Silver Bullet Collector’s Edition Blu Ray Review (Scream Factory)
Silver Bullet is a 1985 horror film directed by Daniel Attias (The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under, House, & Big Love). This was Attias’s only full length studio feature film in his entire career. He is a veteran television director & he has worked on almost everything possible when comes to that type of the work which includes Miami Vice, Wolf, 21 Jump Street, Northern Exposure, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Deadwood, Heroes, Lost, CSI: Miami, Alias, The Walking Dead, True Blood, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, True Detective, Ray Donovan, The Americans, Homeland, & various others. He also directed a TV movie in 2007 titled Zip. Daniel Attias came back to the world of Stephen King in 2018 to direct Hulu’s Castle Rock. Speaking of the legendary Stephen King (IT, Creepshow, Castle Rock, The Stand, Pet Sematary, & Maximum Overdrive) this film is based off his Cycle of the Werewolf novel. He also wrote the screenplay for Silver Bullet. It had several changes & differences from the original book. It was produced by notorious film producer Dino De Laurentiis (Red Dragon, Army of Darkness, Year of the Dragon, & King Kong) & his wife Martha (Hannibal TV series, King Kong Lives, Silver Bullet, Cat’s Eye, & Firestarter). Don Coscarelli (Phantasm franchise) was the original director but left the project due to creative differences. The budget for the film was around $7,000,000 & it ended up making $12,361,866 at the box office for Paramount Pictures!!!!
Tarker’s Mills, Maine is where all this takes place. It’s during spring & the year is 1976. Mysterious murders & deaths are happening all over in this small rural town all the sudden. The town wants to carry out their own brand of justice on this vicious serial killer led by gun shop owner Andy Fairton (played by: Bill Smitrovich from Ted 1/2, Iron Man, Manhunter, The Phantom, & Millennium). Sheriff Joe Haller (played by: Terry O’ Quinn from The Stepfather 1/2, Lost, Millenniumm, Alias, Young Guns, The Rocketeer, & Primal Fear) & his only Deputy Pete Sylvester (played by: David Hart from In the Heat of the Night TV Series) try to stop the locals from taking out their frustration on the wrong person & they want to handle everything themselves but it ends up being a bloody mess. Reverend Lester Lowe (played by: Everett McGill from Twin Peaks, The People under the Stairs, Dune, Heartbreak Ridge, & Under Siege 2: Dark Territory) tries to stop all the violence & wants everyone to settle down before even more damage is done! Curfews are put in place to prevent anymore disasters around there.
The annual fair & fireworks show is also cancelled. The Coslaw family have their own backyard party & invite Uncle Red (played by: Gary Busey from Lethal Weapon, Under Siege, Point Break, & Predator 2). He gives Marty a custom made wheelchair & motorcycle hybrid that that ends up being called the Silver Bullet. Marty has a confrontation with a werewolf & barely escapes after wounding the monster. He tells his sister about his dangerous encounter. The two curious siblings who love to fight Marty (played by: Corey Haim from The Lost Boys 1/2, Watchers, Crank: High Voltage, License to Drive, & Dream a Little Dream 1/2) & Jane Coslaw (played by: Megan Follows from Reign & Matt and Jenny) decide to do their own investigation on these strange events going on in their community. They dig deeper & find out who has been causing chaos in their little quiet town. It’s something more than a man, it’s a beast with uncontrollable desires that leads to destruction. A deadly game of cat & mouse starts between the three. No one seems to believes them. Can they stop this evil before it’s too late? Never trust anyone!!!!
Silver Bullet is hands down one of the best werewolf films ever made. It’s also one of the best adaptations from horror master Stephen King. The source material & the dialogue are top notch here. The main cast & the supporting characters elevate the already great words written for this. Especially Everett McGill, Corey Haim, & Gary Busey. I think it’s some of their best work & it still holds up after all these years. It features many familiar faces like Lawrence Tierney (Reservoir Dogs), James Gammon (Major League 1/2), Robin Groves (The Nesting), Leon Russom (The Big Lebowski), Kent Broadhurst (The Dark Half), James A. Baffico (Dawn of the Dead), William Newman (Monkey Shines), Graham Smith (Trick or Treat), & Paul Butler (Golden Years). It switches tones from a family drama to a gruesome werewolf film with slasher tendencies. The director delivers enough gore to make any fan of the genre happy with the end results. The music & special effects bring back memories from my favorite time in horror, the 80s! This has everything that a fan would want & expect from this type of feature. The family has great chemistry in this. This is a very fun & entertaining film that moves at a good pace. The editing is on point, there’s never a dull moment in this. It’s small town environment adds to the atmosphere for this brutal situation where you don’t know who to trust!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Scream Factory! This 1080p (2.35:1) transfer is definitely better than past releases & it’s a pretty big upgrade compared to those from back in the day. I reviewed the Umbrella Entertainment blu ray from last year & it’s same as this one right here. I’ve owned Silver Bullet in various different formats including VHS & DVD, this is a major improvement. It’s the best it’s ever looked so far on home video. This is a catalog title so yes the transfer is a little older but I am very happy that it gets a revisit from the great folks at Scream Factory. It has the same audio as the Umbrella Entertainment release. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is better than expected especially for a late 80s horror flick. The dialogue is crystal clear, all the madness is elevated, & the music actually sounds great here. The score from Jay Chattaway (Maniac, Vigilante, Missing in Action 1/3, Invasion U.S.A., & Maniac Cop 1/2) really shines on this track & it adds to the high definition presentation experience with this. It also includes English SDH subtitles. This one takes you back to the 80s & shows you when horror dominated the industry!
