1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2009
A cycle of terror ...
Every month, when the moon is at its fullest, the usually quiet town of Tarker's Mills is visited by what the townspeople think is a homicidal maniac. Mutilated corpses begin to turn up and a curfew is administered upon the residents. One crippled boy, Marty Coslaw, nevertheless decides to ignore the curfew - the curfew had meant the cancellation of the Fourth of July Fireworks, his favourite holiday - and ventures out alone to have his own 4th July. The hiss and crack of the fireworks draws attention to Marty and he meets the mysterious murderer face-to-face. So begins a quest to discover the true idenity of this monster.
Daniel Attias has directed one of the better Stephen King films with Silver Bullet (he had previously worked as second assistant director on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1983) and Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), so he'd had some good training). The screenplay (written by King) is an adaptation of his novella, Cycle of the Werewolf (1983), about a lycanthrope who hunts down the townspeople of Tarker Mills. The film is well paced and has a whodunnit feel, as well as plenty of extremely scary moments that will ensure you do not head for the 'eject' button feeling you have wasted your hard earned dollars.
Moreover, there is a great cast here, headed by veteran actor Gary Busey. The supporting cast includes Corey Haim, Everett McGill, Megan Follows, Bill Smitrovich, Lawrence Tierney, Kent Broadhurst, James Gammon, William Newman, and Terry O'Quinn. It is produced by Dino De Laurentiis (Dead Zone (1983), Firestarter (1984), Maximum Overdrive (1985), Cat's Eye (1985) et al). I first watched this film as a teen when it came out for rental in the mid-eighties and found it very atmospheric - eerie and mysterious - as well as offering plenty of scares throughout. So, take a stroll through the fog shrouded woods of Tarker's Mills ...
... but beware the moon.
I was very impressed by the book "The cycle of werewolf" by Stephen King and therefore I expected a lot of its cinema adaptation - but sadly, I was mostly disappointed. This review contains some very limited SPOILERS.
"The cycle of werewolf" describes a small town in Maine haunted at every full moon by a ferocious werewolf and the film begins mostly faithfully to the book. However, very fast the director decided to change things, in my modest opinion without any real reason.
Like in the book, the main hero, 11-years old Marty Coslaw, has lost the use of his legs and is bound to a wheelchair, but unlike in the book here he receives a big sister, who becomes the narrator of the story. There is also less victims than in the book and the human identity of the werewolf is revealed too early in the film. In the book, which covers in its 12 chapters one year (from January to December), it occurs on 31 October - here, not only the story is shortened, but the solution to the main mystery also comes much faster.
The special effects are not really very good and the incredible strength and great speed of the werewolf, which were so chillingly described in the book, are here missing in action. Finally, in the book the werewolf sometimes played a little with his victims, displaying a sadistic, evil, depraved sense of humor, which made it even scarier - here this element is absent.
Actors however are very good. Young Corey Haim did a darn good job as Marty and Megan Follows is excellent as his big sister Jane. But the real star is of course Gary Busey as Marty's heavy drinking and not very recommendable uncle. Everett McGill, who did such a great job in "Quest for fire", "Dune" and "Twin Peaks", is also excellent as a young local pastor, who desperately strives to keep his faith and sanity when his flock is being slowly devoured by a Beast from Hell...
All in all, it is a honest little horror, not too gory and not too scary - but absolutely nowhere near the quality of the original book. The real adaptation of "Cycle of Werewolf" remains to be turned. I gave away this DVD after watching the film, as in my modest opinion this is a thing to see once.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2003
Despite the review above, don't be put off by this film, it's one of the better werewolf films that I've seen from Hollywood in a long time.
The story is about a young disabled boy, who is convinced a spate of massacres are being performed by a werewolf, unfortunately no-one in town believes him, forcing him to try and unmask the creature's identity himself.
The story is from the pen of Steven King, and although a few of his projects have been disasters on film, this one (in which he wrote the screenplay) is one of the better ones.
