Silver Bullet Blu Ray Review (Umbrella Entertainment)
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 Umbrella Entertainment! 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’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 Umbrella Entertainment. 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 Umbrella Entertainment! “Audio Commentary” # 1 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” #2 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. “Dino’s Angel Takes on Lycanthropy: Martha De Laurentiis Remembers Silver Bullet” is a 25 minute interview with the producer. She talks about how she got started in the film industry. Wolfen was her first professional job in it. She chats about her working relationship with Dino De Laurentiis. She discusses a few Stephen King projects that she worked like Firestarter & Cat’s Eye. She first met King on the set of Dead Zone. She chats about making films in North Carolina & building a studio there. She talks about turning the Cycle of the Werewolf novel into the Silver Bullet film. She talks about the werewolf genre & gives her thoughts on it. She chats about how they found the director for this & gave Daniel Attias his first chance to make a film. She discusses the cast & what made the producers put them in Silver Bullet. This is exclusive to this release & it’s not available anywhere else. “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 exclusive artwork on the front cover. It has reversible original artwork on the other side. It’s an all region blu ray. 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!!!!