Silver Bullet (1985)
What’s It About: It’s a WereSchlockwolf Weekend! In this flick, a werewolf attacks a small Maine town. It’s up to a paraplegic wheelchair bound 11-year-old, his older sister and their drunk uncle to stop it.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- Gary Busey AND Everitt McGill? Top notch!
- Does this movie really need an narrator? And it’s from the sister as an adult. So she’s more or less telling the story of the time they defeated a werewolf. That old yarn.
- This old coot is singing the Rheingold Beer jingle. And then he starts talking to himself about Rheingold. He really loves Rheingold.
- The werewolf punches the guys head clean off! Wouldn’t a werewolf want to eat him or at least tear him apart? Maybe the werewolf was a Budweiser drinker. (EDITOR: COORS LIGHT the Silver Bullet!!!)
- Terry O’Quinn!
- “Marty’s a booger.” A practical joker booger.
- The chronic drunk uncle they are referring to has to be Gary Busey.
- So earlier we saw a couple arguing about the possible paternity of a fella and a pregnant lover. The fella denies that the baby is his and the distraught lady later that night is planning suicide by popping a lot of pills. Moments later the werewolf climbs the trellis up to her room and breaks in and kills the girl. So since the identity of the werewolf is a mystery so far, we’re lead to believe it could be the angry fella. But you know it’s not that easy. But why the werewolf clearly target this lady in her house on the second floor when her mother was playing piano downstairs is suspect.
- Terry O’Quinn just said “Fuck Off!”
- Corey Haim’s girlfriend’s belligerent father said: “Damn cripple. He’ll end up on welfare.” How is that exactly?
- Hahaha, he then rambles on saying: “Ought to electrocute them all. Balance the damn budget.” I’m sure he’s a sweetheart if you just get to know him.
- Nice. Lawrence Tierney.
- Gary Busey tells one horrible joke. It’s not even worth repeating.
- That same belligerent father from earlier is watching wrasslin’. But the way he’s yelling at the TV, you’d think this is his first time ever seeing a wrestling match. He says: “Bust his chops!” Isn’t that more for annoying someone?
- Corey Haim somehow climbed a small tree despite his handicap. Weirder still is he did it to retrieve his kite.
- Just based on the creepiness in the reverend played by Everitt McGill, I’m going to assume he’s the lycanthrope.
- Corey Haim asks Gary Busey that the thing killing the people in town could be some kind of monster and Busey responds: “Like a werewolf or something.” So it’s weird that the fictional myth of werewolves is mentioned in a film literally about a werewolf. Or is that just me?
- Terry O’Quinn tells the frustrated locals at the bar who are planning on catching the killer themselves that the word that best describes their actions are “Private Justice.” Actually vigilantism is a far better word. “Private Justice” sounds like a porn title.
- And since it’s like 2 dozen or so vigilantes isn’t “Public Justice” a better description?
- I know that the father of Corey Haim’s friend that recently died is very devastated and distraught but his logic is a little off base about how wrong it would be if the sheriff told his now dead son at his grave about Private Justice.
- Two Private Justices just walked on bear traps in the woods.
- “Are you going to make lemonade in your pants?” So sayeth the grown lady Private Justice. That would mean that would be justice from his privates.
- Hahaha Lawrence Tierney is armed with a baseball bat with the words: The Peace Maker written with marker on it.
- This werewolf is real ballsy attacking this group of Private Justices armed with guns and baseball bats. This werewolf ain’t taking no shit.
- In true Tierney fashion, he’s cussing out the werewolf as he’s being beaten to death with his own baseball bat.
- So much for Private Justice.
- The poor dad laughs at the reverend saying there is no comfort! There is only Private Justice!
- Church full of werewolves. Nightmare for the reverend. Weird that we’re seeing the secondary character’s (that we’ve only seen like 3 minutes of so far) perspective. You would think Haim would have a werewolf nightmare.
- Why is the traffic light in town have two red lights? Meaning, There’s a green, a yellow and 2 reds on the same side. I’ve never seen that. That means double stopping!
- Corey Haim just said his sister is in new clothes showing off her tits. That’s not a creepy thing to say at all. AT ALL!
- Are we going to see her tits? Asking for a friend.
