Silver Bullet (1985)
More than a horror tale, Silver Bullet is a family story. It portrays the reconciliation between a brother and sister from a small town family, whose lives could have went on a path of division, considering their relationship. Marty (Corey Haim) is your average 10-year old but crippled and confined to a wheelchair. Jane, approx. 15, is resentful of Marty because their parents always expects her to look after him. Uncle Red (Gary Busey) comes by for dinner one night and secretly gives Marty some fireworks. Marty sneaks off in the late hour of the night, down the road in his motorized wheelchair to shoot off his fireworks. There, he witnesses a werewolf killing one of the townsfolk. When the werewolf attacks Marty, he shoots him in the eye with a rocket and makes his narrow escape. As more townsfolk go missing it’s up to Marty and Jane to work together to find the person with the injured eye and alert the authorities to the werewolf’s true identity. However, the werewolf knows of their plan and comes for them.
Some of the highlights of the film include a scene where a vigilante posse heads out into the woods to hunt the beast and ends up being the hunted. Another fantastic scene is a dream sequence that has the town’s preacher, Reverend Lowe, witnessing his whole church congregation turning into werewolves before his eyes. Aside from these sensationalist scenes, the film does have a story with heart and leads into highly suspenseful territory.
Cory Haim is a natural actor with a likeability that reaches beyond the screen and gives the viewer instant empathy. The werewolf isn’t anything super as far as FX and make-up but the story allows for some real tense moments when he’s on the prowl. Gary Busey plays one of his best parts as Uncle Red, (pretty much just being himself) a familiar styled character in many families. The ending has a tense build-up as Marty and Jane finally convince Uncle Red they are being stalked by a werewolf and the three of them defend their home against the evil that has embodied their town for the past year. Despite the “R” rating, I’ve watched SB with my kids when they were 10-12 years of age and they were able to handle the violence, but make that decision at your own discretion.
Trivia: Adapted from Stephen King’s “Cycle of the Werewolf”
The 1985 version included illustrations by Berni Wright
Corey Haim: Anyone alive in the 1980’s would know the bright spirited personality of child/teen actor, Corey Haim. His smile lit up the screen in a dozen films and he was especially known for horror films (Watchers, Lost Boys). He became good friends with his Lost Boys co-star Corey Feldman, leading to a reality show as an adult called, The Two Corey’s (2007 – 08). Ironically, his childhood fame lead to a troubled adulthood and he died of a prescription drug overdose in 2010.