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A shape shifting young man (Brian Krause) and his mother (known as
"sleepwalkers" for some reason) arrive in a new town. But the mother
(Alice Krige) needs to feed, so her son Charles must find him a pure
young woman. But who will he love more, his mother or the beautiful
Tanya Robertson (Madchen Amick)? "Sleepwalkers" is a film that has a
special place in my heart. I saw it repeatedly on television as a
teenager watching our local horror host, Ned the Dead. And while I
never thought it was great, I found it entertaining. I place it in the
same category as "Maximum Overdrive" -- cheesy and fun, though by no
means a great film. And look at the cameos in this film! Mike Mayo
tears this film apart, calling it "arguably King's worst film". He says
the "script meanders through pointless chitchat scenes." Director Mick
Garris "doesn't know how to photograph" and throws in "close-ups of
knees." Wow. He has nothing nice to say about this film, giving it a
dismal 0 on his one through four scale. I must beg to differ with Mike
on this one.
First of all, King's worst film is "Langoliers". Second, I did not notice these pointless chitchat scenes he speaks of. Some of the plot is a bit loose, but nothing is completely pointless. I furthermore do not recall any shots of knees, though if the knees belonged to the beautiful Madchen Amick I think this is forgivable. Mick Garris has made many a bad film, this is true. And "Sleepwalkers" is by no means a masterpiece. But I think to lay down such heavy scorn is misplaced and really ignores the "fun factor" of this picture.
Oddly enough, Howard Maxford, whom I almost never agree with, seems to get this one. He calls the film "silly but quite lively" and points out the "nifty effects" and "gag cameos" (Stephen King, Clive Barker, Joe Dante, Tobe Hooper and John Landis). And there you go -- recognition of the fun this film was and still is.
Ron Perlman ("Hellboy", "Pro-Life") plays a cop and doesn't get nearly enough screen time. Not sure what else to say about that. Clearly they did not foresee the star power in Perlman.
Director Mick Garris has commented on how "Sleepwalkers" was a troubled production, and one only has to watch in disbelief to see what he means. Before its 1992 theatrical release, I remember the film being heavily hyped as Stephen King's first foray into cinema with a completely original screenplay (and as was true with most adaptations of his work--with or without his involvement--at the time, the reviews were less than sympathetic). Ironically, Garris would become better known for helming TV-miniseries versions of some of King's best-known works ("The Stand"; "The Shining"; "Desperation"), directing right from the author's own scripts. Needless to say, these made-for-TV works outshine "Sleepwalkers," which simply further proves that King's writing style (heavy with internal dialogues and detailed, unspoken perceptions) is better suited to a format that can fully develop his themes and characters. This tale of an incestuous mother/son duo who shapeshifts into bloodthirsty felines, roaming from small towns to dine on virgin prey, is fairly decent for the first 50 minutes--King's use of 'local color' (and the resulting humor) is well-rendered, and Garris does a fine job of creating an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue. But just when "Sleepwalkers" seems headed for the zone of good (if not truly memorable) King adaptations, its final third devolves into overblown, ridiculous action sequences (as though the producers chopped away 30 pages of King's script for explosions and shootouts) and a queasy imbalance between absurd humor and sentimental melodrama. The end result hobbles the overall experience--had King's ideas been thoroughly fleshed-out, "Sleepwalkers" may have been a solid entry in his filmography...but as it stands, it feels like a lament over what could have been. The cats are incredibly cute, though.
`Sleepwalkers' is a film whose main plot thrust comes from the pre-opening
credits description of what the film's title means. Just about all
backstory and motivations are given here, and we are then treated to a
ninety-minute entertainment vehicle that plays out these events in a
simplistic but interesting manner.
The film's acting, for a horror picture, is remarkably good. Brian Krause and Alice Krige give standout performances as the titular feline troublemakers who also share a disturbing Oedipal relationship, cult favorite Madchen Amick gives a wonderfully nuanced performance as Krause's troubled love interest, and the cameos by many famous faces from the horror world will give fans something to look for and smile about. Even the supporting cast members seem to be having a good time, including Ron Perlman and Glenn Shadix in relatively small but amusing roles.
The make-up effects are very good, although not top-notch. They're certainly nothing amazing, but they serve their occasionally-gruesome purposes well. The optical effects look pretty dated by today's standards, but it's still interesting to see CG effects in some of their earliest forms. The transformation sequences now look like something out of a made-for-TV movie, but they don't significantly detract from the film.