Of course there are problems with the film, the director wisely held back the full sight of the werewolf until the last 5 minutes, where the low budget unfortunately shines through.
But this is a minor fault in a quality film (rather like the excellent Dog Soldiers.)
It's 80's, and low-budget, but if you enjoyed Dog Soldiers, you couldn't fail to enjoy this.)
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2003
there havent been many good werewolf films from hollywood over the last few years.
aside from the excellent, recent british film dog soldiers. its been a long time since i saw a horror film like this and really enjoyed myself.
its the story of a disabled boy in a quiet american town who believes a recent spate of massacres is down to the work of a werewolf, and more than believes this once the hairy beast sets its sights on him for dinner!
werewolf films never require a brilliant plot and are usually bogged down with poor dialogue. but adapted from the pen of stephen king. this is one that hits the spot in both departments.
it is an 80's film, and it is low budget, so dont expect any thriller style monster effects. but if you can put those thoughts to the back of your mind, this is one top quality piece of entertainment.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Silver Bullet is directed by Daniel Attias and adapted for the screen by Stephen King from his own novelette Cycle Of The Werewolf. It stars Gary Busey, Corey Haim, Megan Follows, Everett McGill & Terry O'Quinn. The film is set in the small rural town of Tarker's Mills, Maine, which falls prey to a series of grizzly murders. At first the killings are believed to be the work of a mad man, with the town ready to take up vigilante arms against the perpetrator, but young wheelchair bound Marty (Haim) is convinced something more lupine like is responsible.
As most folks know, Stephen King's adaptations to screen are a mixed bunch. Some have been tackled by top line directors such as Kubrick, De Palma, Cronenberg, Reiner & Darabont, while others have been turned out by no marks where the quality befits the low production value. Silver Bullet falls somewhere in the middle on the quality list of King movies. Its reputation is some what Luke warm, and whilst it's a little understandable when put up against other 80's film's in the werewolf pantheon (An American Werewolf In London, The Howling & The Company Of Wolves), it does have a high entertainment value. Of note, too, is that it's not shy in the dark department either. There's mutilated children, a pregnant woman tore to shreds, car attack on our crippled hero, while some of the characterisations are also interesting; such as an alcoholic uncle (a wonderfully OTT Busey) & the mean hick bar dwellers who raise the spectre of vigilantism.
True, the film is also dotted with cheese. But there's fun in that too. I don't know if some of the laughs were intentional or not, but I like to think so. How else can you react to a werewolf that takes up a baseball bat to fell one of his attackers? That's surely meant to be funny, no? It is also not taxing of the brain to work out who the hairy beast is in human form, because, like, the makers gives us clues. I really don't think they was trying to spring a big surprise on us. Cast wise it's the usual array of mixed performers. Haim is likable, particularly in the scenes with the afore mentioned Busey, O'Quinn adds professionalism, while McGill is always value for money when playing important members of the community. Tis fun too seeing future Reservoir Dog leader Lawrence Tierney putting his gruff stamp over the bar room proceedings.
So not one for the technical and artistry seeking purists then. But definitely one for those looking for a good bit of werewolf tear em up that comes with tasty 80s cheese. 7/10
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The movie starts out with hallmark type music and the voice over narration. It wasn't really the narration of the 1950s sci-fi movie but more of the narration of a hallmark sisterly love.
We finally get into the movie. You can tell that it's a Stephen King movie because of the excessive potty mouth presentations. This can be overlooked if they would hurry up and get into the biting parts and so they do. As far as the movies concerned this is the standard formula "anyone can be the biter until they turn up as the bitee and that we know they're not the biter but there are a fewer potential bitees left.
This movie does try to get down on the kids level. And it uses all the standard gimmicks such as the kids can tell that that's really a werewolf but the parents don't believe them. Then it becomes a little more tongue-in-cheek. They even toss in a little slapstick.
The question is will the culprit(s) getaway or face "the silver bullet?"
One of the advantages of being based on a Stephen King novella "Cycle of the Werewolf" is that Stephen King always keeps the spooky doings close to the realm of possibility. He also has a fascination with cars.
