Silver Bullet (film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Dan Attias|
Dino De Laurentiis|
Martha De Laurentiis
|Written by||Stephen King (novel and screenplay)|
|Based on||Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King|
|Narrated by||Tovah Feldshuh|
|Music by||Jay Chattaway|
|Edited by||Daniel Loewenthal|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
Silver Bullet is a 1985 American horror film based on the Stephen King novella Cycle of the Werewolf. It stars Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Megan Follows, Terry O'Quinn, Lawrence Tierney, Bill Smitrovich, Kent Broadhurst, David Hart, and James Gammon. The film is directed by Dan Attias and produced by Dino De Laurentiis.
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Jane Coslaw (Follows) serves as the narrator of the film as well as the older sister of the main protagonist of the movie, her younger, paraplegic brother Marty (Haim) and their parents Nan and Bob. Their rocky relationship changes after a series of murders in their small rural town of Tarker's Mills, Maine starting in the spring of 1976.
First, railroad worker Arnie Westrum (Gammon) is decapitated by a werewolf. The county coroner believes that Arnie passed out on the tracks and was run over by a train. Soon after, local woman Stella Randolph (Wendy Walker) prepares to commit suicide because she is unmarried and pregnant. Before she can act, she is brutally murdered in her own bedroom. This murder goes unsolved, and the townsfolk become worried. The next victim, a redneck named Milt Sturmfuller (James A. Baffico), whose daughter is Marty's girlfriend, is killed in his shed. His family leaves town. Next to die is teenager Brady Kincaid (Joe Wright), Marty's troublemaking best friend, who stayed out too late one night while flying a kite.
After Brady's death, citizens led by local gun shop owner Andy Fairton (Smitrovich) form a vigilante justice group. Although local Sheriff Joe Haller (O'Quinn) and his lone deputy (Hart) attempt to stop the citizens, the officers relent after being berated by Brady's father (Broadhurst). Reverend Lester Lowe (McGill) attempts to dissuade the townsfolk from causing further bloodshed, but he is ignored. As the vigilantes hunt for the killer in the nearby woods, three are attacked and killed, including bartender Owen Knopfler (Tierney). The survivors later deny seeing anything unusual. Afterwards, Reverend Lowe dreams that he is presiding over a mass funeral when his congregation—including the bodies in the caskets—begins to transform into werewolves before his eyes and attack him. He awakens screaming and asks God to "let it end."
As a result of the mounting unsolved murders, curfews are put in place, and the annual fair and fireworks show is cancelled. The Coslaws decide to have their own backyard party and invite Nan's alcoholic black sheep brother, Uncle Red (Busey). Red gives the gift of a custom-built wheelchair/motorcycle to Marty, which he nicknames the "Silver Bullet," as well as a pile of fireworks so he can have his own celebration. Marty uses the Silver Bullet to go out in the middle of the night to a small bridge deep in the woods where he lights the fireworks. The fireworks get the Werewolf's attention, and it confronts him, but he escapes after launching a rocket into the creature's left eye.
Marty enlists Jane's help to look for someone with a newly injured or missing left eye. The search is conducted under the cover of the church's bottle drive, so as not to arouse suspicion. When Jane turns her bottles in, she discovers that Reverend Lowe is missing his left eye- as well as noticing Knopfler's broken baseball bat, called "The Peacemaker," hidden among the bottles. Realizing that no adult would believe his fantastic story, Marty begins sending anonymous notes to Reverend Lowe telling him that he knows who he is, what he is, and that he should commit suicide in order to stop the killings. Afterwards, Lowe tries to run Marty off the road with his car. When Marty is trapped under a closed covered bridge, Lowe, whose sanity has been fractured by his condition, tries to rationalize the murders he has committed as doing God's work (though he cannot explain Brady's murder). Lowe then apologizes and moves in for the kill until Marty calls for help from a local farmer.
The siblings manage to convince Red that Lowe is connected to the murders and attempted to kill Marty. Red persuades Sheriff Haller to investigate. That night, Haller, still skeptical but desperate to find the killer, goes to Lowe's house and finds Lowe has locked himself in his garage to restrain himself from further killings. Before Haller can arrest him, Lowe transforms and bludgeons Haller to death with the Peacemaker.
