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Silver Bullet

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Daniel Attias
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Written by Stephen King
Starring Corey Haim
Gary Busey
Megan Follows
Everett McGill
Robin Groves
Music by Jay Chattaway
Cinematography Armando Nannuzzi
Editing by Daniel Loewenthal
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) October 11, 1985 (1985-10-11)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Silver Bullet is a 1985 horror film based on the Stephen King novella Cycle of the Werewolf. It stars Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Megan Follows, Corey Haim, Terry O'Quinn, Lawrence Tierney, Bill Smitrovich, Kent Broadhurst, David Hart, and James Gammon. The film is directed by Dan Attias and produced by Dino De Laurentiis.

In 1988 (three years after the film's release), it screened at Fantasporto in the running for "Best Film".

Plot

The film is set in the small rural town of Tarker's Mills, Maine, and opens with the death of a railroad worker, Arnie Westrum (Gammon). Although he was murdered by a werewolf, the county coroner believes that Arnie passed out on the railroad tracks and was run over by a train.

Later on, a local woman, Stella Randolph (Wendy Walker), is slaughtered in her bedroom. This murder goes unsolved and the townsfolk become worried.

Jane Costlaw (Follows), the narrator of the film, is the oldest sister in a family of four. Her narration centers on her relationship with her younger, paraplegic brother Marty (Haim). The story develops around the rocky relationship between the "handicapped" little brother and the over-burdened older sister; a relationship that is strained from the start. The next victim, Milt Sturmfuller (James A. Baffico), is a drunken "redneck", whose daughter is Marty's girlfriend, who hears someone destroying his flower pots in a shed not far from his house. Believing it is a gang of mischievous teenagers, Sturmfuller plans to scare them off with a shotgun. Instead, he encounters the werewolf and is killed, which sends his family away.

It isn't until the brutal slaying of a teenager, Brady Kincaid (Joe Wright), that the townsfolk are on the verge of abandoning local authority and seeking their own kind of "private justice." In the middle of the melee is a Christian Church pastor, Lester Lowe (McGill), who initially parades as a concerned member of the community, attempting to prevent the townsfolk from causing further bloodshed.

A posse goes out to hunt the werewolf. Several of them are attacked and killed, including Owen Knopfler (Tierney), although the survivors of the encounter later deny seeing anything unusual.

Common sense comes in the form of alcoholic Uncle Red (Busey). His "no care in the world" approach to life is a pleasant contrast to the prudish demeanor of some of the people in town. Uncle Red builds a wheelchair/motorcycle for his nephew's birthday, which he nicknames the "Silver Bullet". Marty uses that vehicle to go out in the middle of the night to a small bridge where he lights fireworks. At that moment he is confronted by the werewolf and barely escapes with his life by launching a rocket into the left eye of the creature.

Marty enlists the help of Jane to look for someone with a newly injured or missing left eye. The search is conducted under the cover of a bottle drive, so as not to arouse suspicion. The person turns out to be Reverend Lowe. That begins a cat and mouse chase between the siblings and the Reverend, in an effort to discover and disclose his lunar transformations. Lowe, as it turns out, rationalizes his murders as an effort to save sinners from eternal damnation in hell, which doesn't explain Brady's death. He therefore sets out to kill Marty and, by now, it is realized by 'him' that Lowe is completely insane. Finally, the siblings manage to convince Red that Lowe is behind the murders. Uncle Red then convinces local Sheriff Joe Haller (O'Quinn) to investigate the Reverend. That night, Haller, skeptical about Lowe at first but desperate to find a killer, is shocked to discover evidence that at least some of Marty's story may be true. Haller finds Lowe, who has locked himself in his garage but, before he can arrest him, Lowe transforms and kills Haller.

At the end of the film, Red, Marty, and Jane have a final showdown with the werewolf. The only thing that stands between their survival and a horrible death is a silver bullet. Marty shoots the werewolf in the right eye, killing him. Afterwards, the brother/sister bond between Marty and Jane is strengthened.

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