-authored eighties movies with a similar horror:comedy ratio). For mine this is King's best screenwriting credit yet, though I say that without having seen the supposedly superb Romero/King collaboration Creepshow.

Daniel Attias does a good job for his directorial debut but it remains his only theatrical feature – Attias has had some moderate success with television, most of it coming relatively recently with his work on The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and The Wire, for which he won a DGA gong this year. Don Coscarelli was on board to direct, presumably on the strength of 1979's Phantasm, but he pulled out after creative differences with producer Dino De Laurentiis. The acting is also praiseworthy by Gary Busey and Everett McGill, but the rest of the cast aren't special.

The beast itself was designed by the legendary Carlo Rambaldi, who won Oscars for his work on King Kong, Alien and ET, but is probably most distinguished in cult circles for getting Lucio Fulci out of a two year prison sentence for animal cruelty after having to bring his craft into the courtroom and prove he designed those disembowelled dogs in Lizard in a Woman's Skin (the first time an effects artist has had to do front a judge and prove his effects were, in fact, effects – surely a terrific compliment). I think it looks pretty good, but apparently De Laurentiis was unimpressed. I can't give any sort of educated comparison between the make-up and werewolf design in this film to werewolf movies of its era given I'm highly uneducated in the subgenre (the mainstays like The Howling and An American Werewolf in London have somehow eluded me) but Rambaldi's effects worked for me and it's necessary to put them in some sort of chronological and budgetary context.

I really enjoyed Silver Bullet – King's script mostly remained sharp, and it was a lot of fun. Recommended.


NOVEMBER 16 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SILVER BULLET (1985)
From digitalbits.com

"Holy jumped-up baldheaded Jesus palomino" (actual line of dialogue from Silver Bullet)

Stephen King's Silver Bullet features what has got to be one of the worst looking werewolves in the history of cinema. Far from impressive (or even scary), this thing looks like a poorly assembled, anorexic teddy bear with press-on nails as claws. Kinda makes you wonder exactly why Paramount is so quick to tout Carlo Rambaldi's monster effects on the DVD packaging. It also has the same characters you'll find in just about any King novel - the religious zealot, the nostalgic lead character that provides voice-over as an adult looking back on the story, the local drunk, the quaint small town, an angry mob and more. The film is ripe with alarmingly bad dialogue ("Jane's walking around with all these new clothes showing off her tits, acting like nobody ever had tits before her.") and one god-awful dream sequence that features a half werewolf/half church parishioner type beasty banging out a ditty on an organ. All this has the makings of a bad, bad movie, or one hell of a good bad movie.

Story, schmory, but I'll keep it simple here. Little Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) and his big sister Jane (Megan Follows) live in the small town of Tarker's Mills in 1979 (though everything looks suspiciously 80's). One by one, the town folk are quickly being offed by someone or something whenever there's a full moon. Good ole Uncle Red (Gary Busey) comes to live with the Coslaws after his newest wife kicks him out for downing one 40-ounce too many. The kids have a somewhat sympathetic ear in uncle Red, and they assault him with their werewolf theories whenever they get the chance. With a souped-up motorized wheelchair courtesy of Uncle Redneck, Marty is hot on the trail of the unidentified flesh-nibbler. It's not long before Marty comes eye to eye with the furry creature, and he and Jane devise a plan to rid Tarker's Mills of the mutt once and for all.

Sound like a real award-winner? Well, no, far from it. But somehow, through all its inadequacies, Silver Bullet manages to be amusing. It could very well be entertaining simply because it's so awful, but the movie has all the ingredients of an old-fashioned Universal Studios-type monster movie and then some. Yeah, so the extraordinary amount of gore gets in the way of seeing it as a product of that classic genre. This film is just as bloody as any other out and out slasher released in the same decade. The identity of the mystery werewolf is hardly a mystery, and King (who adapted the script from his own novelette Cycle of the Werewolf) doesn't even try to throw in a red herring to try and throw you off the trail. Whether or not you'll enjoy it depends on your idea of a good time. If you're like me and enjoy watching people fumble through a crap script, cheesy makeup effects and a total absence of logic, then look no further. Silver Bullet is the crown prince of silly 80's horror!

