Director: Daniel Attias
Stars: Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Corey Haim
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Based on the thin Stephen King novella (or is that novelette?) called Cycle of the Werewolf, this 1985 kid vs lycanthrope flick is, honestly, not that great of a horror movie. There, I said it. But with that said, it sure is a whole lot of fun and ticks off my nostalgia box bigtime. It’s got a supercharged wheelchair, Corey Haim before he became obnoxious, Gary Busey before he became obnoxious-er and a total nut, Everett McGill doing what he does best: playing a villain, some dodgy special effects, some cool kills (werewolf with a baseball bat is awesome!), a werewolf that looks more like a werebear, a coming-of-age story, a tale of siblings bonding, and the whole thing is a time capsule of 80s life. So yeah, it’s safe to say that I like this movie. But how is the new Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment? Well, hop in your Silver Bullet, don’t forget to bring an actual silver bullet, and let’s find out.
Marty (Haim) is a disabled kid confined to a wheelchair, but he doesn’t let that get him down. He does everything any other kid his age did during the 80s: play pranks on his sister, set off fireworks, get a schoolyard crush on a cute girl, outruns cars on the highway with the souped-up wheelchair his Uncle Red (Busey) made for him. Oh, and he has to fight a werewolf too. You know, everyday normal kid stuff.
You see, in his small town there is a crazed killer on the loose leaving bodies mangled and bloody. We know it’s a werewolf from the start, but the townies don’t know that. Marty finds this little secret out the hard way after his best friend is torn apart by the lunar beast. He survives the first encounter with the werewolf thanks to a handy dandy rocket, but now he has to uncover which of the townsfolk is the shapeshifter and stop it before more people die, or wicked wolfman comes for him. To do this he has to convince his older teenage sister, and since two kids aren’t enough to handle this horror on their own, they will need to somehow bring Uncle Red in on the hunt in a hurry, for the next full moon is just around the corner.
Now let’s get to those extras on this new Blu-ray release from Umbrella Entertainment. There is an audio commentary with director Daniel Attias. There is a 25-minute interview with Martha DeLaurentiis, who was a producer on this film, as well as many other horror titles. There are isolated score selections and an audio interview with composer Jay Chattaway and this runs the whole length of the film, much like an audio commentary track. There is an interview with Everett McGill, the man who played the priest/werewolf in the movie, and that runs just over 16 minutes. Here is a combined interview with special effects artists Michael McCracken and Matthew Mungle, who created the werewolf in this and that runs 21 minutes. A theatrical trailer, a TV spot, a radio spot, and an image gallery brings this nice collection of goodies to an end.
Truth be told, Silver Bullet isn’t all that scary of a horror movie, although it does have its moments. It is far more effective as a spooky kid adventure in the same vein of The Goonies, which came out the same year but starred a different Corey. It is a fun trip down memory lane now, more like spending some time with an old friend than watching an effective fright flick. Still, I like it, it looks great here in HD, and so it gets an easy recommendation from me.