Where this picture does tend to fail is in its plot and dialogue. Just about all of the mystery of the story dissipates by its halfway point, leaving the audience to predict and anticipate just about everything that happens in the rest of the film, essentially destroying the tension and suspense aspects. And since this is a horror picture written by Stephen King, one would expect these two elements to be the strongest components of the film. The dialogue is at times campy and at other times overly-serious. This has the effect of making some of the characters unbalanced in many ways, something that detracts from the film as a whole. It seems the director and/or writer was/were having difficulty deciding whether or not to play this film up as a comedy or a true horror movie, and so as it stands it awkwardly lies somewhere in between.
`Sleepwalkers' is not horror at its finest, either in terms of ability to truly frighten or to provide fun campiness. It straddles the line between the two, existing somewhere equidistant from both. It is never too over-the-top for us to laugh out loud with it, nor is it ever truly scary enough to make us shiver. As it stands, it is an extremely simple and very entertaining work of filmmaking, something that horror fans will enjoy and others should probably avoid.
this Stephen King adaptation was entertaining but not great,by any means.it's worthwhile to pass time.it''s probably as weird as any of the King adaptation i have,and even weirder than others.this movie sort of felt like a fairy tale to me.although not a kid's fable,obviously.i did like the cast,many of whom have gone on to other things,since then.Brian Krause also appeared in the TV show Charmed,Madchen Amick (who could be Kim Delaney's twin sister)has been in several smaller budget pictures.Alice Krige was seen most notably as the Borg Queen in Star Trek:First Contact,while Ron Perlman was previously seen in The TV series beauty and the Beast.his most notable role(In my opinion)was in Hellboy as the title character.like in most King movies,king himself appears in a cameo.at least three other modern horror masters(Jon Landis,Joe Dante,and Clive Barker also have cameos.anyway if you wanna pass 90 minutes or so,i'd say this movie is worth it.for me,Sleepwalkers is a 6/10
An incestuous mother and son (Krige, Krause) of preternatural origin
move to a small town to find a young female virgin (Amick) the son may
take the life force of and feed the mother with.
It's Stephen King, who wrote the screenplay, at his not bad best. Interesting music; I've never heard Enya in a horror movie before but surprisingly it works. As with Ron Perlman, I'd pretty much sit through anything with Alice Krige in it.
The down side is that although the mother and son are interesting beings the curiosity about them the movie arouses is not satisfied. What are they? A kind of feline lineage is hinted at as they can morph into variations of cat like creatures yet cats are their mortal enemies (a scratch can be fatal). Where are they from? Egypt is hinted at (the origin of the worship of Bast, perhaps). Why are they called Sleepwalkers (origins of the incubus/succubus/vampire mythologies)?
Despite the questions raised and unanswered the film is still an enjoyable gore-fest horror break from reality.
Worth a rent/buy used, especially for fans of Stephen King's work.
Best Stephen King film alongside IT, though this one is more fun than
This one's got it all:
-a great cast with a Alice Krige and Brian Krause and a fun cameo from King himself;
-well dosed horror in an amusing storyline;
-great use of music, Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk" in particular;
-likeable characters in a typical King setting: middle of nowhere village;
-lots of humor. You can't really get good scares here because it's too much fun and over the top;
-old but really nice makeup effects like they don't make anymore!
A 4,5 rating: I don't get it really. When was the last time a horror film was as much fun as this one?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You have to love this film. It starts with a mother and son making
love, and then cuts to Amick dancing whilst cleaning a cinema, or
Plotwise, it's about a pair of cat things called Sleepwalkers (never explained) whose kryptonite is cats, and the son has to suck glitter from virgins, and then have sex with his mom to feed her.
And thats the plot.
It's an awful film, but there is something about this that has car crash movie written all over it. For all it's bad acting and silly lines and unintentional laughs, one cannot help watching it right to the end, and then want to watch it again when it pops up on TV.
It's not scary in the slightest and it suffers from post terminator 2 morphinitis, a term used for films released during 92-95, thinking that a bit of CGI morphing would equal a hit. The effects here are very bad, but add a little more fun to the film.
There are cameos galore from big name directors, Luke Skywalker, and King himself, playing himself saying the film wasn't his fault or something like that.
