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Silver Bullet (1985)
Written by Stephen King Directed by Daniel Attias
Set in 1976 in Marker’s Mills, Maine; the films plays as a narrative tale as told by Jane Coslaw (Megan Follows), though Kate in the novella. Forced to watch her brother Marty (Corey Haim) who was bound to a wheelchair due to paralysis and speaking about the finer details of a six month period in which their town dealt with a string of terrible murders unable to come to light. Though periodically chiming in for any minor details needed otherwise not receiving, we don’t hear too much from the sister.
Marty being a rather optimistic fellow despite his situation. Misunderstood by most people unless his Uncle Red (Gary Busey); though Al in the book. Who had came to visit after his third divorce and newly announced drinking problem. Though sure to encourage Marty in keeping his spirits up, always cracking jokes and building him the ultimate silver bullet (name of his wheelchair). *The script actually calling for several different lines that Busey ad libbed and were chosen to keep in the film as they fit accordingly*
Though murders had begun around town, two victims are claimed almost immediately; one a drunk while the other, attempting to rid herself of a “problem” of not being wanted by the man who knocked her up. The possible suspects building with the possibility of Red, having just come into town. The newly discovered father, who could have been taking care of his situation and covering his tracks to throw anyone else off. Either way, a 5 o clock curfew is instilled for the town as fear begins to get the best of everyone. A close friend of Marty’s being the next victim as flying his kite too long led to the discovery of his body by the local police later that night. The town gathering in the local bar with Brady’s father chiming in as the voice of reason claiming that private justice was the only nect feasible option. Leading into a nightmarish scene that was frankly the best part in the film. Occurring in the church as Reverend Lowe (Everett McGill) delivered his sermon for the latest of funerals. The entire town starting to ferociously transform simultaneously; or were they. *maniacal laugh*
Presenting the idea to Uncle Red of the possibility of a werewolf being the blame for the recent current events in their otherwise quiet town coming with some initial doubt. Stating that his imagination had gotten the best of him though he would return to inquire about the situation at hand. Finally convinced of otherwise once told of the most current altercation in which Marty is almost captured, is not for the random pedestrian out and about. Red going so far as to buy his sister and husband a romantic getaway (told it was won for his previous wife and he); to truly get to the bottom of the ordeal. Though the kids come to the conclusion that perhaps the possessor was always the wolf, but as the moon became more full, he grew “more wolfier.” Using the next full moon (Halloween) to its advantage and asking Red to turn their necklaces into a single silver bullet (two made in the story). But by the end of the film, the story seemed to develop from this offsetting year of a werewolf terrorizing a town to a message about siblings being able to come together, despite their many differences had. Yea, that certainly didn’t help the film any.
Though hard to imagine a novella by Stephen King (entitled ‘Cycle of the Werewolf’), in which he would also write the screenplay for the adaptation being any type of set up for failure. It seemed those behind the film encountered many a problem before actually being able to go through with a full production. Originally having Don Coscarelli signed on as the Director; well before aware of a design had for the creature. Too many back and forth’s about the design lead him to leave based on creative differences, despite the many scenes having already shot. With the differences from the novel fairing quite so, but when you have the author as well writing the screenplay, it’s not as though your still not receiving his vision in some form. Just perhaps wishes for it to play out a little differently whilst onscreen. An all together different tale as for starters in the novella, the events take place in a year; starting on New Years we each murder coincides with a holiday within each month. Whereas in the film we begin in Spring and end on Halloween. With a break in August coming about that lasts about the entirety of the story. In the book the werewolf also can’t recall events from the previous night once transformed, whereas the film shows him holding the grudge leading to the last confrontation between the characters. A immense pressure brought on as to what the Werewolf would look like. With the mere fragments of glances; whether his red eyes or quick glance of teeth fairing scarier than the whole thing. Resembling the product of a dog and bear not exactly what one may consider horrifying, of which at that, Everett McGill donned the wolf suit after dare we say more “creative differences” with the dancer hired prior.
However the dynamic between Red and Marty was welcoming for a number of reasons. Besides both being great Actors to watch onscreen, and at a time when both were at their least craziest. Having the uncle extra cautious at first for his nephew then when made clear it couldn’t be him, admiring that unlike most other adults, he at least entertained the thought and ended up helping them save the town. His sister also coming in at the end to lends a helping hand. The first one to believe her brother’s seemingly tall tale. Follows being otherwise annoying until jumping aboard and collecting cans in an attempt to locate the culprit attacking Marty on the bridge. The reveal being a great turn of events. Being a surprise to an extent because there is a time where you can begin questioning such. But the movie moved so slow in its execution and didn’t have many shots stick out that its by far one of the lesser adaptations of Kings. Though the message may be an “Aww” moment at the end, in the scheme of Horror films, what was it doing trying to weasel its way in there like that. Save it for the Drama genre!