Silver Bullet is 1985 horror film starring Corey Haim. It tells the story of a werewolf that terrorizes a small town called Tarker’s Mills, Maine. The producers adapted this film from a Stephen King short-story called “Cycle of the Werewolf”. Likewise, Silver Bullet integrates Stephen King’s trademark coming age narrative.
Meet the Colslaws, and Werewolves
Marty Colslaw, played by Corey Haim, is paralyzed and gets around in a motorized wheel chain. His sister is Jane Colslaw (Megan Follows) narrates the movie. Her relationship with Marty in contentious, but they are all each other have in this small town. The movie begins with a man being slaughtered at night while on the train tracks.
The townspeople are chattering about murder, but those that know the victim think that it is as likely that he was hit by a train while drunk. The next victim is a woman that is pregnant out of wedlock. The man responsible will not assume his responsibility. While intentionally overdosing on sleeping pills, she is torn to shreds in her own bedroom. The townspeople start to bustle.
Good Old Uncle Red
Marty has a crazy uncle Red. Marty loves his uncle, but his mother doesn’t approve of Red’s drinking. The wolf claims its 3rd victim when it kills a drunk and abusive father in an old greenhouse. The townspeople are ready for vigilante justice for the killer, and the police department struggles to put a lid on it.
When Marty’s best friend Brady is killed, there is no stopping the mob. The townspeople go for a hunt. Not knowing the nature of what they are hunting for, they are three of them are picked off in the woods. The funeral is services are performed by Reverend Lowe (Lawrence Tierney).
Lockdown in Harker’s Mill
The town is put on lock-down. Accordingly, the Mayor cancels The Fourth of July is cancelled, so Marty’s mother decides to have a backyard dinner. Not one to let the 4th go down without a fight, Uncle Red gives Marty a new souped up new wheel chair and a bag of fireworks.
Curfew or not, Marty is unable to resist. He sneaks out of the house to light the fireworks. Alone on a bridge, the werewolf attacks. Marty defends himself with a rocket that lands squarely in the monster’s eye socket. Narrowly, Marty makes his escape.
Marty confides in his sister that he saw the wolf. Her instinct is to not believe him but agrees to scour the town for someone with an eye injury. She discovers the Reverend Lowe with a freshly injured eye. Lowe knows that she and Marty know his true self. As a result, Reverend Lowe tries to mow Marty down with his car. Conversely, this gives Marty the evidence to convince Uncle Red. Uncle Red commissions the creation of silver bullet made from Jane’s crucifix. The Colslaws prepare for the final confrontation.
Silver Bullet – Cultural Significance
As far as horror movie goes, this occupies a specific period in horror film making. 1985 marked the rise of the Coreys. Corey Feldman and Corey Haim starred in everything, including a few classic 80’s horror movies. Haim is a likable pre-teen hero. Given a strong story from Stephen King and solid supporting actors, Silver Bullet manages just enough to entertain. Gary Busey convincingly nails his portrayal of a crazy drunken uncle. In fact, I am not sure he needs to act at all for his role as a drunk uncle.
Herb Kincade (Kent Broadhurst), father of a slain Brady, lays down an emotional soliloquy to rally the vigilantes before heading to the woods. Broadhurst convincingly portrays a broken man as he speaks. Lawrence Tierney enacts a brooding and complicated villain. Not happy with his circumstances, he rationalize his murders as spiritual salvation for tortured souls.
Beware of the Werepossum
The special effects made for a mixed bag. The effect artists managed some decent kill effects as well as some workable wolf transformations. In a fantastic scene, Reverend Lowe transforms in front of sheriff Joe Haller (Terry O’Quinn) before murdering him. The transformation effects worked well with Tierney’s performance. The transformation worked, but the final product looked weak. The werewolf resembles an awkward 6 foot tall rabid possum.
Silver Bullet – Final Thoughts
In the end, the film didn’t need to rely on effects because it had other things working for it. Silver Bullet is not a great horror film. It’s not even a great werewolf movie. Silver Bullet brings enough 80’s schlock and good story telling to be a pretty darn good time. And, it has Corey Haim for the win.
Silver Bullet (1985) - The Unforgettable 80's - Malevolent Dark
Director: Dan Attias
Date Created: 1985-01-01 00:00