Knowing the werewolf is coming for them next, Marty and Jane convince Red to take Jane's silver cross and Marty's silver medallion to a local gunsmith, who melts them down into a silver bullet. On Halloween, Red announces he has won a vacation to New York, but since he is separated from his wife, he gives the tickets to Nan and Bob. Questioned by Marty and Jane, Red reveals that he bought the tickets as a ruse to get their parents to safety. With the now full moon in the sky, they head inside to wait for the werewolf. As the night wears on, Red starts to think that he is being fooled by the children and unloads the pistol. At that moment, the werewolf cuts the power to the house and smashes its way inside, attacking Red. The bullet is nearly lost in the melee, but Marty is able to retrieve it and shoots the werewolf in the right eye. The corpse turns back into Reverend Lowe and has one last spasm before dying.
As the trio recover, Marty and Jane say they love each other and embrace, and Jane narrates that although she hadn't always been able to say it, she was able to say it from then on.
- Corey Haim as Marty Coslaw
- Megan Follows as Jane Coslaw
- Gary Busey as Uncle Red
- Everett McGill as Reverend Lester Lowe
- Terry O'Quinn as Sheriff Joe Haller
- Robin Groves as Nan Coslaw, Marty's mother
- Leon Russom as Bob Coslaw, Marty's father
- Bill Smitrovich as Andy Fairton
- Lawrence Tierney as Owen Knopfler
- Kent Broadhurst as Herb Kincaid, Brady's father
- James Gammon as Arnie Westrum
- Wendy Walker as Stella Randolph
- James A. Baffico as Milt Sturmfuller
- Heather Simmons as Tammy Sturmfuller
- Joe Wright as Brady Kincaid, Marty's best friend.
- David Hart as Pete Maxwell, deputy Sheriff
- Herb Harton as Elmer Zinneman
- Michael Lague as Stella's Boyfriend
- William Newman as Virgil Cuts
- Tovah Feldshuh as Older Jane (voice)
Filming began in October, 1984 and took about two-and-a-half months to complete, finishing shortly before Christmas. In the novella the werewolf was said to snarl in nearly human words and the werewolf was supposed to speak in the original screenplay, although this was eliminated after a rewrite. Gary Busey felt a certain kinship with the Uncle Red character and was allowed to ad lib all of his lines in certain takes of each scene in which he appeared. Although he read the lines as scripted in most of the takes, Stephen King and Daniel Attias liked the ad lib scenes better and decided to include most of Busey's ad lib scenes in the final cut of the film.
King asked that the werewolf be ambiguous, plain, and hard to see, in contrast to the hulking monsters seen in other werewolf films and books in the early-to-mid-1980s, with the end result being a creature which looked more like a black bear than anything else and did not really have any identifying characteristics. After seeing Carlo Rambaldi's design, per King's request, producer Dino de Laurentiis was very unhappy and demanded a change, which both King and Rambaldi refused. Eventually pre-production fell behind schedule and director Don Coscarelli opted to start filming the non-werewolf scenes without knowing what would happen with the werewolf suit. After completing the non-werewolf scenes and not having any clear picture about what would happen with the film Coscarelli resigned as director and was replaced with Attias. When pressured to either cancel the film or accept the design de Laurentiis relented and allowed filming to continue with Rambaldi's werewolf suit. A modern dance actor was hired to perform the stunts inside the suit but de Laurentiis was also unhappy with his performance and demanded a change. As a result, Everett McGill, who played Revered Lester Lowe in human form, wound up acting out most of the scenes in the werewolf suit and was credited with a dual role.
Released on Blu-ray in Germany on 14 September 2017.
Released on Blu Ray in Australia on 2 January 2018 from Umbrella Entertainment.
Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four. Ebert admitted that he thought that the film was a parody of the novella and of King's work in general but said that he enjoyed the film. Felix Vasquez Jr. of Film Threat called Silver Bullet "a great horror film." Cultsploitation.com, in a dialogue about the film, discussed the thematic elements, saying "the outstanding element is Marty's disability, which gives the film its name and also has a pretty forward-thinking theme: don't let a disability define you."
- "Silver Bullet". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- "Silver Bullet (DVD)". DVDEmpire.com. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- Ebert, Roger (October 15, 1985). ""Silver Bullet" Movie Review & Film Summary (1985)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- "CULT DOUBLE-SHOT: Silver Bullet (Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray) - Cultsploitation". Cultsploitation. 2018-02-14. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
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