What does $24.99 get your from Paramount? Decent picture and sound, but not a whole lot on the extras side of things. For starters, Silver Bullet is released for the first time ever on home video in its original 2.35:1 anamorphic format. I was pleasantly surprised to see the film looking as good as it does here. If, like most people, you've only seen the film on home video or television broadcast, you've missed quite a bit of the picture (or you've seen too much, depending on your opinion of the film). The source print is in very good condition and shows signs of only minor age-related defects. Color reproduction is accurate and retains a crisp, if only slightly dated demeanor, and black levels are suitably dark and flawless. Transfer associated imperfections are nonexistent, with no compression artifacting to dirty up the image. Now and again, you'll see some grain, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Audio offers the film only in its original English mono and a French-dubbed mono track. Nothing too exciting here, but dialogue is even and the average music track occasionally distracts from the onscreen absurdities. Like many low budget audio mixes, it has a tendency to take on a dull sound that lacks any sort of dynamic range. I guess hoping Paramount would at least bump the mix up to a surround mix was expecting too much.

Paramount played a nice little joke on the consumer. There's a little label in the Special Features box that reads "special features not rated." Sure they're not rated. There's nothing to rate. Not even the theatrical trailer or a few obligatory production notes. They're fond of the creature makeup in Silver Bullet over there at Paramount, so maybe a featurette on the men and women that gave Sparky the Bear a werewolf makeover is in order. Bottom line - I guess is that if you're going to offer a featureless disc, I think the very least you can do for the buyer is to lower the price to reflect the void of features.

The good here is that the video quality of the DVD is great. The bad is that there isn't much else to the disc. My feeling is that fans of the film - and you know who you are - will want to pick this up to see how the film should look on home video. All things considered, Silver Bullet is an over-achiever in the picture department. If you're just brushing up on your fun and mindlessly goofy horror films, watch Return of the Living Dead (making its DVD debut later this summer) and Silver Bullet. Just don't blame me if you don't like it.

Dan Kelly


MELJEAN BROOK TALKS ABOUT ‘SILVER BULLET’
From thebooksmugglers.com

For our next stop on Halloween Week, we have the fabulous paranormal romance/urban fantasy author Meljean Brook over for a guest post!

We are unabashed Meljean fangirls – so when we were inviting folks over for Halloween, she was one of the first names that came to mind. And, we were ecstatic when she agreed to put something together for our Halloween Celebration! Today, Meljean will be talking about Silver Bullet – the ’80s horror flick, starring Corey Haim and Gary Busey.

Without futher ado, please give it up for Meljean Brook!

**********

Thanks to Ana and Thea for inviting me over for Halloween week! This is one of my favorite events at The Book Smugglers, so I’m thrilled to take part.

When Thea asked me what I wanted to do, the first thing that came to mind was writing a pseudo-review of Stephen King’s Silver Bullet, a 1985 werewolf movie produced by Dino De Laurentiis (Flash Gordon, Conan the Barbarian, Army of Darkness, and a bunch of other Stephen King-based movies) and directed by Daniel Attias (usually a TV director, including Buffy, Alias, House, and a gazillion other episodes of various shows.) I’d been thinking about Silver Bullet a lot lately, and how, when I was nine years old, I used to scare the crap out of myself walking home. We lived out in the boonies, and the driveway from the main road where the school bus dropped me off to our house wound through the woods (the Oregon kind, which are tons of tall fir trees surrounded by leafy underbrush that is very, very easy to hide in (I know this, because I used to hide in it and scare the crap out of my sisters and cousins when they had to walk the road at night)).

Anyway, I used to sprint down that drive in record time, certain that either a wendigo or the werewolf from Silver Bullet would leap out and kill me. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched it that young. But the truth is, there wasn’t any way I couldn’t watch it. If a movie was scary and I could sneak it past my parents, there was no holding me back.

The Basic Premise: Over the course of a summer, a werewolf terrorizes a small town in Maine (this is Stephen King, so of course it is.) One eleven-year-old boy, Marty Coslaw (played by the Corey of the Haim variety) and his sister, Jane (played by Megan Follows, best known for Anne of Green Gables) discover who the werewolf is and, with the help of their Uncle Red (Gary Busey, in what might be the perfect role), plan to kill it.

