31 Days of Halloween 2016 – #20 Silver Bullet (1985) and Stephen King
This film was not highly anticipated and nearly departed theaters as fast as it arrived. It’s a decent movie, but there are other movies way better, like An American Werewolf in London and The Howling. I guess those are genre defining, so it’s not really fair to compare this movie to those two, but they’re all pretty much going for the same thing: a werewolf terrorizes some people and they eventually kill it, after much bloodshed.
Some well-known faces creep into the cast, so I don’t have a problem with the actors. It’s not the script that’s the issue. It’s definitely entertaining. It’s got a few jokes but it doesn’t really parody anything. There’s no black comedy, as in An American Werewolf, and I think this movie is just as good as the book. Gary Busey and the cast make that work. Corey Haim does his best work as Marty and many critics have complemented him on his performance in this movie. I agree. Actually, I’m not sure which is better, this movie or The Lost Boys. I guess Haim is remembered more for The Lost Boys, but he’s good here too.
I think Stephen King’s influence can be seen directly in the script. There’s a lot of guiding and explaining of things, just like you might expect in a book. The main character’s sister Megan Follows narrates some of the movie and helps hand out more exposition. That’s the only thing I don’t really like about this movie.
Daniel Attias debuts as director of this movie, before he moved on to television. He’s directed episodes on ALL the great TV shows, like 21 Jump Street, Northern Exposure, Dr. Quinn, House, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and much more. This guy knows how to direct.
The allegory of the duality of man is on full display in Silver Bullet. It’s not just the example of a werewolf for use in this allegory either. Oh no, there’s other examples of duality at work here, shaping the story and giving us a lot to think about. The authority figure (The Sheriff) is revealed to have really bad morals. Other characters are shown for who they really are, so it’s not just the Sheriff. The gun shop owner is an alcoholic. The best part of this allegory is that the choice of the man behind the werewolf is The Reverend, the pillar of the community, which fits perfectly.
Overall, this is a good movie. It’s got a little bit of everything. It’s got your traditional storytelling, but it’s also got some metaphors and great big allegories for everyone to chow down on when not distracted by the werewolf killing people. Stephen King includes his usual token handicapped character and probably voted for the stupid narrator, but a lot of other things make up for those choices, like Gary Busey camping it up and delivering some memorable lines. The performances are good and the action is decent. Can’t go wrong.
31 Days of Halloween 2016
31. Young Frankenstein (1974)
30. Jason X (2001)
29. Cloverfield (2008)
28. The Monster Squad (1987)
27. Bad Moon (1996)
26. The Haunting (1963)
25. Splinter (2008)
24. Frenzy (1972)
23. Aggression Scale (2012)
22. The Exorcist III
21. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)
20. Silver Bullet (1985) – This post
19. Joy Ride (2001)
18. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
17. The Funhouse (1981) by Tobe Hooper
16. Videodrome (1983)
15. Re-Animator (1985)
14. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
13. Cube (1997)
12. Evil Dead
11. Day of the Dead (1985)
10. Tales of Halloween (2015)
9. They Live (1988)
8. The Innocents (1961)
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
6. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
5. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
4. Hatchet (2006)
3. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
2. Halloween II
1. Silence of the Lambs