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Silver Bullet (Shout! Factory) UHD/Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Silver Bullet (Shout! Factory) UHD/Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: December 5th, 2023.
    Director: Daniel Attias
    Cast: Wendy Walker, Terry O'Quinn, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Megan Follows, Bill Smitrovich
    Year: 1985
    Purchase From Amazon

    Silver Bullet – Movie Review:

    Set in the small town of Tarker's Mill, Maine in the summer of 1975, Silver Bullet (loosely based on the Stephen King/Bernie Wrightson collaboration Cycle Of The Werewolf) opens with the murder of a railroad worker, his severed head found not too far from his body. The cops investigate and figure it could have been an accident - after all, he had a bit of a drinking problem. Shortly after, however, Stella Randolph (Wendy Walker) is ripped to shreds in her own living room… clearly not an accident.

    The cops, led by Sheriff Joe Haller (Terry O'Quinn), can't quite seem to figure out who is behind the murders. This doesn't go over well with Andy Fairton (Bill Smitrovich), who takes it upon himself to form an angry mob of townspeople to see that justice is served. It doesn't stop the murders, a kid named Brady (Joe Wright) turns out to be the next victim. Reverend Lowe (Everett McGill) does what he can to keep his congregation calm, but understandably the townsfolk are upset. Things get interesting when a paraplegic kid named Marty (Corey Haim) encounters a werewolf. He fires a bottle rocket into the beast's eye and sends it away. Marty tells his Uncle Red (Gary Busey) what happened but of course, he doesn't believe him. The only one who does is his sister Jane (Megan Follows)… but the town will find out that Marty is telling the truth soon enough.

    While the film's modest budget shows through in the effects set pieces featured towards the end of the film but for the most part, Silver Bullet holds up pretty well. Like most of King's work, it deals with family, with alcoholism and with the dark secrets of a small town - most of the common themes of his work from this era are apparent in the story. The film moves at a good pace, builds suspense well and features a strong score from Jay Chattaway that does a nice job of accentuating the tension, drama and horror inherent in the picture. Those werewolf effects though… they're not great and never convincing. This does hurt the movie in its last twenty-minutes or so, but at the same time, fans of practical effects work will appreciate what went into these sequences even if they pale in comparison to other eighties werewolf films like An American Werewolf In London or The Howling.

    Performances, however, are pretty strong across the board. Director Daniel Attias gets the most out of a talented case. Terry O'Quinn, who is really a criminally underrated actor, is great as the cop tasked with trying to spot a stop to the rash of killings in his town. He's convincingly tough enough but at the same time, handles the more dramatic side of his character just as well. Gary Busey as the hard-drinking Uncle Red is in fine form here, his on-screen relationship with Hiam and Follows giving the film a bit of welcome heart. Bill Smitrovich does a fine job as the disgruntled leader of the town mob while Big Ed himself, Everett McGill, steals pretty much every scene he's in as Reverend Lowe.

    Silver Bullet – UHD Review:

    The HEVC encoded 2160p transfer, framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and featuring HDR10 and Dolby Vision enhancement, is taken from a new 4k scan of the original 35mm negative. Detail is really nice here and the colors look excellent. There’s more depth on the UHD than on the Blu-ray edition and the colors pop just a bit more. Texture is always impressive and skin tones look lifelike and natural throughout. There’s really no print damage to note at all, just some natural film grain, and the image shows no problems with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts.

    An English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track handles is the only option provided for the feature but it gets the job done without any issues. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. Dialogue stays clean, clear and easy to follow and the score has good range and presence to it. There are no audible problems with any hiss or distortion to note. The audio here is just fine.

    Extras are spread across the two discs in the set as follows:

    Disc One –UHD:

    The only new extra on this release is an audio commentary from Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler of The Kingcast podcast. They cover the origins of the story, how it started as an idea for a horror-themed calendar, Bernie Wrightson's artwork for what turned out to be the novella Cycle Of The Werewolf, how the book came to be adapted for the screen, thoughts on the different cast members and their performances, the small town atmosphere that permeates this and other works by King, how Daniel Attias came to direct, some of the more questionable plot points and lots more. It's a fun talk, delivering solid information but done with a sense of humor but without the track coming across as a joke.

    Carried over from the previous release is an audio commentary featuring producer Martha De Laurentiis, moderated by Michael Felsher. She speaks here about connecting with King and bringing him on board, getting her start in the business, casting the picture, the location and effects work and plenty more. Felsher always does a great job as a moderator on the commentary tracks he's involved with and he keeps her on point and engaged throughout.

    Also carried over from the last release is an audio commentary featuring director Daniel Attias moderated by Michael Felsher. It's a genuinely interesting track with Attias going into quite a bit of detail about how he got into filmmaking, how this particular film came to be, King's thoughts on the story and changes that were made to make Silver Bullet out of Cycle Of The Werewolf, locations and effects work and of course, what it was like directing various cast members involved in the shoot. Felsher keeps him engaged and there's a lot of great information packed into this track.

    Shout! also carries over another alternate audio track that contains isolated score selections as well as an audio interview with composer Jay Chattaway, again moderated by Felsher. Here Chattaway gives us a quick rundown on his career, discussing some of his early projects and then later talking up his work on Silver Bullet, what he and his team did to try and make the score stand out, using actual howling wolf sound samples in the music to interesting effect and quite a bit more.

    Disc Two – Blu-ray:

    The Blu-ray includes the same three commentary tracks that are found on the UHD and also ports over the featurettes from the previous Blu-ray release starting with the twelve-minute A Little Private Justice interview with actor Kent Broadhurst. HE speaks quite candidly about his part in the film and his character and details in an amusing fashion what was involved in his 'grief' sequence. He also talks about some of the effects set pieces in the film. Cutting To The Bone gets editor Daniel Loewenthal in front of the camera for seventeen-minutes to share some stories about how he got his start cutting adult movies before then moving on to more mainstream fare starting with Mother's Day for Troma. He then talks about some of the other films he made and then about working on Silver Bullet, how he tried to enhance tension in a few scenes, the limitations of what he had to work with, and how the film performed when it finally hit the screen. Both of these are quite interesting and worth checking out.

    The sixteen-minute The Wolf Within is an interview with actor Evertt McGill in which he talks about his character and the challenges that there were plahing him, his thoughts on Attias as a director and quite a bit more. Last but not least, Full Moon Fever, which runs twenty-one minutes, interviews SFX artists Michael McCracken Jr. and Matthew Mungle who talk about how they landed jobs on this production after Stan Winston recommended them (he passed on the film). They also talk about the difficulties that they encountered on set and their interactions with Attias.

    Rounding out the extras nicely are the film's original theatrical trailer, a single TV spot, a single radio spot, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the first pressing of this release comes with a slipcover.

    Silver Bullet - The Final Word:

    Shout! Factory has done a really nice job bringing Silver Bullet to UHD, porting over everything from the previous Blu-ray release and throwing in a new commentary track as well0. The presentation is solid and a nice upgrade from the 1080p edition, and the disc is loaded with some strong supplements that do a great job of documenting the film's history. As to the movie itself, it holds up well as a really entertaining monster movie made with an interesting cast.



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Silver Bullet Blu-ray screen caps!

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    • Trench
      #1
      Trench commented
      Editing a comment
      The colors look way boosted on this disc. Like, a lot. Not sure what went on here.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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