31 Horror Films #10: Silver Bullet 1985 Dir. Daniel Attias

Last year I did a series of daily micro blogs going through the history of horror films by year. This was meant to give people an example of the high points of the genre. This year I'll be doing the same thing, but going off the beaten path to provide some films you may not have heard of. These films may not be up your alley, but they're all interesting.

Silver Bullet 1985 Dir. Daniel Attias

When choosing a favorite vampire film or zombie movie, the field of choice is incredibly vast. Nosferatu began the vampire genre in the 1920s and one could make a case for The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari as being a pro to zombie picture. And the list keeps going through the Universal Horror series, the Hammer films into the George Romero zombie pictures and his vampire film, Martin. However, when it comes to choosing a favorite werewolf film, the pool to choose from gets noticeably more sparse. There are two kinds of people usually, Howling people and American Werewolf people, sure their might be an older fan, pointing to Lon Chaney's The Wolfman, or the even older Werewolf of London, and the young horror fans usually point to Dog Soldiers or Ginger Snaps as a favorite, but rarely does anyone ever point to the adaptation of Stephen King's brilliant lunar novella, Silver Bullet.

It's a shame that Silver Bullet doesn't get more play, because the film is remarkably effective. As we are introduced to the quiet town of Tarker's Mills as it is ravaged by a werewolf. No one is quite sure what is killing the local citizens, but on a dark night Marty Coslaw is lighting off fireworks and runs afoul of the beast shooting a bottle rocket into the creature's eye. After convincing his sitter, jane to search for a person with one eye, The siblings stubble across the lycanthropic killer and it's not whom they expect.

Silver Bullet can be overly dramatic sometimes, Jane's voice over in particular overly, but the film is good and keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see how the sibling's discovery unfolds. The parts of Marty and Jane are played wonderfully by Cory Haim and Megan Follows who have real chemistry as brother and sister. But the real reason to watch Silver Bullet is Gary Busey's performance as drunken Uncle "Red". Red is the family ne'rdowell, but Marty adores him because he treats him well and has a good soul. Red reminds me of several family members I had growing up, people who struggled with their own demons, but were nevertheless big-hearted and loving.

There are several standout scenes in this film: The church transformation, the silver bullet crafting, the hunting party, and while Silver Bullet still doesn't rank with American Werewolf or The Howling, but it's a fine and criminally overlooked werewolf film, that should be required viewing for any fan of the genre.

Watch the trailer HERE