Silver Bullet (1985)
Director: Daniel Attias
Gary Busey/Uncle Red
Everett McGill/Reverend Lowe
A bloodthirsty werewolf (dude in a suit) is shredding folks to â€śKibble nâ€™ Bitsâ€ť in a small Maine town and it's up to young wheelchair bound Marty (Haim), his cute sister Jane (Follows) and drunker-than-Arrow uncle Red (Busey) to take the freaking dog out.
Based on Stephen Kingâ€™s novella â€śCycle of the Werewolfâ€ť, Silver Bullet is a werewolf movie that comes through but not where you thought it might. Iâ€™d compare this flick to a dame who verbally prides herself on her headjob techniques but when you slip your pants down, she rims your ass instead. SURPRISE!
What kept me watching this sucka wasnâ€™t the wolf shenanigans or the plasma spills but the well-written relationships. Who knew? I was surprisingly taken in by the drama and the characters. The brother/sister dynamic between Marty (Haim) and Jane (Follows) rang true and engaged me on a light emotional level. Sure, the dialogue was corny at times (who calls somebody a â€śboogerâ€ť) but it worked for the roles. It also helped that both actors were very credible and on the money with their parts. The same can be said about uncle Redâ€™s boozing, fun-loving show (played by the always entertaining Gary Busey). Not only does Busey spit out all the koolest comeback lines, but he also puts on a performance that I found extremely endearing. I also dug the fact that his role was always up for grabs. I never knew if the hombre was going to check out or not and that upped the tension I felt in regards to the blonde bastard.
Story-wise, the flick has a gripping premise, an easy flow and offered me a couple of neato moments. I loved the chilling bridge encounter between Marty and Reverend Lowe (McGill). That part had me chewing my poodle to the bone (poor doggie). I also appreciated the exciting car chase that went down, some of the less cheesy wolf kills (like that chick who misses her suicideâ€¦what a mess!) and the exciting conclusion. A few words on the finale: GOOD FREAKIN' SHITE BATMAN! Although a tad too short for my liking, the final confrontation grabbed my throat and squeezed hard. You just canâ€™t go wrong with slow motion up the wazoo and Gary Busey relentlessly getting tossed into all kinds of walls by a wolf suit. Fun times!
Unfortunately, this bullet did lose some of its zest when it came to its horror elements. In lazy genre fashion, most of the werewolf kills are telegraphed and some generic players (what wuz up with that wrestling loving nutâ€¦what a jerk!) are solely introduced to get ripped into pieces. The director also doesnâ€™t always interpret the potentially gnarly fear scenarios to full satisfaction. For example, the fog sequence with the werewolf carnage was clumsily executed and didnâ€™t put out what it should have...horror-wise. Come on! You have a bunch of dudes with guns, a fog and a sicko wolf man! HAVE A BLAST RIGHT? WRONG! What was up with that whole werewolf and bat gag? Was that intentionally funny? If so, what a BAD move! If NOTâ€¦wellâ€¦what a bad move! That scene needed HORROR...not chuckles.
Then, we have the special effects that are unimpressive, to say the least. Obvious severed plastic heads aside, Oscar winner Caro Rambaldi (who did E.T) should also be ashamed of himself for that stinky â€śdude in a cheap wolf suitâ€ť get-up! Shit, the wolf costume in â€śBig Wolf on Campusâ€ť looked better than this! And that suit sucked ass! Taking into account that this movie was made in 1985 and that the great "American Werewolf in London" was shot in 1981, thereâ€™s no valid excuse for the stinky off-the-wall effects. Did all the money go into nose candy for Mr. Busey instead of the prosthetics? COME ON, MAN! He can buy his own shit! Weâ€™re making a movie here!
Overall though, I was entertained throughout. Haim kept me in the game (I never thought Iâ€™d say that), I dug the light mystery angle, the basic storyline, Buseyâ€™s antics, some of the Lupine carnage and the even pace. Itâ€™s funny because the flick is perceived by some as a cheesy gem but I couldnâ€™t penetrate into it from that door (I knowâ€¦I know). It's potent dramatic content made it impossible for me to laugh at. Instead, I couldnâ€™t help but wonder how much stronger the picture wouldâ€™ve been if the horror ingredients had lived up to the characterization and the somber storyline. Howl at this moonâ€¦ZIPPPP!
We get a couple of beheadings, an impaling, some uneven werewolf transformations, some red wolf attacks, a rocket in the eye and a bullet in the eye.
Corey Haim (Marty) is actually really good here! Heâ€™s young and the â€śarroganceâ€ť he would later emanate isnâ€™t there yet. Nice job, baby Haim! Megan Follows (Jane) is solid as Martyâ€™s sister. She felt very genuine and her chemistry with Haim also worked. Gary Busey (Uncle Red) steals the show as the hard drinking but well meaning uncle. He shines here and reminded me of what a good actor he is. Everett McGill (Reverend Lowe) looks the part but his occasional scene-chewing turned me offâ€¦easy tigerâ€¦easy! Whatever Terry O'Quinn (Sheriff Joe) does, heâ€™ll always look like "The Stepfather" to me. Here, he does what he has to do, but I kept expecting him to whip out a kitchen knife and beg for â€śorder around hereâ€ť.
T & A
Everett McGill shirtless and a wolf suit, thatâ€™s all she wrote. Not enough chicks in this flick.
The film look ok and does sport some occasional dark atmosphere, but thereâ€™s nothing really that stands out visually. The only time that I felt as though the director was reaching further was during the tense encounter on the bridge and the final confrontation where all kinds of slick slow-motion kicked in. Overall, itâ€™s adequate but it couldâ€™ve been so much better.
The Casio-like score has a tendency to be overbearing (especially during the tender moments) and cheesy (the motor â€śwheelchairâ€ť bike joyride) but itâ€™s pretty effective during the werewolf attacks.
Distributor: Paramount Home Video
IMAGE: The 2.35:1 (16x9 enhanced) widescreen image is pretty sharp with only a pinch of grain on occasion. Iâ€™ve personally never seen the flick look this good.
SOUND: The mono tracks (English and French) donâ€™t serve the film very well, with some of the dialogue hard to comprehend and the score sounding even cheaper than it is.
EXTRAS: Where are my Corey Haim, Gary Busey and Megan Follows interviews? Itâ€™s not like theyâ€™d be hard to convince. Iâ€™m sure they wouldâ€™ve done it for free! This DVD is as bare bones as it gets. They couldâ€™ve at least slapped on the trailer!!! Can you spell half-ass job????
I had an "aight" time with this Haim/Wolf opus, but I think itâ€™s a shame that a script with solid characters, a kool premise and dark happenings had to be tarnished by lousy effects and some shoddy directing choices. This flick couldâ€™ve been top notch instead of passable. Having said that, this little bow-wow is still worth a rental for that lonely night where the jerk pump has run out of batteries. You got Corey Haim at his least annoying, Gary Busey at his most enthusiastic, a rinky-dink wolf suit causing mayhem and a slick motorcycle-like wheelchair named Silver Bullet. If thatâ€™s not a Friday night popcorn movie...I donâ€™t know what is!
Stephen King wrote the screenplay to this adaptation.
Today, Megan Follows is all growns up. She has two children, a boy and a girl.
Ironically, Corey Haim appeared in an episode of "Big Wolf on Campus". Even more ironically...so did I! ;)
The original concept for â€śCycle of the Werewolfâ€ť was for it to be an illustrated calendar. King decided to expand the tale to a novella instead. Bernie Wrightson, the artist who did "Creepshow" contributed a series of illustrations to the novella.