Click here to learn more about anamorphic widescreen!
Go to the Home Page
Go to The Rumor Mill
Go to Todd Doogan's weekly column
Go to the Reviews Page
Go to the Trivia Contest Page
Go to the Upcoming DVD Artwork Page
Go to the DVD FAQ & Article Archives
Go to our DVD Links Section
Go to the Home Theater Forum for great DVD discussion
Find out how to advertise on The Digital Bits

Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 5/24/02



Silver Bullet
1985 (2002) - Paramount

review by Dan Kelly of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Silver Bullet

Film Rating: B-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B-/F

Specs and Features

94 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, film-themed menu screens, scene access (18 chapters), languages: English and French (DD mono), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

"Holy jumped-up baldheaded Jesus palomino" (actual line of dialogue from Silver Bullet)

Stephen King's Silver Bullet features what has got to be one of the worst looking werewolves in the history of cinema. Far from impressive (or even scary), this thing looks like a poorly assembled, anorexic teddy bear with press-on nails as claws. Kinda makes you wonder exactly why Paramount is so quick to tout Carlo Rambaldi's monster effects on the DVD packaging. It also has the same characters you'll find in just about any King novel - the religious zealot, the nostalgic lead character that provides voice-over as an adult looking back on the story, the local drunk, the quaint small town, an angry mob and more. The film is ripe with alarmingly bad dialogue ("Jane's walking around with all these new clothes showing off her tits, acting like nobody ever had tits before her.") and one god-awful dream sequence that features a half werewolf/half church parishioner type beasty banging out a ditty on an organ. All this has the makings of a bad, bad movie, or one hell of a good bad movie.

Story, schmory, but I'll keep it simple here. Little Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) and his big sister Jane (Megan Follows) live in the small town of Tarker's Mills in 1979 (though everything looks suspiciously 80's). One by one, the town folk are quickly being offed by someone or something whenever there's a full moon. Good ole Uncle Red (Gary Busey) comes to live with the Coslaws after his newest wife kicks him out for downing one 40-ounce too many. The kids have a somewhat sympathetic ear in uncle Red, and they assault him with their werewolf theories whenever they get the chance. With a souped-up motorized wheelchair courtesy of Uncle Redneck, Marty is hot on the trail of the unidentified flesh-nibbler. It's not long before Marty comes eye to eye with the furry creature, and he and Jane devise a plan to rid Tarker's Mills of the mutt once and for all.

Sound like a real award-winner? Well, no, far from it. But somehow, through all its inadequacies, Silver Bullet manages to be amusing. It could very well be entertaining simply because it's so awful, but the movie has all the ingredients of an old-fashioned Universal Studios-type monster movie and then some. Yeah, so the extraordinary amount of gore gets in the way of seeing it as a product of that classic genre. This film is just as bloody as any other out and out slasher released in the same decade. The identity of the mystery werewolf is hardly a mystery, and King (who adapted the script from his own novelette Cycle of the Werewolf) doesn't even try to throw in a red herring to try and throw you off the trail. Whether or not you'll enjoy it depends on your idea of a good time. If you're like me and enjoy watching people fumble through a crap script, cheesy makeup effects and a total absence of logic, then look no further. Silver Bullet is the crown prince of silly 80's horror!

What does $24.99 get your from Paramount? Decent picture and sound, but not a whole lot on the extras side of things. For starters, Silver Bullet is released for the first time ever on home video in its original 2.35:1 anamorphic format. I was pleasantly surprised to see the film looking as good as it does here. If, like most people, you've only seen the film on home video or television broadcast, you've missed quite a bit of the picture (or you've seen too much, depending on your opinion of the film). The source print is in very good condition and shows signs of only minor age-related defects. Color reproduction is accurate and retains a crisp, if only slightly dated demeanor, and black levels are suitably dark and flawless. Transfer associated imperfections are nonexistent, with no compression artifacting to dirty up the image. Now and again, you'll see some grain, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Audio offers the film only in its original English mono and a French-dubbed mono track. Nothing too exciting here, but dialogue is even and the average music track occasionally distracts from the onscreen absurdities. Like many low budget audio mixes, it has a tendency to take on a dull sound that lacks any sort of dynamic range. I guess hoping Paramount would at least bump the mix up to a surround mix was expecting too much.

Paramount played a nice little joke on the consumer. There's a little label in the Special Features box that reads "special features not rated." Sure they're not rated. There's nothing to rate. Not even the theatrical trailer or a few obligatory production notes. They're fond of the creature makeup in Silver Bullet over there at Paramount, so maybe a featurette on the men and women that gave Sparky the Bear a werewolf makeover is in order. Bottom line - I guess is that if you're going to offer a featureless disc, I think the very least you can do for the buyer is to lower the price to reflect the void of features.

The good here is that the video quality of the DVD is great. The bad is that there isn't much else to the disc. My feeling is that fans of the film - and you know who you are - will want to pick this up to see how the film should look on home video. All things considered, Silver Bullet is an over-achiever in the picture department. If you're just brushing up on your fun and mindlessly goofy horror films, watch Return of the Living Dead (making its DVD debut later this summer) and Silver Bullet. Just don't blame me if you don't like it.

Dan Kelly
dankelly@thedigitalbits.com




E-mail the Bits!


Don't #!@$ with the Monkey! Site designed for 800 x 600 resolution, using 16M colors and .gif 89a animation.
© 1997-2002 The Digital Bits, Inc., All Rights Reserved.
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com