Awesome ’80s in April: Silver Bullet (1985)

silver bullet poster

For the last few years, I’ve been steadily (if perhaps a bit slowly) reading my way through Stephen King’s bibliography. I’m not even halfway through. Dude has written a lot of books. People have made a lot of movies based on those books. Most of them aren’t very good.

My working theory is that filmmakers focus on the monsters – the killer clowns, rabid dogs, vampires, and other assorted creatures of the night – and ignore the world-building, the characters, and all other non-horrifying story development. But while readers may come to King for the monsters, they stay for all that other stuff. At least I do. And so the movies wind up focusing on the wrong things that make King’s stories so interesting. That’s my theory anyway.

Based upon King’s Cycle of the Werewolf novella, Silver Bullet is (obviously) about a werewolf stalking a small town. Our hero is young Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) who is bound to a souped-up wheelchair (which is named, in its very Stephen King way, the Silver Bullet). He has a nagging sister, Jane (Megan Follows) who narrates the film as an adult (another Stephen King trope) and a goofy, alcoholic uncle (a wonderfully hilarious Gary Busey).

There is a lot of small-town life that fills this film. There are community gatherings, family parties, funerals, and lots of Marty showing off his ability to get around without the use of his legs (he climbs trees and into his second-story window). The uncle rigs up an even better souped-up wheelchair that whizzes down the road at 60 MPH.

And of course, there is a lot of mutilations by a werewolf. None of it is particularly well done, and it is all pretty silly. You could call it a bad movie, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but it is also quite entertaining. It is exactly what I want a 1980s adaptation of a Stephen King werewolf movie to be.

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