Silver Bullet – USA, 1985

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Silver Bullet is a 1985 American supernatural horror film based on the Stephen King novella Cycle of the Werewolf. King adapted the screenplay himself. The film was directed by Dan Attias and produced by Dino De Laurentiis (King Kong). Artist Berni Wrightson illustrated an early edition of the novella.

The movie stars Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Megan Follows, Corey Haim (Watchers), Terry O’Quinn (The Stepfather), Lawrence Tierney (Bloodrage), Bill Smitrovich, Kent Broadhurst, David Hart, and James Gammon.

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In January 2018, Australian company Umbrella Entertainment released Silver Bullet for the first time on Blu-ray.

  • Audio Commentary with Director Daniel Attias
  • The Wolf Within – An Interview with Actor Everett McGill
  • Full Moon Fever – Interviews with Special Effects Artists Michael McCracken, Jr. and Matthew Mungle
  • Dino’s Angel Takes on Lycanthropy: Martha De Laurentis Remembers Silver Bullet (25 minutes)
  • Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer Jay Chattaway
  • Theatrical trailer (HD)
  • TV Spot
  • Radio Spot
  • Still Gallery

Smalltown, USA. All is peaceful, all is calm, or at least it is until a series of gruesome murders take place. The townspeople gather together to suggest various solutions and decide to send out a search party to track down the murderer. But when the search party is massacred, it seems that the only hope for the town might be a young handicapped boy and his sister, both of whom are convinced that the killings are the work of a werewolf…

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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 (Phantasm and sequels) 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.

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As a result Everett McGill, who played Reverend Lester Lowe in human form, wound up acting out most of the scenes in the werewolf suit and was credited with a dual role.

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Reviews:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 13.45.08“Silver Bullet is a goofy, unintentionally bad movie that transcends itself to become surprisingly entertaining. Where else can you see a werewolf monster that looks more like Fozzy Bear than a terrifying mutation of nature? The script is peppered with oddball dialogue and strange characters which could only come from the master of suspense (and sometimes crappy horror movies), Mr. King.” Patrick Naugle, DVD Verdict

“Some good performances and strong scope photography make Silver Bullet an enjoyable if largely disposable offering, while some splashy dollops of gore make a valiant attempt to recapture the gruesome tableaux of Berni Wrightson’s illustrations for the original text version. As usual, the big problem lies in the fact that King’s dialogue simply doesn’t translate well to the screen– at all.” nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

“As in so many film adaptations of King’s stories, the characters are drawn crudely and speak crassly, and thus come off as rather silly at points, but the movie still gets the job done, proving to yet another example of the “don’t worry/be afraid” dynamic so prevalent in the decade.” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Movies of the 1980s

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Berni Wrightson art from the novella

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