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Silver Bullet Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Silver Bullet Large

Directed by Daniel Attias
Written by Stephen King (based on his novella)
1985, 95 minutes, Rated R
Released on December 17th, 2019

Gary Busey as Uncle Red
Everett McGill as Reverend Lowe
Corey Haim as Marty Coslaw
Megan Follows as Jane Coslaw
Terry O’Quinn as Sheriff Joe Haller
Lawrence Tierney as Owen Knopfler
William Newman as Virgil Cuts

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Eleven-year-old Marty Coslaw enjoys zipping around town in his silver gas-powered wheelchair dubbed the “Silver Bullet”. His loveable Uncle Red designed it for him and will do anything for Marty and his teenage sister Jane. The summer of ’76 has been particularly tough on the community, as there has been a rash of unsolved murders placing residents on edge. One night while out shooting fireworks, Marty nearly becomes the killer’s next victim but successfully gets away. Marty confides to Jane that he believes the thing that attacked him was a werewolf. Not completely convinced, Jane does some searching to back up her brother’s story. What she discovers is surprising and surely something no adult would ever believe. Jane and Marty approach Uncle Red for help, as he is the only person willing to believe a couple of kids, but is he capable of defending them against an angry werewolf?

Stephen King (Misery) has been a literary powerhouse for decades and many a filmmaker have tried their hand at adapting his work to cinema. Not all are successful (The Mangler), but audiences are treated to the occasional gem (The Shawshank Redemption). The 1980s were a particularly fruitful period with no less than seven King movies cranked out in just two years (1983 – 1985), five of which were produced by the prolific Dino De Laurentiis (Firestarter). King himself penned the script for Creepshow, and three years later wrote the screenplay for Silver Bullet, based on his novella Cycle of the Werewolf.

What works best in this picture is its richness of character, the family dynamic Marty shares with his sister and uncle, as well as the interaction of the townsfolk. The first half of the story is something of a murder mystery and once the killer is identified – in a great reveal – the tale becomes more of a suspense-thriller. There are plenty of horror elements sprinkled throughout, but the werewolf is frequently the least interesting part of the story. Prolific television director Daniel Attias is behind the camera on this one and he does a great job with the material. The gore is limited, but we are treated to a nice dream sequence involving a large group of people turning into monsters simultaneously. The werewolf, designed by acclaimed effects artist Carlo Rambaldi (Alien), is something of a dud, but it is only seen in glimpses until the end.

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Corey Haim (The Lost Boys) stars as Marty, the boy marked for death by werewolf. This was one of Haim’s biggest roles near the beginning of his career and he holds his own. The heart of the film lies with the always watchable Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon), who delivers a knockout performance that makes him instantly likeable and a lot of fun to watch. His scenes with Haim are particularly good, as the two work well together. Megan Follows (Deep Sleep) completes the family unit as Jane, who loves her brother but hates being his caregiver. Most of her scenes are opposite Haim and the two share great onscreen chemistry as siblings. In the pivotal role of Reverend Lowe, Everett McGill (The People Under the Stairs) is perfect as the town’s voice of reason and becomes something memorable.

The supporting cast is filled with familiar faces, starting with Terry O’Quinn (The Stepfather) as Sheriff Haller. He lends the role a decency that is needed to hold the community together. Some of the featured townies include Lawrence Tierney (The Horror Show) as barkeep Owen Knopfler; Bill Smitrovich (Manhunter) as instigator Andy Fairton; William Newman (Squirm) as Virgil over at the gas station; and James A. Baffiico (Dawn of the Dead) as a drunken father. You may not recognize many of their names, but all of these actors are of the “that guy” variety.

Silver Bullet is a fun bit of genre fare that disrupts small town America by tossing a werewolf into the mix. Stephen King fans will find a lot to like and everyone should be pleased watching Busey being Busey. If it’s been a while since you saw this or have missed it all together, now is a perfect opportunity to correct that and add this title to your collection just in time for the holidays.

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Video and Audio:

Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this is the same HD transfer used for the 2018 Australian release from Umbrella Entertainment. The picture looks terrific and features bold colors and rich black levels.

The DTS-HD MA 2.0 track gets the job done with some well-balanced music cues and sound effects. Dialogue levels are crisp and always understandable with no trace of hiss or other defects.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.

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Special Features:

There are two audio commentaries on this release, the first with director Daniel Attias, moderated by the always-reliable Michael Felsher. Attias says while not a typical fan of the genre, he was attracted to the family dynamic and richly-developed characters. He shares his memories of working with Stephen King and points to some of his favorite scenes. When it comes to casting, Attias has some good stories concerning Busey and Haim, and Felsher gives shout-outs to the numerous character actors that fill supporting roles. The director talks about his disappointment in the design of the werewolf costume but praises the film’s score.

Producer Martha De Laurentiis is joined by Felsher on the second commentary track, which covers not only this film, but many other productions in her lengthy career. She remembers her late husband, Dino De Laurentiis, and the empire he built as a producer first in Europe and later in America. She examines the prolific relationship the couple shared with Stephen King and admits they oversaturated the market with his work in the 1980s. Other topics include her thoughts on the script and the tone of the story and the laughable pop song that plays over the closing credits. She shares various production stories and her experience working with the MPAA film censors. She also reflects on the challenges of making an R-rated monster movie aimed for an audience of younger teens.

Felsher returns once again for an audio interview (38 minutes) with composer Jay Chattaway (Red Scorpion), who begins with the story of how he began writing music for genre films. From there he discusses writing character themes, punching up the score for additional violence, and his experience working with Attias. Following this interview, the remainder of the running time is filled with isolated score selections.

Editor Daniel Loewenthal discusses his work in the all-new interview Cutting to the Bone (2019, 17 minutes), starting with his early days in the industry cutting genre pictures. He has a lot of nice things to say about this movie, its director, cinematographer and cast. He details editing the chase scene and shooting some second unit material and offers his thoughts on the lackluster special effects and release.

In A Little Private Justice (2019, 12 minutes), actor Kent Broadhurst remembers his first day on set and how the scene relied on performance over gore and shares additional production stories. He talks about the appeal of his character and working with make-up effects.

Everett McGill sits down for the 2018 interview The Wolf Within (16 minutes) and remembers the challenges faced during production both as an actor and as a suit performer. He has kind words for his director and co-stars and has fond memories of shooting in North Carolina. He reflects on the themes of the picture and its enduring legacy.

Full Moon Fever (2018, 21 minutes) features make-up artists Matthew Mungle and Michael McCracken, who are quick to distance themselves from Carlo Rambaldi’s werewolf design, instead focusing on their work creating various kills, the transformation and the dream sequence.

The original theatrical trailer is paired with a TV and radio spot.

A photo gallery slideshow (6 minutes) features publicity shots, behind-the-scenes images, make-up stills, lobby cards, international poster art and VHS cover art.

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Movie: Threeandahalfstars Cover
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Fourstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

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About The Author
Robert Gold
Author: Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer - USA
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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