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There’s quite a few Stephen King movie adaptations that bear little resemblance to the books they’re based on.  Stephen King’s Silver Bullet, based loosely on King’s novella The Cycle of the Werewolf, may be one of the more hilariously entertaining deviations from its source material.  Whether that was internal or not remains to be seen.

The Cycle of the Werewolf 

The Cycle of the Werewolf is unique in King’s repertoire in that it was released as a fully illustrated short novel with each month of the year being a chapter in the story of a werewolf terrorizing the fictional town of Tarker’s Mills, Maine.  The chapter format of the book was in part because it was originally supposed to be a calendar, but King found the format too constraining for his storytelling style and it was expanded into a novella.

There aren’t any real main characters in the book.  Instead it focuses on the events of the month from the point of view of various townspeople.  The plot doesn’t really start until around July and even then it doesn’t bring some relevant characters back together until the last chapter December.  

The story itself is a pretty basic werewolf tale with a few notable twists.  It’s really illustrator Bernie Wrightson’s gorgeous drawings that help bring the story to life.  They complement the story beautifully and can tell the entire story almost on their own.


In general, it’s a short but fun little novella that doesn’t break any boundaries but tells a solid gothic horror story nonetheless.

Stephen King’s Silver Bullet (major spoilers here because, boy, do we have a lot to talk about)

The movie adaptation of the book takes almost a 360 in terms of tone and atmosphere from the book.  Where the book had an almost grotesque feel to it, the movie goes full out 80s B-movie horror, and to great effect I might add.  It’s become something of a cult classic and was the perfect fodder for those pre-teen late night slumber parties huddled up together under your blanket fort.   

Our main character is now Marty Coslaw (whose last name I will never get over); a wheelchair bound pre-pubescent who really has a darkly sadistic side, more on that later.  Marty’s sister Jane, who didn’t really play much of a part in the book, hates him and constantly calls him a booger for all the things he seems to get away with due to his disability (she’s right by the way).  Gary Busey is also there playing basically himself.  Seriously, he was allowed to ad lib most of his lines because he related to the character of Uncle Red so much.


“Thanks for the liquor, Uncle Gar–I mean Uncle Red.”

There are some werewolf kills early on, but the movie mostly forgoes the month to month format entirely and kills off half the town over the course of a few full moons when a vigilante group is formed and decides to go out into the woods at night with no flashlights and zero planning.  It ends about as well as you would expect. 

Pay attention to that bat, it’s going to be important later.  The guy holding it, not so much.

One thing that did carry over to the movie from the book is a scene where the town priest, Reverend Lowe, played by Everett McGill, has a dream sequence of his entire congregation turning into werewolves.  It kind of lets the cat out of the bag who the werewolf is at that point, but it’s also one of the most memorable scenes in the movie due to the novelty of a whole room full of people just werewolfing out. 

This is going to be my reaction image to everything from now on.

Sequel to Werewolf Bar Mitzvah – Werewolf Baptism.

It’s around the half point mark in the movie where things start to veer even more wildly from the book.  Now you would think the silver bullet in the title of werewolf movie would refer to an actual silver bullet, right?  Not in the case of this movie.  It’s actually the name of a diesel powered motorcycle wheelchair that Uncle Gary Busey gives Marty on the Fourth of July.  That sucker gets up to at least 80mph, can be in no way shape or form street legal, and, as we see later, isn’t very effective against werewolves.

Jesus, kid, at least wear a helmet so there’s something left for the werewolf!

Uncle Gary Busey also gives Marty some fireworks to shoot off once everyone else is asleep since the town’s were canceled due to random werewolf serial killer on the loose, but probably not for COVID if this last year is anything to go by.  

Since Marty is such a self-serving little bugger, he of course goes out and shoots off his fireworks and almost gets killed by the werewolf.  He only just manages to get away by shooting the werewolf in the eye with a bottle rocket, which is really just unfair when the werewolf doesn’t get any projectiles to defend itself with.

After that mess, Marty recruits his sister to track down his victim under the guise of collecting cans for school (that was an actual thing in the 80s, you just had to be there).  In the book Marty gets sent away for the summer and doesn’t run into the werewolf in human form until Halloween.  Here it takes them about 12 hours tops to find him.  Or more accurately, to find that bat from the picture up above when Jane discovers it in the werewolf’s garage, although where and when she saw the bat before remains a mystery since it was the local bar owner’s.

Marty then proceeds to be a troll and mails the werewolf some seriously bad takes.

We’re going to hope Marty never gets a twitter.

Like any good 80s movie, there proceeds a wheelchair car chase scene, after which, Marty somehow convinces his Uncle Gary Busey that his life is in danger (even though he’s the one sending death threat mail) and he needs a real silver bullet to protect himself.  After a very odd conversation with a gun dealer about what good presents bullets are for kids, Uncle Gary Busey gets the silver bullet for Marty and stays over to babysit Marty and Jane after sending their parents away on vacation (less witnesses).


