Stephen King’s ‘Silver Bullet’ Shines in 4K [Review]

Silver Bullet

Typically when making a “monster movie” the star of the show is the beast itself. But the 1985 film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1983 novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, retitled Silver Bullet, is an exception. The main draw here is the mystery of who among the townsfolk of Tarker’s Mill is secretly a werewolf. Of equal interest are the familial bonds, between Marty (Corey Haim) and his sister, Jane (Megan Follows), as well as the strong kinship Marty shares with his Uncle Red (Gary Busey), a man who struggles with addiction and direction but always shows up for his nephew.

Director Daniel Attias, working from a script by King himself, manages to capture the spirit of halcyon youth; those carefree days in a small town, playing pranks and lighting fireworks and staying out all night long without a worry in the world. Only worry has come to Tarker’s Mill—worry in the form of a… mangy black bear?

Therein lies the biggest, and arguably only, problem with Silver Bullet: the werewolf design is a dud. Too bad because it was sculpted by legendary Italian special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi, whose career began in the late 1950s and ended shortly after this feature. Rambaldi created E.T., sculpted the Xenomorph head in Alien (1979), engineered the ill-fated mechanical ape for King Kong (1976), that weird tentacle thing in Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession (1981), and many more notable cinema creatures.

Also Read: 10 Stephen King Stories Perfect for Any Season

This werewolf, however, lacks originality, ferocity, and believability, which caused producer Dino De Laurentiis to demand it be redone or removed—neither of which happened. Knowing how Dino liked to operate it’s likely Rambaldi had limited funds and time to craft his creature. The beast is mostly relegated to the shadows, or by using the old Jaws technique of POV encounters, with the finale being the only extended scene showcasing Rambaldi’s work. At least there’s a dream sequence filled with half-human half-wolf beasts giving in to their bloodlust that’s pretty rad. It also didn’t help the illustrated version of King’s novella features gorgeous artwork by Bernie Wrightson that, frankly, would have been exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce on screen. I still want to see that film.  

That issue aside, the movie perfectly captures the vibe of being a kid in the 1980s, living in a town where everyone knows everyone, and the idea of a murderer being at large puts all the residents on high alert. Haim was in his prime years here, and his portrayal of Marty feels so genuine. He’s a kid who doesn’t let his disability define him, and while he’s prone to a bit of mischief he also knows when he crosses the line and is sincere in his apologies. When Uncle Red delivers the eponymous Silver Bullet, a wheelchair that looks like something Evel Knievel would’ve ridden, Marty’s joy is palpable. Interestingly, Jane is the one who provides the film’s narration, an element I love because it adds a docu-drama vibe to the picture.

This is the only feature film directed by Daniel Attias, and it’s also his first credit in that capacity. He served as the second assistant director on a handful of high-profile titles from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and Samuel Fuller before taking on duties here. After, he went right into television and has directed episodes for nearly every major primetime hit since the 1980s: Miami Vice, 21 Jump Street, Beverly Hills, 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, The Wire, Lost. You get the idea. His credits list is incredible, but it all started with Silver Bullet.  

Scream Factory continues to upgrade every title in their roster from Blu-ray to 4K and this one is absolutely worth the purchase. A fresh 2023 scan of the original camera negative was used for this 2160p 2.35:1 picture and it is positively breathtaking. Stunningly detailed and sharply defined, with bright colors, excellent density, pitch-black darkness, and smooth film grain. This is easily one of the most impressive Blu-ray-to-4K titles I’ve watched. If there’s anything worth nitpicking I couldn’t see it. Scream Factory’s previous Blu-ray looked very good but this 4K is on another level. If you’re one of those physical media collectors who must own their favorite titles in the highest quality possible then make sure to add this to your wish list. It’s that good.

Also Read: Stephen King Champions This Divisive Horror Remake

There’s one audio track available in English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono and it handily gets the job done. Jay Chattaway’s score is often unsettling and moody, though there are several cues that capture Marty’s childlike innocence and curiosity. Chattaway has written some of my favorite scores of the ‘80s and his work here is once again superb. The track has a strong presence, no hissing or pops, with balanced dialogue and sound effects. English SDH subtitles are included.

On the 4K, there are multiple audio commentary tracks – producer Martha De Laurentiis; director Daniel Attias; isolated score selections audio interview with Jay Chattaway; and Eric Vespe & Scott Wampler of The Kingcast, which is a new addition to this set.

Those same commentaries can be found on the included Blu-ray along with:

“A Little Private Justice – Interview with actor Kent Broadhurst” (HD, 11:51), who recounts his time on the film portraying a father dealing with the grief of viciously losing his child.   

“Cutting to the Bone – Interview with editor Daniel Loewenthal” (HD, 16:39), discussing his career and putting together this feature.

“The Wolf Within – Interview with actor Everett McGill (HD, 16:15), the actor has plenty to say about his role and working inside the werewolf suit.

“Full Moon Fever – The Effects of Silver Bullet” (HD, 21:03), looks at the werewolf design and other FX work.

A theatrical trailer (HD, 1:27), TV spot (SD, 0:31), radio spot (0:31), and a still gallery (HD, 6:20) round out the supplements.

Special Features:

  • NEW Transfer From The Original Camera Negative (2023)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Eric Vespe And Scott Wampler Of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary With Producer Martha De Laurentiis
  • Audio Commentary With Director Daniel Attias
  • Isolated Score Selections And Audio Interview With Composer Jay Chattaway
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature


  • NEW Transfer From The Original Camera Negative (2023)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Eric Vespe And Scott Wampler Of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary With Producer Martha De Laurentiis
  • Audio Commentary With Director Daniel Attias
  • Isolated Score Selections And Audio Interview With Composer Jay Chattaway
  • “A Little Private Justice” – An Interview With Actor Kent Broadhurst
  • “Cutting To The Bone” – An Interview With Editor Daniel Loewenthal
  • “The Wolf Within” – An Interview With Actor Everett McGill
  • “Full Moon Fever” – The Effects Of Silver Bullet
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Radio spot
  • Still Gallery
  • Optional English subtitles for the main feature
  • Silver Bullet
  • Special Features


This is unquestionably one of the most impressive 4K upgrades in Scream Factory’s lineup. All bonus features have been ported over, a new audio commentary is included, and the slipcover and case feature the original theatrical art. Make like Marty’s Silver Bullet and rush out to add this to your collection.

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