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SILVER BULLET

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Jan. 10, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: ‘Silver Bullet’ … or ‘Stephen King’s Silver Bullet’ if you prefer … was a box-office flop in the mid-1980s but I gave it a middling review in the Deseret News, meaning I found it OK viewing but nothing to go out of your way for. Apparently some others liked it more, however, since the Shout! Factory’s ‘Scream Factory’ division has given the film a Blu-ray upgrade. My review was published on Oct. 12, 1985.

If having your name as part of the title means you’ve made it, Stephen King has made it. First it was “Stephen King’s Children of the Corn,” now it’s “Stephen King’s Silver Bullet.”

“Silver Bullet,” based on King’s recent trade-paperback mini-novel “Cycle of the Werewolf,” is a fairly standard horror yarn, with a few stylish turns and some funny gallows humor to give it a boost.

Be advised, however, the R rating is earned with gore galore — from the very first scene when a man is graphically decapitated by our friendly neighborhood werewolf.

     

To its credit “Silver Bullet” doesn’t continue the gore in a constant stream from scene to scene but there are enough individual gory scenes to enthrall those who love it and repulse those who do not (put me in the latter category, thank you).

The story is set in a small town (where else?). Brutal murders are taking place and no suspects can be found. But a young crippled, wheelchair-bound boy knows it’s a werewolf, and he tries desperately to convince his sister and his raffish uncle … in vain at first, of course … that werewolves are real.

King, who wrote the script this time out, fills the movie with some very funny sequences — ghoulish humor to be sure, but funny. And his characters, though obvious stereotypes, are all charmingly written and played.

Having the film occasionally narrated from the sister’s first-person point of view seems an intrusive device and it’s not hard to figure out early on which of the town’s prominent citizens is the werewolf.

     

But the second half of the film is much better than the first, as it concentrates on the efforts of our desperate trio to confront and eliminate the werewolf — with a silver bullet, of course — after dispensing with most of the gore, mundane character development and typical slasher-style stalking scenes.

Movies like this are aimed at fans of the genre, of course, and they won’t be disappointed.

At the same time, this is hardly the film to convert those who tend to run in the other direction when horror movies surface.

“Silver Bullet” is rated R for violence and profanity.