CULT DOUBLE-SHOT: Silver Bullet Blu-ray Review (Umbrella Entertainment)

CULT DOUBLE-SHOT: Silver Bullet Blu-ray Review (Umbrella Entertainment)
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Silver Bullet is a loose adaptation of Stephen King’s novelette Cycle of the Werewolf, and while the actual cycle from the story has been mostly cut from the film, director Daniel Attias (his first feature film at the time, now well-known for his direction of popular television shows) manages to wring a lot of the tension and humor out of the short tale. While Silver Bullet is often forgotten as part of the werewolf genre, it sits comfortably in the same vein as other ’80s monster movies like Fright Night and The Monster Squad. At Cultsploitation, we’re often interested in having dialogues about films rather than solo reviews, and that’s why Michael and Ryne are doing a double-shot of Silver Bullet

The Film

Michael

I personally haven’t read Cycle of the Werewolf (I’m slowly working through King’s work in order of publication), so I can’t comment on how well or how not well it translates his novelette into the movie. Nevertheless, what I can tell is I really get a kick out of Silver Bullet, as it offers plenty of humorous moments tinged with horror, and for once Gary Busey isn’t wacked out on whatever drugs he takes nowadays.

Ryne

I have read both Cycle of the Werewolf and seen Silver Bullet previously, but I’ve gotta say I can’t remember either of them too well. However, re-watching Silver Bullet left me ravenous for more – the one thing I particularly like about it is the younger character focus, with both Corey Haim and Megan Follows putting in excellent performances. The film has a lot of the same aspects as some of King’s other works like It or Stand By Me (AKA “The Body”): focusing on growing up, while also dealing with a monstrous issue that is basically a metaphor for life. In this case, the outstanding element is Marty’s disability, which gives the film its name and also has a pretty forward-thinking theme: don’t let a disability define you, delivered by, of all people, Uncle Red (Busey). 

Michael

Damn, now how do I follow that up without looking dumb. Werewolves are cool and hairy!  

Ryne

Maybe talk about the false sentimentality of the film? I love the sitcom-esque music cues.

Michael

That’s actually the first thing I noticed in the movie. The music seemed oddly out of place at times, which is funny, as Umbrella Entertainment have dedicated an entire feature to music. It isn’t terrible or anything, just really odd.

Ryne

There is a weird tendency for the film to show some particularly gory scene like a group of vigilantes getting ripped apart by the killer werewolf, then launching into a tender uncle/nephew bonding moment when Uncle Red gifts Marty with a completely dangerous wheelchair-dirtbike thing. Still, I kind of love the cheesiness of it all and it’s kind of surprising when Silver Bullet moves into grim territory. It’s especially apparent with the werewolf himself; Everett McGill states that he really wanted the transformation to look like the human character was in an exorbitant amount of pain, to really highlight the “curse” part of being a werewolf.

Michael

Speaking of the werewolf transformations, I find it surprising that Silver Bullet doesn’t come up more in conversations in regards to on-screen transformations. The entire make-up crew did an amazing job on it. I would rank it as one of the better werewolf designs. Obviously, it doesn’t beat An American Werewolf in London, but it’s high on my list. 

Ryne

Yeah I agree, I think they did a great job with most of the transformations (and they even go the distance with a lot of werewolf transformations in one scene). I think that Silver Bullet is a film of love for the werewolf genre, and I had a lot of fun with it – maybe even more now than the first time I saw it.

Michael

Silver Bullet has always remained in my head ever since seeing it, but now seeing it on this very well done Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment, it has opened up entirely new appreciation for the flick.

The Blu-ray

Ryne

Umbrella has done a great job with this Blu-ray, with a nice transfer that still retains a healthy dosage of grain and occasional white noise in darker scenes. While the film doesn’t look as pristine as some other movies released around the same time period (some debris, scratches), it is the source material, not Umbrella’s transfer, that is to blame.

Michael

Likewise, I didn’t have any issues with the transfer and audio. It might have been soft at times or like you said, a bit of debris and damage, but nothing that was terrible. I did compare screengrabs with the KOCH release and it does seem like there might be a bit of compression with the Umbrella release, but it’s quite small. Unless you sit with your nose on the screen, you won’t see it.

Ryne

I think where the Blu-ray really shines is its special features. Besides Daniel Attias’ audio commentary, there are some great interviews Everett McGill and, even more interesting, a discussion about the special effects work. I know that a lot of people will want to jump right into that conversation. 

Michael

The special features almost make this a Collector’s Edition, as it’s pretty crammed full. As I mentioned before, the audio interview, which plays throughout the entire film, was very surprising. 

Ryne

I love that Umbrella and some other companies are doing things like that, much different than a standard commentary. And overall, there’s over an hour of extras here. Definitely worth a look for anyone wanting to own Silver Bullet on Blu-ray.

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