And I loved the movie. Sure, it scared the crap out of me, but I loved it. When I was 13, I read the novella it was based on – Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King – and aside from being intrigued by the structure of that novella, I don’t remember a single thing about it … but I remembered (quite fondly) many, many elements of the movie.

Would it hold up after twenty-three years, though? When I was nine, I didn’t make jokes about Corey Haim. When I was nine, the image of Gary Busey’s teeth weren’t yet burned in my brain. The two main characters – Marty and Uncle Red – are both played by actors whose Hollywood history and pop culture status is much, much bigger than their roles here. So, watching it now, would it just be crackalicious fun with one of the Coreys and crazy Gary Busey, but not worth watching for the movie itself?

The answer? Yes, it is crackalicious fun with Corey and Gary. And I still love it. There’s a lot that just works in this movie, and it thankfully outweighs the stuff that doesn’t.

(Everything until the end involves minor spoilers.)

The characters are hands-down the best part of this movie. Wheelchair-bound Marty is at the center of the action, and his disability plays an enormous part in the both the suspense and illuminating the other characters, yet the movie avoids making him precious, avoids making statements, or falling into any cloying sentiments that could have easily bogged down both the plot and characters.

Gary Busey just might have been made to play Uncle Red. He’s a twice-divorced alcoholic who dotes on Marty and whose sister (Marty’s mother, in a small but well-played role by Robin Groves) disapproves of his lifestyle. He’s the uncle who comes over to his sister’s house, gets drunk and plays poker with Marty, tells the naughty jokes, shouts obscenities, and builds Marty’s motorized wheelchair-bike (the Silver Bullet).

Early on, there’s this great conversation between Red and Marty’s mother, Nan, after Red has come over for one of those drinking nights. She asks him not to drink in front of Marty, Red yells at her not to boss him around (ah, those big sisters.)

NAN: Red, I don’t care how you live. But he is a very impressionable little boy.

RED: You know, you think your only responsibility is getting his butt out of the chair and into the tub and out of the chair and onto the toilet. And you oughta realize there’s more to Marty than him not being able to walk.

NAN: It’s so easy for you, isn’t it?

RED: Yeah, it is!

NAN: You blow in here once a month, and you tell a few jokes, and you have a few beers, and you want to lecture me about how to raise my son. Well, I am the one responsible for how he feels when he sees you like this, and how he feels when you leave! Red, Marty has enough strikes against him as it is—

RED: (interrupting) He doesn’t have any strikes against him!

NAN: —that I am scared to death that some day he is just going to give up.

RED: He’s not going to give up!

NAN: Well he doesn’t need you showing him how to do it!

And this is the kind of dynamic that I really love in this movie. Yes, the mother is over-protective, and yes, Red is a bad role model. But both of them are understandable and believable, and yes, both of them are right. What I also find impressive is that, despite this blowup and the echoes of it in their later conversations, Red and Nan still get along later. There’s no making either one of them into the bad guy or the good guy. And Red, whose view of Marty seems to sit somewhere in the realm between Denial and Eternal Optimism, is the one who eventually puts Marty in a position where he’s in the most danger – yet even that action isn’t ever given a ‘bad’ label (because the ‘bad’ is obviously the werewolf, no matter how recklessly-indulgent-cuz-he-loves-Marty Red can be.)

Then there’s Jane, who is perfect (and more importantly, also believable) as the sensible older sister who is resentful of the burden Marty’s disability places on her and of how much slack their mother gives Marty, but who isn’t Teh Eveeel. She forgives him when he’s a twerp without martyring herself, and apologizes when she’s been overly impatient with him. She also plays the necessary straight man against Marty and Uncle Red. Her mixture of practicality and acceptance becomes essential to the plot – as close as Uncle Red and Marty are, it is Jane who is able to convince the skeptical Uncle Red that a) Marty is in danger, and b) the killer might be more than just a psycho human.

