Hard to believe this one is over 30 years old. It came out in 1985, around the time my movie going was beginning to slack, and it never came on HBO or Turner Classic movies. I caught it on Amazon Prime Video in February.
Yes, this is a Stephen King story, so you are seeing this, a human head lying between the rails on a railway line. There is prior footage that shows how this gentleman got into this predicament, but I’m being spare on the graphics today.
The story is told by teenager Jane Coslaw (Megan Follows), who by the time of the telling has grown up, the movie being set in 1976. She tells of how the killings started in her small home town on the night of the last full moon before the end of the spring school term. This killing was passed off as an accident, the victim being a railway worker noted for heavy drinking on the job.
Jane is burdened by her crippled brother Marty (Corey Haim), for whom she is the designated caretaker. We see Jane as she witnesses a disagreement between two locals, one of whom accuses the other of getting her pregnant.
Pregnant and contemplating suicide is Stella Randolph (Wendy Walker). Just as she swallows the fatal dose of sleeping pills or whatever, the werewolf, for this is a werewolf film, bursts through her bedroom window and tears her apart.
The Coslaw family is beset by Uncle Red (Gary Busey), a heavy drinker and also feared to be a bad influence on Marty.
Marty’s friend, Brady Kincaid (Joe Wright) is next. He’s been mean to Jane, so he may have been coming his due. Flying his kite in the park is the last we see of him alive, and his body has been found torn apart.
Sheriff Joe Haller (Terry O’Quinn) tries to dissuade a mob from going into the woods to look for the killer. To no avail. Three more victims fall to the werewolf in a dark and foggy swamp.
Uncle Red is losing his wife (she’s leaving him), and he dotes on Marty. He constructs a super motorized wheelchair for Marty, which he names the Silver Bullet. It is fast.
Marty is told to never take the Silver Bullet out by himself. So that very night he takes the Silver Bullet out by himself. He brings along some fireworks with the idea of shooting them off on a wooden footbridge. The werewolf attacks. Marty shoots the werewolf in the eye with a rocket and escapes.
Grownups won’t believe Marty’s story, but sister Jane goes looking for somebody in the town with one eye out. Horrors, it’s the Reverend Lester Lowe (Everett McGill).
Again, grownups won’t believe what Marty and Jane suspect. Then, on the road, the Reverend chases Marty with his car and tries to kill him.
Shown the matching paint scrapes due to a collision with the Reverend’s car, Sheriff Haller goes to investigate. The werewolf kills him.
Uncle Red takes matters in his own hands. He accepts two silver pendants from the children and takes them to a gun shop. Here the gunsmith melts them down and constructs an actual silver bullet.
Then Uncle Red lays a trap. He tricks Jane and Marty’s parents into taking a vacation, leaving him in charge of the kids. They wait in the house for the werewolf to attack. By nearly the end of the night Uncle Red is giving up, and he removes the silver bullet from the pistol.
Then the werewolf attacks, bursting through the wall. The silver bullet goes flying, falling through a floor grate. The werewolf tosses Uncle Red about the room and goes for the two children. Marty fishes the bullet out of the grate and loads it into the pistol. A single shot does it for the werewolf, and everybody is saved. As the werewolf dies he re morphs into the Reverend, now missing both eyes.
And that’s the end of the movie.
There is nothing wrong with this movie except that it is about 100% predictable. It’s a straight-line werewolf story with victim following victim, until the principle characters confront the danger and eliminate it.
Except that there is a certain lack of reality, in addition to the werewolf bit. Multiple murders are occurring in the town, and there is no call for outside help. The story does not include any expected police procedures, gathering forensic evidence, talking to forensic experts.
Marty tells of shooting the werewolf at the footbridge, but nobody follows up to examine the evidence of the rocket being fired and werewolf blood samples collected from the bridge.
The Reverend now is lacking his left eye, and nobody asks him what happened to his eye.
Corey Haim parleyed his child star beginning into a successful acting career, but he died at 38 of a drug overdose.