- Gary Busey presents his wheelchair bound nephew a new mini motorcycle powered wheelchair in the garage that he made and Haim asks if it’s for him. No. It’s for the other paraplegic kid, stupid.
- And it’s aptly named “The Silver Bullet.” Because it’s silver. And fast. And for the rest of the movie he’s going to fight a werewolf.
- Why don’t more paraplegic folks in wheelchairs get motorcycle motors installed on their wheelchairs? I sure would.
- Way too much flare ups on that grill Corey Haim’s dad! Jeez. You’re going to burn off your eyebrows!
- I know he’s crippled and all but this probably classifies as a motor vehicle now. Which means he’ll most likely need a license and register it with the state.
- And he would need to fill it with gasoline too which is a major inconvenience I would think for a teenager with no job.
- “It’s a rocket. You light it.” No shit.
- Gary Busey casually says to Haim as he drives off, “Watch out for the werewolf.” What a card.
- I understand he loves his new wheelchair motorcycle but sneaking out in the middle of the night, werewolf or not, is stupid. Plus the thing is as loud as a motorcycle so how did he leave the house without alerting his folks?
- Haim shoots his rocket firework at the werewolf and tags him right in the eye! Lucky for him that the werewolf casually walked up to him instead of you know acting like a predatory wolf and pouncing on him all quiet like.
- The narration just doesn’t fit this flick. Plus it’s unnecessary. Haim told his sister what happened and that the werewolf would have an injured eye and now she’s narrating that she’s looking around town to see who has a bum peeper. Yeah we got that. You’re wasting our precious time!
- The reverend has an eye patch now. See! I told you. Of course Haim’s sister doesn’t notice though.
- Oh but what she does notice is one of the victim’s baseball bats as she unloads the recycled bottles and cans in the reverend’s garage!
- So Jane knows that the reverend has the eye patch and he’s the chief suspect. There’s about 30 minutes left. Which means now it’s up to Haim and his sister to solve it themselves or struggle to convince the townsfolk. Not sure what I would find more boring.
- Their idea is to send old school style ransom notes to the reverend letting him know that they, albeit anonymously, know his secret. Is this supposed to make the Reverend turn himself in? Is that their plan?
- Hate to admit it, but this film is lacking one too many Corey’s. Where was Feldman when Haim needed him?!
- Is it weird that the first thing I thought of when Haim says: “You know who used to have a baseball bat like that? Mr. Knopfler.” is the Dire Straits song Sultans of Swing? Yeah probably.
- They’re having trouble convincing Busey of their story and plans but he’s reluctantly helping them by staking out the reverend. Busey says that if anyone takes a firework rocket to the eye they’d be in the hospital or dead. Haim tells him that he shot his eye when he was a werewolf. Did they fail to tell Busey that nugget of information? Isn’t that the most important bit of information to tell? Plus why would Haim shot a human in the face with a firecracker?!
- Kind of a strange point in the film for Haim to enviously watch kids play baseball, using their legs like common assholes and everything.
- The reverend is chasing down Haim. I guess because his sister acting like a deer in headlights in the garage gave it away that she knows something.
- Lucky Haim has a motorcycle wheelchair!
- There’s a sign warning against an upcoming condemned and damaged bridge. If it’s that damaged and condemned to make a sign for it, why don’t they just fix it or just get rid of it?
- The reverend is telling Haim that despite being a werewolf he can’t kill himself because well suicide is a sin. But killing other people as a werewolf is perfectly alright with Jesus.
- And did he ever turn himself in to the cops? Nope. What a shitty reverend.
- Busey now believes his nephew all because he notices scratch marks on his wheelchair motorcycle. Really not enough to go by if you ask me. He could’ve scratched his motorcycle on literally anything!
- I’m pretty sure the sheriff needs a warrant or at the very least probable cause to be opening up the reverend’s garage door.
- This film was made 5 years after An American Werewolf in London, yet the transformation scene is garbage in comparison.
- Now the Sheriff is dead. But again, instead of being ripped apart, he was beaten to death with a blunt object by the werewolf. So strange. It’s like the werewolf is more like the Hulk and just uses his supernatural strength to kill people instead of what a typical carnivorous predatory animal would do like scratch, tear and bite.
- I’m beginning to think this werewolf is a vegetarian because it’s not eating anyone.
