Cycle of the Werewolf is an illustrated horror novel by Stephen King. It was originally conceived as a calendar with text by King and artwork by Berni Wrightson.
It grew to be a beautifully illustrated novella in 12 segments about Marty Coslaw, a 10 year old disabled boy who must convince the townspeople of Tarker’s Mills that there is a werewolf in their midst.
Something inhuman has come to Tarker’s Mills, as unseen as the full moon riding the night sky high above. It is the Werewolf, and there is no more reason for its coming now than there would be for the arrival of a psychotic with murder on his mind, or a killer tornado.
The cycle of the Werewolf has begun.
The moon kills, you know. It feeds off the earth. And when it shines down, fat and full, on Tarkers Mills, something in the night howls, the inhuman notes drifting on the wind, lonely, savage, lycanthropic. And with each full moon during the cycle of the werewolf, something, or someone, has to die.
And its snarls sounded terribly like human words. The wind shoops and howls. The screams begin. The first scream came from the snowbound railwayman who felt the fangs ripping at his throat. The next month there was a scream of ecstatic agony from the woman attacked in her snug bedroom.
Now scenes of unbelieving horror come each time the full moon shines on the isolated Maine town of Tarker Mills. No one knows who will be attacked next. But one thing is sure.
When the moon grows fat, a paralyzing fear sweeps through Tarker Mills. For snarls that sound like human words can be heard whining through the wind. And all around are the footprints of a monster whose hunger cannot be sated… “Cycle of the Werewolf”
A 10 year old disabled boy finds out that the werewolf is really one of the local town residents – one that would normally not be under investigation. Planning carefully, he lures the werewolf into his trap and plans a final explosive night of revenge for all the deaths it has caused.
In 1985, a movie adaptation of Cycle of the Werewolf, entitled Silver Bullet, was released.
The intense scenes of the werewolf’s attacks are among King’s most gruesome, especially the remains of the pig attack. It’s a campfire story, a scary story. It goes for the jugular.
Berni Wrightson, who worked with King on the comic book Creepshow and would later draw the illustrations for The Stand, gives us some wonderful black and white drawings, depicting the change of season in Tarker’s Mills. Balancing those are the vibrant color of the werewolf’s attack scenes, violent and nightmarish.