Silver Bullet (1985)

Genre: Horror

Cast: Gary Busey, Corey Haim, Terry O’Quinn

Synopsis: In a quaint all-American town, gruesome murders start happening every month when the moon is full. Nobody seems to suspect that the culprit could be a werewolf….go figure.

Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to be Stephen King. On the one hand, you’re one of the most influential writers of the century; on the other hand, you have a mind that thinks up some really sick and twisted shit. Cycle of the Werewolf stands out among Stephen King’s body of work not only because it contains illustrations but also because it utilizes a more traditional horror character i.e. a werewolf. This may seem like a strange route for a work of fiction by Stephen King. After all this is a man who is completely at ease writing about spider/clown demons (It), translucent tentacle vaginas (Tommyknockers),and psychos with penis bones (Gerald’s Game). However, there’s something quite nostalgic about a simple werewolf movie and Silver Bullet (the film adaptation of Cycle of the Werewolf) definitely fits the bill, although it does sometimes lack the heart-racing terror component that features so heavily in King’s novels.

What the film does possess is an inordinate amount of melodrama. At times this melodrama really distracts you from the sense of unease and fear that the film is trying to create, so much so in fact that at certain points the movie didn’t play out like an interpretation of a Stephen King novel but rather a South Park interpretation of a Stephen King novel. I found myself quoting the episode where Butters poses as Marjorine at really inappropriate times….”Oh Butters! You smell like bacon.” The melodrama is further exacerbated by the somewhat unusual casting of Gary Busey as the alcoholic uncle. Yes, Gary Busey. His facial expressions are just so…unique. It really adds a certain something to the film. I don’t know what that something is but I know it’s there. Ultimately, I didn’t find the film really scary but my brother who was watching it with me was freaking out quite a lot. I’m not sure if that had to do with the film or the fact that this was his first time smoking after an extended break so maybe he was more susceptible to the horror aspects of the movie.

Despite my criticisms, this movie does have some redeeming qualities. Firstly, I thought the movie would be would be very predictable but I have to say that I incorrectly guessed who the werewolf was and this made for quite a pleasant surprise. Secondly, the children are actually quite likeable and you do end up rooting for them. Finally, there are a couple of confrontation scenes between Corey Haim, his sister, and the human form of the werewolf that are very tense and will have you at the edge of your seat.

All in all, this is a pretty good choice for a Halloween movie. It won’t scare the crap out of you but if you prefer lighter versions of horror at Halloween, or you’re not a huge fan of horror in general, then this is a safe bet. I personally prefer horror movies to have more of an edge to them so I was left a little unsatisfied and underwhelmed. If you have your heart set on a Stephen King movie for Halloween though, then I’d advise that you go for The Shining, Misery, or It for a more complete and robust horror experience.

High-lights:

  • Likeable characters, good twist, and not too complicated. It’s a film that everybody can enjoy.
  • Occasional thrills will keep the adrenaline up and, if you’re baked off your tits, absolutely terrify you.

Downers:

  • I found the film to border on hammy at times, especially when Gary Busey was on screen.
  • At times I got frustrated with the characters because of their disbelief that the culprit was a werewolf. Also, why did nobody leave town!? If a serial killer was picking off people in such a tiny town I wouldn’t hang around to see if I was next.

Summary:

Silver Bullet is not a bad choice by any means but it’s not the greatest. This is a movie that you might want to watch with friends and it’ll be great as background noise at a Halloween party. You don’t need to be fully engaged mentally in order to enjoy it so it will probably work well with strains that give you a body high. However, if it’s real scares you’re looking for then this movie won’t deliver.

6/10

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Filed under Horror, Meh

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