The werewolf does show up at Marty’s that night, and very nicely announces himself by busting straight through the wall like the Kool-Aid man.

Remorselessly, Marty grabs the gun and the bullet and shoots the poor creature in its head before it can even begin to explain why it’s there.  He and Jane then proceed to reenact that creepy Folgers Coffee Christmas commercial with the brother and sister that are a little too close to each other for comfort.  End of movie.

Final Girl Thoughts

Whether or not you consider the movie or the book a classic, or even a cult classic, Cycle of the Werewolf and Stephen King’s Silver Bullet does make for some entertaining camp.  It’s interesting to see what’s essentially the same story told in two very different styles.  Roger Ebet even called the movie a parody of the book, and while I wouldn’t go quite that far, it definitely deserves an award for stretching the source material to a new limit.  4 out of 5 Cthulhu for an all around good time.

My exact face while watching the entire movie.
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Book Reviews

The Replacement (2010), a Book Review

The Replacement (2010) by Brenna Yovanoff is a paranormal young adult novel published by the Penguin Group.



The Replacement (2010) by Brenna Yovanoff is a paranormal young adult novel published by the Penguin Group. This standalone book acts as Brenna Yovanoff’s debut novel, whose catalog produces thirteen additional novel-length works. This catalog includes a Stranger Things tie-in, Stranger Things: Runaway Max, which suggests some earned attention and respect for Yovanoff.

Mackie Doyle never had to be told he was different; he learned that quickly enough. With his father being Gentry’s preacher, he learned hallowed ground didn’t agree with him, along with other odd illnesses. It seems the town knows some of these secrets, never mentioning the children who disappear and reappear. As Mackie grows older, he must learn to balance his life between the regular world of Gentry and the supernatural world underneath.

The Replacement written below. A pale man waits in the woods, looking at the reader.
The Replacement Alternate Cover

What I Like About The Replacement

Gentry creates an unsettling atmosphere where the reader remains unsure of what the town is complicit in and what remains a mystery to them. It makes the reader uneasy as Mackie tries to “fit in.”

Mackie Doyle makes an interesting protagonist, navigating both the Gentry community and the supernatural underworld. His relationship with his sister, in particular, remains a highlight throughout the novel. In a genre that often puts the sister in danger to motivate the protagonist, their relationship somewhat subverts expectations.

Though somewhat underexplored, the supernatural world really hooks me in. It plays on the old fables of changelings while adding enough originality to be its own thing.
For a debut novel, Brenna Yovanoff deserves respect. The novel had me eager for more of her work, something I hope to rectify in the future.


From what I gather, this novel seems to be a standalone. While I want more from the world, I appreciate a novel that accomplishes its story and has a definitive ending.
The potential love interest remains competent and interesting throughout the novel. She remains essential to the conclusion, forcing the plot along, but did feel a bit underdeveloped considering her importance to the plot.

I read an eBook copy, but the length of a paperback copy is 368 pages. This page count may vary depending on the edition, but The Replacement remains a manageable and easy read for the majority of its page count.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes or Considerations

In recent years, the reexamining of the changeling myth opens up potential justification for ableism and discrimination towards neurodivergent individuals in ancient times. Some elements in this novel might tie into this neurodivergent history. While I find this a story of acceptance and empowerment, I lack the perspective to speak for others. There are elements that might evoke masking, but it isn’t my place to commit further.

One small plot point somewhat evokes that mention plot point where the sister motivates the protagonist. There’s a bit more complexity, but noting it seems essential, considering my earlier positive note.

The Replacement isn’t a dark novel, but the book gets pretty dark toward the end. This jumping point follows the rising stakes of what happens to the lost children.

A baby carriage set in the foggy woods. A tree looms over with knives and scissors over it.
The Replacement Cover Art for the eBook

What I Dislike about The Replacement

Throughout my positives, I point out underdeveloped elements of the narrative. From characters to world-building, I want more. It’s certainly not the worst problem for a novel, but it is a recurring issue.

This underdevelopment issue leads to elements where the story underwhelms me. This underwhelming nature is specifically notable toward the antagonists, who are perfectly built up but don’t do much. I want a little more to earn that tension and build-up, but I am left wanting.


The Replacement won’t frighten its readers. It might creep the reader out, unnerve them, or break their heart, but it’s not a terrifying ride. The ending does deserve a special mention, however, as it certainly steps up its tension.

Final Thoughts

The Replacement remains an engaging supernatural debut novel from Brenna Yovanoff. While not terrifying, it engages the reader throughout. Don’t expect in-depth supernatural elements, but what you get has you wanting more.
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Book Reviews

The Roots Grow Into The Earth



Launching next month The Roots Grow Into The Earth was a delightful read. It’s the premiere novel by horror author Bert S. Lechner. And after reading it, I hope it’s not his last. 

