The small town of Haven becomes a hot-bed of inventions all run by a strange green power device. The whole town is digging something up in the woods, and only an alcoholic poet can discover... See full summary »
Charles Brady and his mother Mary move to a small Indiana town, having recently fled Bodega Bay, California after draining and killed a young girl there. They are sleepwalkers - they can change their appearance and they need the lifeforce from young women. Charles has picked out young Tanya Robertson, whom he meets at a local high school, as his next victim. He asks her out for a date and invites her home... however, she did not suspect his real interest in her. On their first date, a picnic at a nearby cemetery, Charles attempts to drain the lifeforce from Tanya for himself and his mother.Written by
In the beginning where Charles is cutting his arm, you can clearly see the outline of the blood patch he is actually cutting. See more »
Hey, there comes Johnny with his pecker in his hand, he's a one-balled man and he's off to the rodeo.
[cuts to graveyard scene and then back to squad car]
So allamande left and allamande right, come on you fuckin' turkey get your right foot right. Get off the stage you fucking jerk, you know you piss me off.
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Cat's claws slash through the screen after the credits, exposing a green glow beyond. See more »
To obtain a more commercially viable M rating for its theatrical release in Australia, a majority of the film's violence and gorier moments were cut by Columbia TriStar Films. These cuts were later restored for an uncut R rated home video release. See more »
As we discover from an opening title card, The Bradys--Charles (Brian Krause) and Mary (Alice Krige), are "sleepwalkers"--shape-shifting, leonine, proto-vampiric and lycanthropic humanoids who must feed on the essence of a virgin to rejuvenate themselves. Because of the nature of their sustenance, they are usually quickly found out and must move from town to town like gypsies. As the film starts, they've just moved to a small town in Indiana.
Sleepwalkers has a lot going for it, most strongly its attitude. This was writer Stephen King's first script written exclusively for the screen, and director Mick Garris' first King project, so they both have something to prove. They did so by creating a "balls to the wall" horror film that's just as daring and disturbing in its dramatic material as it is in its more traditional horror material. At least in retrospect, it may be a bit rough around the edges, both technically and artistically, and its final moments are slightly clichéd, but its spirit easily makes up for that.
The beautiful Santo & Johnny song "Sleepwalk", the B.J. Cole version of which was also used to great effect in 12 Monkeys (1995), may have been the catalyst for the whole affair. I can just picture King listening to the song, his imagination going to work on a twisted demonic family slinking through the night seeking the élan vital of a virgin. The song occurs a number of times throughout the film, always during intimate moments between Charles and Mary (whose very names have countless historical connections, not the least of which was a skewed-by-today's-mores engagement between Queen "Bloody" Mary Tudor and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V), whose relationship is sure to shock some viewers. Given my artistic/philosophical dispositions, motivations, and views, I'm always a great fan of taboo breaking, so putting this material at the beginning of the film already had me strongly on King and Garris' side.
The performances in the film are delightfully curious. Partially due to King's writing, the characters all have distinct quirks, and the cast plays them with a subtle exaggeration that almost threatens to become camp, but remains more in the realm of surreal weirdness. Many of the supporting roles stand out just as strongly as the principles, especially Jim Haynie as the sheriff who loves sing-songy adolescent dirty rhymes, limericks and the like, and Ron Perlman as the police captain who is comically gruff and cynical, as only Perlman can be. There are also a number of cameos that are extremely fun for genre fans--King, Clive Barker, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Joe Dante and Mark Hamill.
The gore and special makeup effects are excellent for the film's era. Sleepwalkers is also one of the earlier horror films to use computer-morphing, ala Terminator 2 (1991), for special makeup transitions. Genre fans will take note that the "early" stages of the sleepwalker transformation strongly resemble the vampire makeup in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) and Angel (1999) television series. It's difficult to imagine that this was not one of the influences on the Buffy development team.
Shot in an oddly bucolic area of Los Angeles near Beverly Hills, Sleepwalkers also features terrific locations, sets and cinematography. The Brady house is intriguing in that it looks a bit dumpy from the outside, but the interior is almost gothically lush. There are also a lot of cats throughout Sleepwalkers, and it's the first time I can remember the mere presence of domestic pets doing so much to create an overall eerie atmosphere.
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