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How rewrites on THE LONE RANGER led to a screening of SILVER BULLET this weekend

We are screening Stephen King’s nutso werewolf classic SILVER BULLET this Saturday, June 15 at Vintage Park in 35mm.

How rewrites on THE LONE RANGER led to a screening of SILVER BULLET this weekend

I’m a fan of werewolf films, it’s true. Good ones, bad ones – as long as there are fur-covered monsters howling at the moon and shirking from silver, I’m a happy camper. That’s why the production of THE LONE RANGER has filled me with so much happiness and sorrow since the film first began its journey to movie theaters.

Gore Verbinski is a very talented director – even if he’s made a few terrible PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels. When he became attached to direct the big-budget, Disney-produced reboot of THE LONE RANGER, Verbinski had a vision for the movie that included two things: railroad companies and werewolves. Knowing how bloated, big budget studio films work, these two seemingly disparate themes would most likely have found an intersection somewhere in the middle. Yes, we were going to have a movie in which werewolves controlled the railways and – if we were lucky – a scene in which a werewolf in an engineer’s cap stuck his head out of a window and howled at the moon. “Choo-choo-arooo!”

But this was not to be. When the budget for the yet-to-begin-filming LONE RANGER was reexamined, it was discovered there was just not enough room in the ledgers for werewolves. Not even the Lone Ranger’s trademark silver bullet cache was enough to justify the money that would be spent to ensure Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp would get to tangle with lycanthropes. Crazy dead bird hats aren't cheap, you know?

Upon learning the bad news, I went through the various stages of grief -  cycling through emotions like the moon’s lunar cycles. It was when I found myself at rock bottom – mainlining a VHS copy of PROJECT: METALBEAST while eating a heaping bowl of Fruit Brute cereal, that I decided to do something about it. That’s why we are screening Stephen King’s nutso werewolf classic SILVER BULLET this Saturday, June 15 at Vintage Park in 35mm. I will not stand for Hollywood’s oppression against werewolves and I am asking you to join me as we stand up to the discrimination lycanthropes have been facing in the world of bloated Hollywood summer tentpole movies.

Released in 1985, SILVER BULLET is an adaptation of King’s novella CYLCLE OF THE WEREWOLF. The book began life as an idea for a month-by-month calendar illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. King’s ideas grew beyond the space limitations of a calendar and became a wonderful, simple mini-novel. During the heyday of King adaptations, SILVER BULLET went the way all Stephen King books go and was turned into a movie, with a script by King himself.

As a film, SILVER BULLET is joyfully insane – the story of a handicapped young boy who finds himself having to do battle with the werewolf that has settled into his town. Armed with a pimped-out wheelchair – dubbed Silver Bullet – and the guardianship of his slurred, crazy-eyed uncle played by Gary Busey (ad-libbing nearly all his lines, of course), the kid (played by the late, great Corey Haim) finds himself in way more danger than any kid should face when he’s tangling with the beast. From child endangerment to insane werewolf-filled dream sequences, SILVER BULLET has it all! It even has mystery. In a plot-device that is surprisingly rare for werewolf films, the audience doesn’t know who the werewolf is for a good chunk of the film!

The film was originally directed by PHANTASM-director Don Coscarelli but a standoff between Stephen King and producer Dino de Laurentiis over the look of the werewolf led to Coscarelli resigning and being replaced by Daniel Attias. A good chunk of the footage Coscarelli shot is still in the finished film, though.

Sadly, the original script also featured a werewolf who could talk – and recite ads from beer commercials – but this little extra topping of crazy was ditched in a re-write.

It seems that the werewolf’s greatest enemy isn’t the silver bullet but the re-write!

Buy your tickets today!

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