AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Review of Stephen King’s Silver Bullet

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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.

Silver Bullet poster

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.

Silver Bullet VHS

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.

Check out the trailer:

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:

Silver Bullet bike

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.

Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.


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