Say what you will about eighties movies but at least they were entertaining. Yes, most of them are cheesy and just plain odd by today’s standards. And exactly that is the thing that gives them that special charm. Silver Bullet is one of the classic eighties movies, a werewolf story set in a sleepy town written by the master of horror himself, Stephen King. After an opening scene in which we witness a beheading and a man’s lifeless body laying by the train tracks, we’re off to a town party. It’s these sudden shifts in an atmosphere that make this movie so interesting, especially from this time perspective.
If you’re wondering just how much eighties is Silver Bullet, it’s Gary Busey on cocaine eighties. It’s starring Corey Haim eighties and finally, it’s graphic violence and awesome practical effects eighties. A true time capsule that will bring back the shoulder pads and denim, lots of denim. If you read any of King’s novels or seen any of his adaptations, most of the elements here will feel familiar. The humor surprisingly works after all these years and the pacing is excellent. On top of all of this, we’ve got the mystery of who just might be the werewolf. And there are a lot of suspects in this sleepy little town.
This brings us to the creature itself as this is one of the most important elements of any werewolf movie. I would say that the transformation sequence was excellent although the werewolf looked more like a dog than a wolf. That church sequence was on fire though featuring a nightmarish vision of what could’ve been a whole other movie. I guess, An American Werewolf in London still remains the reigning champion of eighties werewolf movies. The kills were quite brutal, especially the ones toward the end. One baseball scene was really fucked up, a testament to the brilliant work of the make-up team and director, Daniel Attias.
Welcome to Tarker’s Mills, Maine, a place where nothing happens until it does. A string of gruesome murders has rocked this little community and left the police puzzled. Townspeople are left to their own devices and among them are Marty and Jane Coslaw, a brother and sister who argue a lot. They will have to put their differences aside and work together when the beast starts closing in on them.
How cool it is to have a movie in which the lead is a young boy in a wheelchair? And not just any wheelchair but this pimped-out and motorized wheelchair called Silver Bullet. Looking more like a cool Harley, this wheelchair seems like it’s too dangerous for a small kid. But hey, these were the eighties, so why not. Also, I guess Stephen King was at the forefront of some issues and one of them was inclusivity. Just one year later, in 1986, we will get the opportunity to check out another horror movie with a similar set-up, Night of the Creeps.
That same year, Gary Busey fell off his Harley and suffered a traumatic brain injury that changed him forever. Gary also championed the law which made wearing helmets obligatory. Moving on, what makes Silver Bullet different from other werewolf movies is the fact it’s told from a kid’s perspective, not shying away from all the adult stuff. At times, it even feels like a parody, quickly getting back on track with either music or narration. It also does an excellent job of developing characters and family dynamics. They feel believable and authentic, helping with the immersion.
Director: Daniel Attias
Writer: Stephen King
Cast: Corey Haim, Megan Follows, Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Terry O’Quinn, Robin Groves
Fun Facts: It took the production three months to create the werewolf costume using real bear hair.