The three leads are okay, even if Krause is a bit wooden, the scene in the cemetery is very funny and camp.
But Kridge is the best thing in the whole mess. she is very alluring and keeps a straight face when she is delivering the poor script.
The deaths are funny too, and despite the gaping plot-holes and the overall badness of it all, it's a very watchable movie and far from the worst King adaption made into a film.
Who could resist a woman running around screaming with a dummy cat on her back and then killing by stabbing him with an ear of corn.
silly, pointless, but fun.
There's something about the b-grade sleeper "Sleepwalkers" that keeps me from liking it, but not enough to entirely hate it either. It kept me entertained, but I wasn't all that satisfied. Director Mick Garris' handling might come off stagy (which took any sense of atmosphere) with an almost TV-like feel, but remains crisp and well paced in its actions. Some imagery shows moments of creativity with the illustrative camera-work with its scopes and tilts. I just wished it had been much more darker in its visual styling. Stephen King would adapt his own book, where the premise creates a wickedly novel concept that would turn upon its sly tone with nonsensical and over-the-top dramatic lashings. This goes for its outrageous, if clumsy climax. While the jolts are grisly, they do come off quite risible with it being punctuated by sadistic heavy-handedness. The eccentric make-up FX is decently pulled off, even with some cheesy and blotchy trimmings. The script is rather ill-defined, but still has a neat touch of morbid humour and a sexual charge thanks to the seductively deranged performances by Alice Krige and Brian Krause in their mother and son relationship. Mädchen Amick is suitably appealing in the victim role. Ron Perlman makes a short, but commanding turn. Also keep a look out for some amusingly interesting cameos by Stephen King, Tobe Hooper, John Dante, John Landis, Clive Baker and Mark Hamill.
Director Mick Garris brings to us a nostalgic feature from the mind of
Stephen King that sets new rules to the term "blood-thirsty creature",
however lame they may be. All the way from dialogue such as tacky one
liners like, "Cop-kabob!" and juicy delivers such as, "This doesn't
have to hurt. Just think of yourself as lunch!" to scenes of mother-son
incest between supernatural, flesh-eating whatever they are and murder
by ear of corn, Sleepwalkers takes us on a quirky, poorly done, but
overall enjoyable adventure with tons of undeniable mediocrity and
shines of sheer camp brilliance along the way that gives us that icky,
"Why do we like this?" feeling.
Sleepwalkers is just so fun and it's entertaining cheesiness is ultimately rewarding in the utmost sense. The hunky Brian Krause is so likable and cute as the son who wants the flesh of a local teen girl, but Alice Krige is even more likable and amazing as the controlling, yet oddly loving mother who takes pleasure in the part time hobby of having sex with her son. I wanted Tanya to die, I'll say, so badly did I want her to die, and usually when a horror film does that it ultimately fails in being pleasing to the audience, yet that's not the case with Sleepwalkers. The characters are bland, and the actors/actresses know that, so they overact to make them more likable, which in turn does not work, which in turn works! Understand what I'm saying? Anyone? Oh, nevermind.
The movie has an assorted collection of nice, memorable cameos, humorous anti-satire and cute, killer cats! What more could you want in a film?! You either love it or hate it, regardless of what you rate it, and I can understand both sides of the scale in different ways. I personally thought it was pure bliss that put smiles on my face, but here again, I enjoy most things.
A charming boy and his mother move to a middle of nowhere town, cats
and death soon follow them. That about sums it up.
I'll admit that I am a little freaked out by cats after seeing this movie. But in all seriousness in spite of the numerous things that are wrong with this film, and believe me there is plenty of that to go around, it is overall a very enjoyable viewing experience.
The characters are more like caricatures here with only their basis instincts to rely on. Fear, greed, pride lust or anger seems to be all that motivate these people. Although it can be argued that that seeming failing, in actuality, serves the telling of the story. The supernatural premise and the fact that it is a Stephen King screenplay(not that I have anything specific against Mr. King) are quite nicely supported by some interesting FX work, makeup and quite suitable music. The absolute gem of this film is without a doubt Alice Krige who plays Mary Brady, the otherworldly mother.
King manages to take a simple story of outsider, or people who are a little different(okay - a lot in this case), trying to fit in and twists it into a campy over the top little horror gem that has to be in the collection of any horror fan.
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