We began this movie with Hallmark type music and ending credits with elevator music "Joyride" by Rob B. Mathes (who ever he is)
Werewolf of Washington
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2005
Everyone may hate on Silver Bullet if they want. The facts are, I've been watching this movie honestly since I was 5 yrs old, and it is still my favorite movie at 17. I agree the dvd might not have any extras but for Silver Bullet to be made in 1985 it is good. And also the werewolf wasn't that bad. For someone who haven't seen this movie. It is a little more mystery suspense, than horror. This movie will make you jump a couple time and it will also crack you up. If you can check out the trailer.
This movie is about a handicap boy in a wheel chair(marty), who friend gets killed. When marty suspects that it was a werewolf(reverend) the werewolf trys to kill him. After hitting the werewolf in the eye with a skyrocket he used that as proof that the werewolf was the reverend. Marty tell his sister jane, and they both try to convince their acholic uncle(red)that a werewolf tried to killed him. After somewhat believeing him marty and jane get their uncle red to turn their necklaces to a silver bullet. And on halloween they stayed home that night and the werewolf attacked, but was eventually killed by marty and the silver bullet.
PLEASE WATCH THIS MOVIE U WON'T REGRET IT !!!! 9.99/10
on 28 May 2015
It's one of the better Werewolf films but why does every single film go too far with transformations? They always look much more terrifying half way through, when the human shape is still there. Once they start to look like German Shepherds it's no longer scary.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2011
I saw this film years ago on T.V. and I have read the book and remembered loving it. I call it a typical Stephen King because like all his books seem to be it is set it small town America with normal people dealing with extraordinary events. I had thought it might seem a bit dated and as some other reviewers have said the special effects arent all that especially when you see the werewolf up close but the characters are good and the storyline is intelligent so I found it a lot more enjoyable than some more up to date horrors with good special effects but the usual unappealing characters.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Silver Bullet is my favorite of Steven King's horror adaptations (yes, I do like this better than The Shining) . King even penned the screenplay himself (from his short story 'The Cycle of the Werewolf'), but since he was also responsible for the awful Maximum Overdrive, that's no solid proof of quality. But it a damn cool movie.
What makes it so different and unique is that it's horror movie told from a child's perspective (though I admit that the retrospective narration seems out of place) and has a brother/sister dynamic that's quite cute and makes you really care for the characters.
Corey Haim plays Marty Coslaw, a young boy who is confined to a wheelchair for reasons unknown. His older sister Jane is forced to take care of him and throws tantrums whenever the mum and dad take Marty's side (which is always). But the chair doesn't stop Marty from being mischievous. Especially when his manic, reckless Uncle Red (a fat Gary Busey-absolutely brilliant, as always) builds him a motorized wheelchair/bike called the Silver Bullet.
There is killer in their small town who strikes every month when the moon is full. The townsfolk gradually become more and more weary as autumn rolls on and Marty takes a personal offence when his best friend is murdered, his best girl is run out of town and a fireworks display is cancelled. Then he witnesses what the killer really is. But who is going to believe a kid's story of a werewolf? Despite the red-herrings, it's easy to figure out who it is before the main revelation. But it's still a fun mystery.
Filmed with the little-used JDC-Scope process, Silver Bullet has brilliant cinematography by Armando Nannuzzi and a wonderful score by Jay Chattaway. There's not much horror to it, but I don't think it was ever the intention to dwell on the violence. Even though I would call this film suitable for kids (despite the 18/R-rating) it's still way better than the PG-13 junk we get these days.
The film is also notable for Everett McGill (so evil as the baddie in Under Siege 2), an under-rated and under-used actor in a typically eccentric role as a charismatic Reverend. Doesn't he look like a cross between Christopher Reeve and David Hasselhoff?
A perfect Halloween movie or any night with the curtains drawn and lights off.
The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital Mono sound. This Region 2 version improves on the US DVD by including a trailer and Director's Commentary.