Silver Bullet (1985)

It's the big, bad wolf!
It’s the big, bad wolf!

Starring Corey (THE LOST BOYS) Haim, Gary (PREDATOR 2) Busey, Everett (QUEST FOR FIRE) McGill, Megan Follows and Terry (THE STEPFATHER) O’Quinn, this 80s-tastic film was directed by Dan Attias. This remains the only feature film directed by Attias, who continues to work for primetime television.

US poster
US poster

Set in the rural town of Tarker’s Mills (in Maine, of course), SILVER BULLET’s script was written by Stephen King, and is an adaptation of his novella Cycle of the Werewolf.

Gary Busey!
Gary Busey!

This movie remains an enjoyable watch: Gary Busey is likeable as Uncle Red and Everett McGill is good as Reverend Lowe, who turns into a werewolf that is partial to beating some victims to death with baseball bats!

A werewolf with a baseball bat! Eek!
A werewolf with a baseball bat! Eek!

SILVER BULLET is a very ‘1980s’ film, and I mean that in a good way, boasting some memorable moments, including the sequence where the werewolf picks off people from beneath billowing fog.

Australian VHS sleeve
Australian VHS sleeve

Let’s talk now about the hirsute antagonist…
Carlo Rambaldi’s cheesy werewolf transformation effects, let’s face it, aren’t in the same league as Baker or Bottin, but – and I don’t really know why – I quite like the ‘Big Bad Wolf’/bear look of the critter. Go figure.

Grrrrr...
Grrrrr…
Yeah, okay: this ain't the most realistic werewolf to ever stalk the silver screen
Yeah, okay: this ain’t the most realistic werewolf to ever stalk the silver screen

At one point the disabled kid hero (zipping around in a souped-up wheelchair/motorbike) shoots the werewolf in the eye with a firework. It’s a cool moment. But I have always wondered whether this would really permanently harm a wolfman, because presumably he can only really be hurt with a silver bullet? Never mind, I guess the reason this wounding remains permanent in the story is because it serves as an important plot point, allowing our young hero to note that Reverend Lowe has lost an eye just like the werewolf, thus tipping the kid off regarding the beast’s alter ego…

Rocket in the eye!
Rocket in the eye!
Everett McGill as the Reverend
Everett McGill as the Reverend

Interestingly, producer Dino De Laurentiis originally offered the project to Don Coscarelli to direct. Coscarelli wrote a version of the script, but ended up quitting, for various reasons, leaving me to wonder what this werewolf film would’ve been like if it had been made by the guy responsible for PHANTASM, THE BEASTMASTER and BUBBA HO-TEP? I think it would’ve been pretty damn good – but we’ll never know. Shame.

Okay, here are some posters for the movie…

UK quad poster
UK quad poster
German poster
German poster
Spanish poster
Spanish poster
Italian poster

Finally, here’s a privately commissioned screen print by graphic designer and illustrator Matt Ryan…

 Screen print by Matt Ryan
Screen print by Matt Ryan

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