The stories

The Roots Grow Into The Earth is a collection of nine short stories and novellas, including three previously published stories. The tales are all part of one larger story. A story of darkness, and madness. A story of a creature released that should never have been. That begins then to sink its roots into the Earth and infect innocent people far and wide. 

One such example is The Wall. This is the story of a man named Sam and his wife Nat. They have a lovely normal life full of morning coffee and weekend pizza nights. Until Sam notices something on the wall of their home. While it appears to be nothing, a vision starts taking shape. With Sam’s help.


Another story that really moved me was The Orchestra. 

Let me first stay that this was not a particularly fleshed out story. We do not see The Conductor before she’s infected. We don’t see the fallout. No real picture is painted for us, it’s more like a sketch. 

In the case of The Orchestra, though, this is exactly the right choice. We don’t need to see the whole picture in gruesome technicolor to get what’s happening in this ill fated concert. We understand perhaps too well what’s occurring. And I thought that was brilliant. 

What worked

I just want to start by gushing over this storytelling style. Short story collections always have a soft spot in my heart. In the case of The Roots Grow, all of the short stories come together to create one truly dark tale. 


I also loved the clear Lovecraftian influence of this story. It’s clear that this was something that the author was going for, from interviews and social media comments. But I could tell before I saw any of that. 

The story in The Roots Grow is one of madness. But more than that, it’s one of madness and destruction that the victims could not have avoided. There was no being clever enough to avoid these dark roots that touched them. There was no being strong enough, or selfless and good enough. If the roots reach out and touch you, you’ve already lost. 

Finally, I want to extend some praise to my favorite character, Joanne. She is dealing with her own madness, her own demons. But she still finds kindness and strength to help others when they need her. Even against some truly dark odds. 

What didn’t work

All that being said, I will say that some of the short stories felt incomplete. One prime example is What Lies In The Icy Soil. This appears to be nothing more than the tale of a person possessed by the need to dig. He digs up something that for sure shouldn’t be dug up. But there’s nothing more to the story. We don’t know who this person is. We don’t know who might be missing him, or what might come of this thing he dug up. As a part of the whole story, it fits. But if we are to consider every tale by its own merit, this one doesn’t have much of anything going for it. 


That being said, this is one story in a round ten that wasn’t much of anything. The rest of the stories were wonderfully eerie, both on their own and as part of a whole. 

The Roots Grow Into The Earth comes out on October 7th. And I think it would be a perfect addition to your Halloween reading list.  4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Book Reviews

Strange Eons Review: Cornfields and Eldritch Gods



“The elder gods arrived in the sky in early September, like an unholy aurora borealis stretching across a midnight sky. Their vastness blocked the sun, an unending eclipse, a liminal state, a breath that was inhaled but never let go. Lovecraft got it wrong, I think. It was not the sight of the gods that made humanity go mad. It’s what they destroy that hurts us. Somehow, these elder gods, these aliens, had killed time itself.” – Strange Eons by Keria Perkins

Strange Eons is a short story published in Bourbon Penn Issue 30 by Keira Perkins. Perkins, is an Indiana writer of short fiction and poetry that has also appeared in Non-Stalgia and The Heartland Society of Women Writers. Bourbon Penn is an online and print journal that specializes in speculative, odd, and surreal fiction. All issues are available to be read online for free or can be purchased as a paperback from

Strange Eons follows a young woman struggling to adjust to a life post-Lovecraftian apocalypse. This is a cozy story, the majority of which takes place as the woman lays in a cornfield and hides from well-meaning but unhelpful family members. While cozy, the piece is ominous, tackling the terror associated with pregnancy. Specifically, the terror that comes from living in a Red State and finding a significant lack of resources or options.

As a Hoosier capable of becoming pregnant, Strange Eons resonated with me. The imagery of cornfields and cicadas were very Indiana. However, so is a young woman covertly asking her sister to drive her to Illinois to receive healthcare. I loved how Perkins merged cosmic horror with the horror of receiving reproductive healthcare in Indiana but also the United States as a whole. All that was missing were predatory billboards advertising fake pregnancy centers! Talk about maddening and terrifying! Throughout the short story, the most horrific part of the young woman’s ordeal is not the eldritch gods appearing but her rather typical, hellish circumstances.

Aside from content, Strange Eons is well-written. It keeps you guessing where the story will go next. If you like a non-tropey cozy take on Lovecraftian horror or have struggled to receive reproductive healthcare, I highly recommend checking out Strange Eons! You can also check out the other stories in this issue of Bourbon Penn here. Or you can see what else Perkins is up to on her website.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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