Tag Archives: Stephen King's Silver Bullet

Stephen King’s “Silver Bullet”- The Criminally Underrated Halloween Movie

Last year’s full moon came on Halloween; and a happy coincidence left me fully convinced in the All Hallows Blue Moonlight on a notion that I had always known deep down. That Stephen King’s Silver Bullet was truly a criminally underrated Halloween film.

Heh. I hope you read that in your best Jane voice.

Now, it’s obvious that the film itself models a timeline of sorts from the 1983 novella; which acts like a calendar of chapters rummaging through each month of this chaotic year where a werewolf is violently tormenting the residents of Tarkers’ Mills. The movie starts off in late Spring and the majority of the film is actually set in the Summer with a few big scenes leading up to and taking place on Independence Day. In which case, makes my argument here a tad trying but I’m here to fight and will die on the hill that’s forever a Halloween movie.

Midway through the movie, Fall sets in with the climatic final confrontation and ending landing on Halloween itself and although as stated, most of the film is staged at different points of time throughout the year, the last half of the movie really sells that Autumn ambience flowing into the Halloween Full Moon final chapter. The changing of the leaves, that you can hear crunching in between scenes. The sinister aura surrounding the town is much heavier now giving off that Halloween lurking around the corner feeling- you all know exactly what I’m talking about. You can practically SMELL the Fall atmosphere. Especially when we get to the last ten minutes or so of the movie where Jack-O-Lanterns and die cut paper skeletons are seen outside the Coslaw residence.

So to me, it feels more like a Halloween flick than anything else. And I’m kind of pissed AMC Fearfest opts to show Stephen King’s Carrie 20 times a month in October and Silver Bullet a mere ONE TIME. Sure, I get films like Carrie are more universally popular. However, the fact that Silver Bullet consistently gets the shaft both in the cinematic horrorthons and in the horror community, kind of bums me out. It’s underappreciated, underrated, and the best werewolf movie out of the slew of Lycanthrope films that came out in the early 80s’,

YEAH I SAID IT. Corey Haim in a gas powered motorcycle of a wheelchair and Gary Busey wrasslin’ reverend werewolves? Sorry but there’s no competition happening here.

Stephen King’s first hand-written screenplay from his own novella adaption deserves a little more respect this Halloween. Give it a viewing closer to the holiday and you’ll get the same Halloween ambient fuzzies as I do every time I watch it.

Pick it up here from Amazon if you don’t own this cinematic masterpiece yet!

Creature Features: Celebrating 35 Years Of Practical Effects Werewolves Via STEPHEN KING’S SILVER BULLET

CREATURE FEATURES: CELEBRATING 35 YEARS OF  PRACTICAL EFFECTS WEREWOLVES VIA STEPHEN KING'S SILVER BULLET

Halloween 2020 for many, is looking different this year. Some will go about their own business, and celebrate as per usual. Some will opt to stay home for a family-fun night of horror flicks instead; of which both are perfectly ok mind you! However this year, I have one fantastic selection to add to the typical go-to movies such as Halloween and Trick ‘R’ Treat. A film so perfect that it almost supersedes the novella it was derived from. Piss on Rob Zombie’s Halloween! Piss on the Nightmare on Elm Street remake! This Halloween that coincides with a rare Blue Full Moon- I invite you to hunt up a little private justice with Stephen King’s Silver Bullet!

It’s been a while since we’ve done any Creature Features pieces celebrating our favorite monsters and glorious practical effects; and we’re LONG OVERDUE for a Silver Bullet article. Of which none has been done on this website and being the huge fan I am of this film in particular and this month marks the 35th anniversary of its release, I better get my ass in gear before my Tarker’s Mills card is revoked.

When I say I’m a fan, there’s my commitment status. I don’t fuck around like a virgin on prom night.

Anyway, let’s start with the obvious. I understand a lot of people disregard the Reverend Werewolf final reveal look; comparing it to something that of a dog-bear, (and honestly you aren’t wrong about that). However, it is meant as an insult rather than a critique and I think a lot of these people have An American Werewolf on London on the brain. I will argue till the day I die that THIS look, (not transformation but LOOK) in particular, is far more scary and that is my personal, and firm opinion on the matter.

And I will fucking die on that hill.

Special effects master Carlo Rambaldi, whose notable works include creating the works behind King Kong (1976), Alien, and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, was tasked as the special and make-up effects head to complete the werewolf looks in Stephen King’s novella turned featured film. The realistic style suit was one piece that was topped with a mask that was operated by a variety of mechanics operated by the crew. Twelve levers to be exact, like that of a bicycle, that could manipulate the wolf’s facial expressions. For long-distance shots, there was a more simple mask that didn’t require all the fancy, tech wires.

However, Rambaldi was only given five executive weeks to pull of this sorcery. Hey, if the master of Queen Alien could do it, anyone can! Still, shooting had commenced even before the final suit and mask were ready. So those little snips of the werewolf leading up to the big reveal, were done with another purpose behind it.

“Ultimately, it looked like a bear,” confesses Attias. “The werewolf was very late in being designed, and Carlo (Rambaldi) was given very little time or money to work on it. In fact, it was so late that we had already started filming before we had the suit, so we starting shooting scenes without it. I tried to make sure the audience would see it as little as possible. – Excerpt from interview with the The Master Cylinder.

Everett McGill wore the suit for most of shooting, who spent a considerable amount of time figuring out the perfect walk for something that was neither man, nor beast. But a man that has been trapped inside an animal who eventually accepted his fate and embraced this dark shadow within him. Resulting in the werewolf quenching his thirst for blood on the “sinners” of the town- as McGill puts it speaking to the Shadow Nation podcast. However, he wasn’t even the first choice! Attias had hired a dancer to wear the suit, but apparently it didn’t work out, resulting McGill to go hairy balls deep in the role playing both the wolf and his not-so-holy counterpart. More demanding stunts in the costume, required a double; which was taken on by Julius Le Flore, the stunt coordinator for the film.

Now. We certainly can’t talk about the effects without mentioning the greatest scene in the movie that brought together a record FORTY werewolves on screen together; the most in any film to date. In lieu of Rambaldi, makeup artist Michael McCracken, Jr. was in charge of the dream sequence that involved a few actors already in the film, and the rest were made of up of Julius Le Flore’s friends of gymnasts and dancers. Clearly distinguishing themselves as different from Lowe’s wolf persona, but were taught the “werewolf walk” McGill had been practicing by the good ol’ Reverend himself.

The congregation of wolves were broken down into three groups. One group had radio transmitting facial features providing movement in the ears, forehead, and mouth. The second bunch had a “tongue device”; allowing the performing to snarl with simply moving the device around with well, their tongue. The third had no special effects at all other than makeup and served as the background werewolves.

And since it’s such a wonderful sequence, let’s give it a watch.

In conclusion, there was a lot of pain-staking elements involved in the productions of these creatures. And while some may mock Rambaldi’s werewolf concept, including that of Producer Dino De Laurentiis, it was the only one that gave me nightmares when I was a kid. That has to account for something!

Silver Bullet [Blu-ray]