Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Classics: SILVER BULLET

Do you know what happens when you type Martha Schumacher into the search engine of IMDB.COM? I will tell ya. You are directed to Martha De Laurentiis. A VERY interesting twist to the whole production of SILVER BULLET. But more on that later...

Based on the novella, Cycle of The Werewolf" by famed horror writer, Stephen King, SILVER BULLET bites off just the right amount it can chew. King is so vivid with detail, but is able to let your imagination run wild at the same time, so movie projects of his work are preposterous in the hands of a ill fitted director. His best films like THE SHINING and CARRIE are handled with such originality that they sort of become their own thing. His worst, LAWNMOWER MAN and GRAVEYARD SHIFT, seem to be so off mark that they are just about unwatchable. Luckily, SILVER BULLET fell into the hands of Daniel Attias. It would be his only feature film, though he would go on to directed critically acclaimed TV series. Also, King penned the screenplay and it's fun to see him expand the characters from a fairly short book for him. And of note, the werewolf was created by legendary special effects person, Carlo Rambaldi. Yeah, that guy who created E.T.! So, the design is spot on. Surprisingly, the film failed to connect with audiences and it was resigned to video store fodder. Now, over 25 years later, SILVER BULLET has been a New Classic.



Of course, the biggest draw to SILVER BULLET is Corey Haim. He is oozing with charm and wit. He sports a killer smile, a kicking hair cut and an acting range you wouldn't expect from someone his age. Sadly, it would only be a couple of years after SILVER BULLET that he would become just another Hollywood Potter and ultimately give his life to a world that continued to spiral out of control. We are very fortunate to have a handful of great films from him, because when he was on he was ON! Alright now.

We start with a female voice-over telling us about the night the drunk train operator got beheaded in 1976. Any movie that starts off with a beheading is fine with me. The sheriff finds a BIG footprint and hears howls all around, but the death is ruled an accident. Flash forward to present day and it the day of the big parade/festival in Tarker's Mill, Maine. Terry O'Quinn is the sheriff and Corey Haim is immediately called a "booger" and told he is a cross to bear by his older sister. Typical. She helps her little brother out of the car and into his wheelchair. Yes, Haim is in a wheelchair the whole movie. And he sells it. I really only can compare him to the kid in Mac And Me and he is still pretty good. He goes wheeling off in the dirt and the sister storms off to flirt with townies that are holding snakes. Little bro pulls a prank that leaves her covered in mud and with ripped pantyhose. He thought it would be funny. It was not. That night the moon lights up the sky in all of it's fullness....

The next day, a suicidal knocked up town tramp is found mangled. Everyone seems on edge, but not overly worried. Corey shows how he can get out of his chair and onto his GREMLINS chair/stair lift all by himself and Mom has to deal with drunk uncle played by the great Gary Busey. He ab libs everything, but you know what? He is kinda funny. That night the abusive dad of the girl Corey has a crush on gets it! She is removed by social services and we never get to learn if her southern accent was real or not, since sometimes she had it sometimes she didn't. A crazy person states, "The face of the beast always becomes known." He then follows that up with, "Time of the beast always passes." How poetic.

We get treated to a great "THERE'S A MANIAC ON THE LOOSE! STAY INSIDE!" montage. Lots of little old ladies scooting a little faster than normal and store fronts turning their OPEN sign to CLOSE even though sales of shotguns and caskets have skyrocketed. As usual, you can't keep the bar crowd home. When Corey's best friend is murdered while flying his THE HOWLING kite, the town turns on the sheriff and forms a mob. The embark on one of the scariest manhunts in a werewolf movie. One guy gets himself into some bear trap grossness and another makes lemonade in his pants, according to one of the locals. Most of the cast has to move around through waist deep fog while something stalks them under the fog!! SCARY!!!

The time frame of the movie doesn't really seem to make any sense. I think it is suppose to be every full moon, so that would be every month, but in Tarker's Mill, Maine it seems the moon stays full for weeks on end. But you don't really care. All the good stuff happens during the full moon anyway. Hot preacher man has to host a triple casket funeral and then the entire church turns into werewolves. Even the organ player turns and pounds on the organ keys. With all the murders and funeral, the town decides to cancel the Gala Fair and Fireworks. Townspeople are packing up their shit and getting the F out of dodge, but Corey's parents seems to consider the rash of murders and that two of them were closely related to the son a non concern. Since the fair got cancelled they decide to have their own party, BBQ style! Drunk uncle shows up with a present for Corey and this is the point when the movie becomes unbelievably inspiring. Corey gets a super up ass kicker with it's own name. They call it SILVER BULLET!



For the rest of the movie we get shots of Corey in the Silver Bullet being pulled by a truck or a stunt driver doing some amazing road work, but Corey does pop a wheelie. It seemed off script and he seemed to be rather proud of himself when he did it. It was pretty impressive, I must say. Late one night, he is out in the woods shooting fireworks and gets greeted by a werewolf, being the GIT IT BOY that he is, he immediately launches a firecracker into the wolf's eye and sends him packing. The next day he enlist his sister to go nose around the town looking for one eyed citizens. Since most people have two eyes it shouldn't be hard to figure out. We get this outstanding sequence of older sis pretending to collect bottles for the church charity, but she is really checking up on shit. She doesn't really believe her little brother, but he was so passionate in his explanation that she must react. Like a good sister with two working legs should. Don't be a hag, just go see what's up. When she finally discovers the one town folk missing an eye, she knows that little bro is on to something....


Then it is one of the best brother/sister team up as they enlist drunk uncle to help them get rid of the werewolf. Corey pulls off his necklace and places it in Gary Busey's hand and says, "I want you to turn this into a silver bullet." AND HE AGREES!! I almost wept! Then sister (sporting a kicking sideways ponytail) pulls hers off too and tells him to do the same thing. We get a weird long in the tooth montage of the bullets being made. I like watching how things are made so it is somewhat interesting, then we get to the full blown throw down between Team Silver Bullet and Team Full Moon. It's a great battle and a slam bang finale to a great film. I love that the parents leave the kids for the weekend, even though the murders are still happening and Corey has been attacked twice. The car is still driving down the road, when the werewolf shows up and cuts the lights. Drunk Uncle gets tossed and the silver bullet goes flying across in the room and into the heating duct!!! But GIT IT BOY doesn't let things like that stop him. The ending is so wonderful it makes me tear up. I love a good cry in a werewolf movie.

Also, sister is played by Megan Follows who later would be land a dream role that would make her a star. So, you get to see Anne Of Green Gables battle a werewolf! Don't back Anne Of Green Gables in a corner, she will take your ass DOWN!
THAT IS MOVIE MAGIC!!!!




*****OF NOTE*******
As stated before Martha Schumacher, producer of SILVER BULLET and wife to one Joel Schumacher, dumped said Schumacher and married the other producer on the film Dino De Laurentiis. Power move.

1 comment:

  1. Joel Schumacher was married TO A LADY?!?!? HUNH?!?!

    ReplyDelete