Silver Bullet (1985)

silver bullet poster 1985 movie stephen king
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 5/10

Busey, Haim, and McGill aren’t bad and fun movie

Under-developed story, not a good werewolf

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Silver Bullet

Studio:  Dino De Laurentiis Company/Famous Films Productions/International Film Corporation (II)

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  October 11, 1985

MPAA Rating:  R

silver bullet wheelchair gary busey corey haim

I don’t even have a license to drive…

It is 1976 in Tarker’s Mills.  While Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) tries to deal with being confined to a wheelchair the Silver Bullet, his sister Jane (Megan Follows) tries to deal with him.  Marty’s best friend is his uncle Red (Gary Busey), but Red has problems of his own; he drinks too much and is going through a messy divorce.  Soon, the problems of Marty and his family are going to seem trivial with the arrival of a killer in the form of a werewolf.  When Marty realizes who the killer is, he makes himself a target and he’s going to need more than the Silver Bullet to survive.

Directed by Daniel Attias, Silver Bullet is a werewolf horror movie.  The film is an adaptation of Stephen King’s illustrated novella Cycle of the Werewolf from 1983.  It was received mixed to negative reviews and many felt that it was too episodic, but has since grown a cult following.

silver bullet reverend lowe everett mcgill

I need to make some silent drape runner (aka Twin Peaks reference)

Werewolves were my monster of choice when I was young, and Silver Bullet came out at the right time (plus, I loved the pictures from the short novella).  While Silver Bullet is flawed, it still is fun.

It follows the general plot of the story and expands on Marty’s role in the story by making him the main character.  The reason that the story is so bouncy and episodic is that the story it was adapted from was originally conceived as a calendar with each attack occurring on a holiday until the werewolf’s bloody end.  The attempt to adapt this theme into a flowing story is a struggle and more connecting nature had to be found (the flashback narration feels a bit like it was taken from To Kill a Mockingbird in style and form).  If the movie was made today, it probably would have been a TV series or a limited series so it could be broken down more.

I do like the story once the werewolf is ferreted out by Marty and her brother.  I always liked Everett McGill and it is fun to see him in the role of the tortured minister.  The movie (and the novella for that matter), make no attempt to explain how he became a werewolf and the fact he is a man of the cloth compounds the problem for him.  I just wish the movie had explored that a bit more.

silver bullet werewolf stephen king

Dang…knock off the eye shots, kid!!!

Visually, the movie does nothing special.  With great werewolf movies coming before it, you would think that Silver Bullet would have taken heed of the transformations found in An American Werewolf in London or The Howling which both had incredible looking werewolves and transformation scenes.  Instead the transformation scene is average, and the werewolf is a bad costume that looks like it came from a costume store instead of a professional studio (I don’t mind that the werewolf is more humaniod like The Wolf Man).  I did however want a Silver Bullet machine like Marty had.

Silver Bullet might not be the best movie, but it is fun.  Busey does a good job at least trying to make the movie enjoyable with his role, and Haims demonstrates why he was a great child actor…but the movie is mostly a bumpy ride.  With a real ’80s feel, Silver Bullet is one of those bad movies you can at least enjoy while watching.

Related Links:

Cycle of the Werewolf

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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