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Sleepwalkers (1992)

Directed by Mick Garris  Written by Stephen King

  It seems after Stephen King had accomplished a string of hits with adaptations, he decided to write his first original work, intended solely for the screen. Taking the definition of the word Sleepwalkers, King gave us his interpretation on a different kind of vampire then having seen before. The film follows Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and mother Mary (Alice Krige) who seemed to have disappeared from their home one morning. Leaving the neighbor’s to worry as dead cats surround their house in its entirety while Lt. Jennings (cameo by Mark Hamill!) searches the house to find a body hidden away. Later finding the two in Indiana, we see Charles carving a “T” (for Tanya; Mädchen Amick) on his shoulder with a knife and surprising his “mother” who was otherwise busy watching a cat close by, outside. Taking her for a spin around the kitchen to Sleepwalk by Santo & Johnny, he tells her of going to the movies later in hopes of asking out a girl who worked there. Showing a bit jealously, Charles soon remedies as he takes her upstairs to sooth out any battered feelings. Ewww

   He later surprises Tanya at work who had been lost in the world of The Contours while cleaning up. But she grabs him some popcorn and a drink as they exchange in some flirtatious behavior. Getting home to find a more paranoid Mary whose new concern lay with if he had brought anything to eat. Asking if he planned to take her out; hinting of “needing” her. The next day at school Tanya speaks with her friends about the night before as Charles comes up behind them asking if any of them would like a ride home. Tanya’s the only one to follow through and ends up offering him a tour of her house, starting at her bedroom. They almost kiss but her mom bursts through the door ending for visit for the time being. The mother slightly interrogates Charles after hearing of them planning to go out the next day. On the way back home he’s tailgated, causing him to pull over and discover his teacher with a sudden threat as it seems it was Mr. Fallows (Glenn Shadix) who had underestimated Charles. Ripping off his hand, he hands it back. *Ba da bump*

  Charles races back home as Officer Andy (Dan Martin) pursues him and almost runs over some kids at a cross-walk. While getting along the side, Andy’s cat Clovis gets up to the window which causes Charles to transform into about 5 or so different faces but all sharing the same frightened look. Going further up ahead, he pulls over to the side as he makes himself invisible with the officer having no explanation as to what just happened. Back at the police station he tries to explain what he saw but was taunted in the end for the ridicules claims. Charles arrives home to a very displeased mother who begins to slap him repeatedly for not yet bringing her food, needing it, stating she was starving. Worried of not being able to provide for her and the thought of them being the last Sleepwalkers hover as they begin to hear the oh so familiar sounds of cats lingering outside; lingerers man. Embracing in each other’s bodies once again we get a glimpse of their real reflection in the mirror; demonic looking live sized cats making for a pretty odd and bizarre creature.

  The next day Tanya arrives at Charles house as the two go off for a picnic in the woods. He gives her quite the scare as they briefly separate from each other and she takes his picture while we see officer Andy nearing Charles’s house. Back at the graveyard the two get a bit more acquainted as he pins her down and begins sucking the very life out of her, letting his “feline” side appear. Explaining his need for her, she’s able to grab her camera and use it to get him off of her in order to escape. She then, stupidly, goes back to see if he was okay but is able to grab hold of a corkscrew and poke out his eye, running out of the cemetery just in time. A barely arriving Andy tries to calm her down and ends up a cop-kabob and he’s stabbed with a pencil through the ear. Clovis attacks Charles, who gets away but only after getting his butt beat pretty hard by the nice kitty, kitty. He stumbles up to his house where his mother tries to fix him up, asking to make them both invisible for the time being of which he’s able to do despite the attack.

  Back at the site, police chat with Tanya about what had happened. Remembering having taken his picture the police send to get them developed immediately. Charles wasn’t in any better condition as his mother tended to him with sirens heard in the background. She tells him he’ll have to be still as the police bust through the doors and search the house to find nothing and decide to have a couple officers wait outside the house just in case they returned. When they see the door open yet no one appear to be there the two officers get spooked as Mary sneaks up behind them, bashing their heads against one another. Making her way to Tanya’s house and fighting with her mother, father and an officer which she stabs with an earl of corn in his back. Not only have they caught the attention of the law but it seems a majority of cats had worked their way to their home along with Mary and the girl in suit. Dragged up to the house with the intention of being fed to Charles. Putting on their favorite song, once again, she forces Tanya to dance with a barely there Charles who fully transforms and begins feeding off of her. The police soon step in and Mary fully transforms, chasing them outside, catching a bear trap to the head and suddenly is attacked by the numerous cats. As she catches on fire Tanya drives back to keep her distance, joined by Clovis as the movie ends showing them to be the only survivors.

  Final Thoughts: This was always one of my favorite things by King when I was kid though I’ve never really considered it a vampires film; by any means. Though I do get where or what he was trying to go with. This was right at the beginning of Krause’s career and his looks were so inviting and he had a confidence that carried so well into this movie. Krige, who played his “mother” had such a great face, feline like in itself and fitting for the horror genre. Prior to this role she had primarily done TV work and after playing the part of a ghost, they knew which actress they wanted. Leaving Amick who was certainly a beautiful woman for the role of Tanya. She had that cuteness and “bubbly” attitude which always makes for a nice victim. I did find a couple of her responses to be a bit too dramatic at times but I’m not even sure how I’d react to some “thing” chasing me. So not going to hold that against her, though I’m tempted. An added plus while going through the movie being all the cameos throughout. You see Hamill in the beginning and even I had said “Hey is that?…it is!” Though it is credited that some Horror legends as well can be seen throughout the movie, I only noticed 3. But that’s also because I had been aware of only how those three looked.

                                 All together however there are:                                           John Landis- Lab Technician, Stephen King-Graveyard caretaker, Joe Dante-Lab assistant, Tobe Hooper-Forensic Tech, Clive Barker-Forensic Tech. And I usually bite; I like when they work certain people into a movie for the fans sake or something to the same extent. Then you have Mick Garris who was the creator for the Masters of Horror directing the film which was some more awesome sauce to the mix. It seemed a lot of people didn’t have the same liking to this as I did, it got such a low score on IMDB (but what do those people know anyway). The fact that there wasn’t a book or way for people to somehow know the story before seeing it should have nothing to do with it. As stating previously, I haven’t read any of his work, which is not to say that I would never be up for it. But I’ve never found it to a binding requirement before watching his stories come to life on film. All it shows me is that he’s able to write something that can be just as good without having an audience backing it.