Don Coscarelli on the film that got away–Silver Bullet!


Don Coscarelli, the indie auteur of such cult classics as Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep reveals in his book, True Indie that he almost directed Silver Bullet! What would that film have looked like if he was at the helm?

Don Coscarelli fresh off his book tour for True Indie recently sat down with Coming Soon to discuss his filmmaking career. The director of cult classics Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep revealed that at one time he was tapped by Dino De Laurentiis to helm Silver Bullet!

This film is probably one of the best Stephen King adaptations to ever make it to the big screen. The thought of Coscarelli having been a candidate to direct it is mind blowing. While the original is a true horror masterpiece what would it have been like if he would have remained attached to the project?

His vision would have fell more in line with Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. In that 1975 super blockbuster hit, “Bruce” the mechanical shark (named for Spielberg’s lawyer) never really functioned the way that it was supposed to, so Spielberg had to rely on creating the tension and suspense the old fashioned way a la Alfred Hitchcock in Psycho.

The shower scene in that movie became famous for what it didn’t show. Hitch’s meticulous storyboarding and editing added that horrific element along with the quick cuts that let you decide what is really happening to Janet Leigh as she is being “stabbed” by Anthony Perkins.

Taking a page from the master of suspense, Spielberg focused on actor’s reactions and skillful underwater photography to simulate Bruce’s attacks. Very ingenious and creative because audiences really felt like these people were getting torn apart by the killer shark.

If Silver Bullet would have been in Don Coscarelli’s capable hands here is how he would have handled it.

"“I would’ve been really careful about how the werewolf would be shown. The desire for Dino and how the story was laid out is that the werewolf was visible in every chapter going forward. I just didn’t think it would work. In fact, one of my scenes is still in Silver Bullet, which was the idea that the hunters go down into the ground fog that’s like up to their chest. So, it’s almost like Jaws with the werewolf running around on all fours, under the ground fog.”"

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In retrospect, that technique may have helped to make Everett McGill’s character of Reverend Lowe even more menacing than he already was. The entire idea of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” would have resonated even more with the werewolf being hidden from view. Don Coscarelli’s instincts in my book were right on the money and De Laurentiis was wise to keep at least one scene suggestion from him.

Did you know Don Coscarelli almost directed Silver Bullet? Have you read True Indie yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. We want to hear from you.