Silver Bullet isn’t a character-driven movie, though – it’s werewolf-driven. Between the scenes where we get to know Marty and family, we get to see the werewolf killing people: the drunk railroad maintenance man who he beheads with a swipe of his paw (when I was nine, that flying head was the most awesome shot ever), the pregnant single woman who is about to kill herself.

The first two murders only touch Marty peripherally, but the third victim is his almost-girlfriend’s drunk slob of a father, and the fourth victim is Marty’s best friend (and kind of a jerk) Brady.

Are you sensing a theme about the victims here?

The small town is essentially another character in this movie, and is described at the beginning (before the terror) as “A town where people cared about each other as much as they cared about themselves.” Which is, I think, a fantastic description – it first gives the impression that everything is on-the-surface perfect, but really … how many people care about themselves and take care of themselves as well as they should?

The townspeople aren’t as nicely drawn as the Coslaw family – they definitely run more to stereotypes: The hunter at the bar with the loud mouth, the gentle giant bartender who carries a baseball bat called ‘The Peacemaker,’ the in-over-his-head but competent sheriff, and the minister who tries to comfort everyone when everything starts going apeshit and the bodies start piling up.

And this is another point where I love this movie. Horror so often takes an apparently-perfect situation and peels back the layers to reveal the rot hidden underneath: the drunks, the molestations, the secret pregnancies. Silver Bullet doesn’t do that. Those things aren’t hidden in this town; everyone knows that the first victim was a drunk, and Jane sees the pregnant woman being rejected by the father of the baby. At one of the early gatherings of the townspeople in their favorite bar, we learn that everyone knows who is behind on their taxes. This isn’t a town of secrets; it’s a town where people are just people, for good or bad, and everyone recognizes that.

So when even the ‘bad’ people in the town are shown to be normal, it highlights the werewolf’s wrongness even more. A town that has a few drunks? That’s normal. Ripping them apart? It’s unnatural.

This is another point where the movie really works: It doesn’t try to explain the werewolf. There’s no mystic force behind it, no ancient curse, we don’t know how [spoiler] became a werewolf, and it’s even suggested that he doesn’t even know how he became one.

One thing that often kills horror movies is digging too deep into the reasons WHY? and then coming up with a crappy explanation. How many times have you sat in a movie (or read a book) that, although it was going along great, suddenly became really, really stupid as soon as you found out why it was all happening?

Silver Bullet avoids that by … well, avoiding it. I imagine that some viewers will be disappointed that there’s not more explanation behind the werewolf, but it really worked for me.

Was the werewolf scary, though? … hmm, maybe not so much. Although some of the suspenseful parts where the werewolf is stalking someone out of sight were well done, Silver Bullet suffers from the same problems that many similar movies do: Once you show the monster, he’s not quite as scary. (This is also the scene that I’m talking about when I say that Uncle Red, though acting out of love, doesn’t exactly help Marty and is reckless – he gives Marty some fireworks to go shoot at night, even though there’s a mass murderer on the loose that has already killed his best friend. In romance, we call that TSTL, and I’m not sure who is dumber here: Marty or his uncle.)

Then there are a couple of missteps, and the biggest one comes right in the middle of the movie. A little humor is all well and good in horror (and I think necessary), but there is a scene after Brady has been killed when the townspeople form a mob to go after the killer. There’s some great tension between the people, the sheriff, and the boy’s father. There’s a lovely setting in the woods where the fog is thick and creeping over the ground, and visibility is low, and the townspeople realize they are being hunted beneath the fog.

And it all becomes a joke. I’ll admit I laughed out loud when the werewolf started beating the people with The Peacemaker (the bartender’s bat) because it was campy and funny … but it also throws off the tone of the movie, and it doesn’t make sense. The whole point of the werewolf is that he’s ripping people apart, he’s unnatural, he’s terrifying … he shouldn’t be funny. And yet that scene skews him in that direction. And even though it’s only for a short time, it makes everything feel off, and something that should have been horrifying (Brady’s death, and the townspeople’s mob-like reaction) is played for a laugh.

But despite that misstep, and a few other “Oh, come on!” moments, this is a fun, solid little film, perfect for Halloween (or any other time when you have friends over, and shouting OMG, IT’S ONE OF THE COREYS! seems like it might be just as entertaining as the movie itself).


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