Stephen King’s “CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF” (aka “Silver Bullet”) #WeirdDarkness

Stephen King’s “CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF” (aka “Silver Bullet”) #WeirdDarkness

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IN THIS EPISODE: There’s no better source of horror fiction than the King of Horror himself, Stephen King. Each chapter of “Cycle of the Werewolf” is a short story unto itself. It tells the story of a werewolf haunting a small town as the moon turns full once every month. It was originally published as a limited-edition hardcover in 1983 by Land of Enchantment, and then in 1985 as a mass-market trade paperback by Signet. If it sounds familiar to you, it’s because Stephen King also wrote the screenplay for its film adaptation, Silver Bullet which was released to theaters in 1985 – although if you have seen the film, you won’t be disappointed in the book, as there is a lot that changes from the original pages before it hit the big screen. The movie received mixed reviews at the time, but has since achieved cult status in the US, after appearing on television regularly. In 1985, Signet Books re-issued Cycle of the Werewolf under the title Silver Bullet in an edition that included King’s screenplay alongside the original novella. This re-published edition also included a foreword by King, recounting the impetus of the novella and the background of the film adaptation. In this episode of Weird Darkness, however, I will be narrating the original novella. The book, at 127 pages, is technically a novella rather than a novel, but there is no shortage of scares, I assure you. The novella wasn’t even supposed to be a novella at first. The entire concept started out, believe it or not, as a calendar by the Zavista company, with illustrations by renowned comic-book artist Bernie Wrightson. Each month of the proposed calendar featured a drawing by Wrightson complete with a short vignette by Stephen King. But King found the size of the vignettes, which were both small and extremely limited, to be problematic for his writing style. So he proceeded instead with the short novel and had it published by Land of Enchantment in 1983, but kept Wrightson’s illustrations for the publication because they were so beautifully or horrifically brilliant. In the author’s notes at the back of the novella, King admits to taking liberties with the lunar cycle. For example, if a full moon was on New Year’s Day, another one wouldn’t occur on Valentine’s Day, but these dates are widely recognized in January and February. He explains that this was done to focus the relevant months more clearly in the readers’ minds. But then, this is fiction, so of course liberties are going to be taken – and who are we to question Stephen King?

STORY SOURCES AND MUSIC CREDITS…
(Over time links may become invalid, disappear, or have different content. I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use whenever possible. If I somehow overlooked doing so for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I will rectify it in the show notes immediately.)
BOOK: “Cycle of the Werewolf” by Steven King: https://amzn.to/2YNP4u6
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music by EpidemicSound and Alibi Music Library with paid license. Christmas music provided by Nicolas Gasparini (https://tinyurl.com/lnqpfs8) and is used with permission.

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