Silver Bullet (1985)

Also known as Stephen King’s Silver Bullet, this movie is based on his novella Cycle of the Werewolf. It’s significantly different from the story though, with characters and their names changed, dates changed, murders happening differently, characters left out entirely, so on and so forth. And Silver Bullet, with its focus on a pair of kids and their uncle, feels more like it fits with the kid horror movies of the 1980s as opposed to other ’80s werewolf films like An American Werewolf in London or The Howling.

Yes, it’s more of an introduction to the topic, though one to watch after seeing The Monster Squad. The special effects here range from decent to utterly laughable, and the identity of the werewolf becomes blatantly obvious well before the actual reveal, but this movie has one highlight that is impossible for me not to love: GARY FUCKING BUSEY! He’s an alcoholic, lovable grease monkey of an uncle who was allowed to ad lib his scenes, and the effect is pure gold! Corey Haim and Megan Follows both play the sibling child leads of the movie, with Haim crippled but able to get around in some souped up wheelchairs that Busey built. That’s right, Busey’s building superchairs for children and fighting werewolves!

The plot is simple: Megan’s character, Jane Coslow, narrates about the coming of a werewolf to small town Tarker’s Mill, and how she and her brother, Marty, defeat it with the help of their uncle, Uncle Red, while Sheriff Joe Haller (Terry O’Quinn) struggles to investigate the werewolf’s murders.  The film rushes its ending and has some bizarre twists with the werewolf, such as his apparent ability to control himself and recollect exactly what happens while in werewolf form…so why is he murdering people again? The film kind of tries to explain but doesn’t really succeed in my opinion. Overall though it’s not a bad introduction to werewolf films for kids if you can’t get access to some Lon Chaney Jr. films.

Oh, and it is definitely a Stephen King work:

Characters declaring their favorite beer: Check
A child getting horrible murdered: Check
Set in Maine: Check

Yeah, that’s King all right.

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