- The kids think that the full moon is not necessary for the werewolf to change. Yet Haim asks his uncle to make a silver bullet from one of his necklaces. So they believe one myth about lycanthropes but not another?
- And correct me if I’m wrong but I seem to remember that there was like one kill per month, and it was around the full moon. So the kids are dumb.
- The gunsmith marvels at the silver bullet he made. Saying, “Finest bullet I ever made.” It’s a bullet dude. There’s not much to it.
- Wait a minute. Haim shot the reverend in July because he was lighting off 4th of July fireworks. Now it’s Halloween. In those 4 months the killings have been quiet except for the sheriff. And the reverend hasn’t tried to kill Haim or his sister again. Don’t they go church anymore? Maybe not because that would be super awkward.
- The mom says “Don’t let any trick or treaters in the house. Even if they come.” What? Why wouldn’t trick or treaters come? Do they typically not ring on Haim’s family door? And who let’s in Trick or Treaters in their homes anyway? How asinine was her statement?
- What a lame werewolf. He peeks through the window and gives up his element of surprise.
- The werewolf is so strong that he crashes through the house wall but when he grabs Jane by the head he doesn’t kill her. And he basically just tosses Gary Busey around the room a few times.
- Wait so Haim shoots the silver bullet into the werewolf’s other eye? This cripple is a crack shot!
- A jump scare after the werewolf transforms back to the reverend? Why?! How?!
- Well. This was one lame ending. As usual.
Scare Level: Hate to compare with the best werewolf feature of all time An American Werewolf in London but Silver Bullet isn’t remotely scary at all. In fact, I just read that Roger Ebert said of Silver Bullet: “…is either the worst movie ever made from a Stephen King story, or the funniest.”
Gore Level: As you can surmise from the way the werewolf behaves towards its victims that very little gore is shown in this werewolf picture.
Nudity Level: There was mention of tits but that’s it. Surprisingly, Busey didn’t moon anyone.
Best Line: A lot of the good lines are from Busey’s Uncle Red but the one line I particularly liked came from one of the Private Justice drunks about the sheriff: “Joe Haller couldn’t find his own ass if somebody rammed it full of radium and gave him a Geiger counter!”
Best Scene: Without thinking too much about it I would say when Haim shoots the werewolf in the eye with a firework. At least it’s never been done before.
Worst Scene: Besides the awful finale, I’d go with the death of Corey Haim’s girlfriend’s drunken bum dad in the greenhouse. It wasn’t a memorable kill (the werewolf pulled him down into the floorboards and he got impaled on a piece of broken wood—lame) and I’m not sure why that dad was targeted by the werewolf in the first place other than because we probably wanted the idiot dead for saying that all cripples should be electrocuted. Come to think of it, his daughter was really sweet on Haim and after her father’s death we never saw her again.
Stephen King References: Tarker’s Mill (town that borders Derry and Castle Rock), Villain wearing an eye patch
Overall: Not the worst werewolf movie I’ve seen (cough cough The Howling) but definitely didn’t bring anything new to the myth or genre either. I was just going to write that it has its moments and I really shouldn’t do this film any favors—I saw this for the first time when I was in middle school and in that time I only remembered his wheelchair motorcycle, so it’s a very forgettable movie. It’s one of those old King premises that takes something horror related and commonplace and doesn’t really change anything or like I said bring anything new. The only novel thing about this werewolf flick is that the main “hero” is a kid in a wheelchair. Big flipping deal. But the cast is fine in this. I was never a Haim fan unless he was with Feldman but he does a fine good playing a crippled kid. Busey was perfectly casted as the drunk uncle—the role he was born and breed to play. The twist or reveal of who the werewolf was was easier to spot than wet water and the finale to defeat him was lackluster at best. The film tried to create a dysfunctional family dynamic with the brother and sister fighting a lot (which was like once and not atypical to any other young siblings) and drunk uncle Red and his sister (they had like one heated discussion about drinking; by the end he was fit and trustworthy enough for her to leave him in charge to watch the kids for the weekend). The only interesting dynamic the film flirted with was the whole town becoming vigilantes to find the “killer” on their own and even going against the sheriff head-on. But after that disastrous attempt that one night, that was put to bed quick. Oh well. At least it wasn’t a total stinker and it did entertain me enough not to want to slit my wrists.
Score: 5 Private Justices Drinking Rheingold Beer (out of 10)
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