Let’s discuss the special features from Scream Factory! “Audio Commentary” # 1 with producer Martha De Laurentiis & moderated by Red Shirt Pictures own Michael Felsher. This is a brand new track & it’s exclusive to this Scream Factory release. She talks about working with the master of horror Stephen King before on Cat’s Eye & getting him involved with this project. She chats about getting her start in the business as a book keeper. She talks about Dino & her relationship with him. She brings all the different projects he worked & how the business has changed so much since then. She mentions putting together the cast, the fx, & the locations for the production. She has a great memory & she’s very fond of Silver Bullet. It’s a fun track to check out from the producer/ “Audio Commentary” # 2 with director Daniel Attias & moderated by Red Shirt Pictures own Michael Felsher. He talks about how he got into the film industry. He says this was his first paid gig. He chats about working with Stephen King & some of the changes made from the original material. Gary Busey changed some stuff up while filming. He mentions other cast members & how he found them for this feature. He tells some stories about the production. He mentions the different tones used in this & how he felt pressure to use more gore to satisfy the producers. He talks about showing the werewolf less made a bigger impact. He talks a little about his impressive TV career. “Audio Commentary” #3 with composer Jay Chattaway. You get the enjoy the score for Silver Bullet plus basically get an additional comments from the composer through out the entire film. So it’s a good mix of an isolated score with additional commentary every once awhile about the project & his career. “A Little Private Justice” is a brand new exclusive almost 12 minute interview with actor Kent Broadhurst. He brings up his previous acting experiences. He chats about his role in Silver Bullet & how he could relate to certain stuff for it. He brings up doing scenes in one take. He talks about the crazy church scene with werewolves & fx from the feature. He mentions they had problems with the fx so he told the director not to worry about the prop & just focus on his performance. He goes over the rest of his overall experience from the shoot & brings up checking it out after it was done with friends when it was released. “Cutting to the Bone” is a brand new exclusive almost 17 minute interview with editor Daniel Loewenthal. He chats about his start as an editor. He brings up creating the right tone & pace for suspense. How it makes or breaks a film. He talks about how this Silver Bullet film saved him. He goes into detail how he got the gig & his process working on it. Basically all kinds of editors turned it down so he got the opportunity because they needed someone for it ASAP. He brings up previous work like porn, Mother’s Day, Missing in Action, & Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. He says Silver Bullet is one of the better werewolf movies made & it’s still one of the best. He mentions that he directed the transformation scene & Terry O’ Quinn wasn’t happy about it since he wasn’t the real director. He says Dino had issues with the look of the werewolf at first for this. He brings up working with the legendary producer. He says he loved the chemistry & family environment for the movie.
“The Wolf Within” is a 16 minute interview with actor Everett McGill. He says he only originally wanted to play Reverend Lester Lowe & someone else to play the werewolf version. That didn’t work out so he played both since he respected Dino so much. He chats about his character in this & the transformations he went through for it. He talks about working with the director on this. He says he knew how to talk to his actors & that he was very organized in his work. “Full Moon Fever” is a 21 minute interview with special effects artists Michael McCracken, Jr. & Matthew Mungle. They talk about how they met on another film. They tell some great behind the scenes for this production. Stan Winston was originally offered the job but turned it down but he recommended them for it. They were in charge of the transformations & the hallucination werewolves. They chat about a disastrous shoot on a death scene that didn’t work out as planned. They said one of the actors made up as a werewolf from the church scene refused to take his make up off every night. They found out he was going to sex parties as the monster. The women loved him as a werewolf. Last not least, you get some promotional materials which include the “Theatrical Trailer”, “TV Spot, Radio Spot”, & a 6 minute “Still Gallery”. It also has an amazing slipcover with artwork from artist Devon Whitehead. It has reversible original artwork on the other side. This definitely has more extras & exclusives compared to the original Umbrella Entertainment blu ray release so if you are into that, it’s worth adding to your collection. If you don’t own this at all, this is a must have for any horror fan & it needs to be added to your Stephen King pile ASAP! It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!