(director: Dan Attias; screenwriter: Stephen King/ Stephen King short story Cycle of the Werewolf; cinematographer: Armando Nanuzzi; editor: Daniel Loewenthal; music: Jay Chattaway; cast: Gary Busey (Uncle Red), Everett McGill (Reverend Lowe), Corey Haim (Marty Coslaw), Robin Groves (Nan Coslaw), Megan Follows (Jane Coslaw), Leon Russom (Bob Coslaw), Wendy Walker (Stella), Terry O’Quinn (Sheriff); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Martha Schumacher/Dino De Laurentiis; Paramount Home Video; 1985)

“A bad parody of the werewolf films that are set in small-town Middle-America.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A bad parody of the werewolf films that are set in small-town Middle-America. Dan Attias (“The Americans”/”Battle Creek”) directs from the screenplay by Stephen King, who writes it from his novella Cycle of the Werewolf. It’s helmed as if there’s no such thing as enough werewolf cliches or enough shots of a tipsy Gary Busey.

In the idyllic Maine town of Tarper’s Mills, an unseen narrator (Tovah Feldshuh, the adult Jane) recalls about how peaceful things were when she was growing up until the spring of 1976 when a grizzly killing spree began with the town drunk (James Gammon) found decapitated on the railroad tracks. The locals are not aware that a werewolf is the killer until nearly the end of the film, even though there are several unexplained killings only a monster could do.

Warning: spoiler in next paragraph.

The feisty wheelchair-bound adolescent Marty (Corey Haim) rides around in his souped-up motorized custom-made wheelchair designed by his goofy alcoholic Uncle Red (Gary Busey), that’s dubbed the Silver Bullet. Marty grieves when his best friend Brady (Joe Wright) was torn to shreds on the campgrounds one night. To bring some joy to his life, he sneaks out of his house to set off illegal firecrackers Uncle Red gave him and is attacked in the woods by a werewolf. To escape he shoots it in the eye with an arrow. His older sister Jane (Megan Follows), the next day, discovers that the Reverend Lowe (Everett McGill) suddenly has a patch over his eye and she now believes her younger brother’s suspicious story. Trouble is no one else in town believes that werewolves exist in real life. But the protective Uncle Red believes the werewolf will come after the family to keep his secret and thereby gets the local gunsmith to make a silver bullet from the religious medallions of the siblings. Uncle and the kids wait for the werewolf to show his face during a full moon at night.

It seems more like an unintentional comedy than a scary horror film, as once again a King horror story fails to translate to film as intended.

REVIEWED ON 4/5/2017       GRADE: C+