Sleepwalkers title card

As a New Englander I’m bordering on sacrilege saying this, but I’m not a Stephen King reader- I’m not even sure if it’s Steven or Stephen, to be honest- and after seeing Sleepwalkers, I think I know why. Either this story isn’t up to his usual standards, or his usual standards are pretty low. If I’ve insulted both of our readers, I apologize, but this movie is the pits.

Officer murdered with a corncob to the back

Welcome to Travis, Indiana, where the early 90’s have inexplicably merged with the 50’s. Somehow high school kids go on picnic dates, listen to oldies and still think crew cuts are cool. (Budding writers, take note: mixing decades for no reason isn’t just sloppiness, like your junior high writing teacher thought, it’s screenwriting genius!) Amidst this bewildering backdrop, we find our main characters: Mary (Alice Krige) and her son Charles (Brian Krause). They’re Sleepwalkers, ancient shapeshifting weirdos who are persecuted and forced to move from town to town. Why? Probably because they eat human virgins- oh, and Charles keeps having sex with his mom. Like four or five times- in an 87 minute movie. Times are tough for the Sleepwalkers- they can’t find a virgin, so they’re sort of starving. (Remember this is before the Internet, which finally gave virgins something to do on weekends.) Their hopes rest on Tanya (Madchen Amick), your stereotypical sweet Indiana girl and apparently the last virgin in high school.

A guy gets out of a car, with mountains in the background
Impressive mountains… for Indiana

And thus we present the most implausible love triangle in cinematic history. Charles has a crush on Tanya and isn’t sure if he wants to kiss her or eat her soul; his mom is both hungry for Tanya and jealous that her son has feelings for another woman. Meanwhile Tanya’s trying to seduce Charles, which would ruin everything. And you think you have romantic woes!

Charles takes Tanya out on the town, where he and the director realize they’re running out of time and decide to just start the violent scenes without explanation. Charles tries to kill Tanya, but she barely gets away thanks to a wisecracking cop and his cat Clovis- cats can sense Sleepwalkers in human form, I guess. Charles kills the cop, but Clovis gets some revenge by clawing Charles’s face a bunch.

Charles heads home a bloody mess, and his mom is pissed. She hunts Tanya down, stabs her parents and drags her back to Charles for feeding.

Now the entire county police force is on the job, including Ron Perlman in an annoying role. They’re no match for a horny mom craving her dying, shapeshifting son; but with all the hoopla going on, Clovis leads about six hundred cats into the house for the Big Payback. They turn the Sleepwalkers into Fancy Feast, Tanya’s safe, yadda yadda yadda.

Sleepwalker Mom

Clovis (Sparks the cat) is about the only saving grace of the movie. Not only is he the only character with any depth, he’s also the only good actor (semi-exceptions include Mark Hamill- yes, that Mark Hamill- in an uncredited cameo, and Lyman Ward, the guy that played Ferris Bueller’s dad, as Tanya’s dad). But it’s not enough to make up for a dull movie, even one whose moral is that premarital sex is great. Think about it: if Tanya had only given in to her pubescent urges at some point, she wouldn’t have become the target of hungry shapeshifters, and the town’s entire police force wouldn’t have died trying to protect her. Plus it’s fun! Or so I’m told. Mildly recommended.

Clovis the cat

“Stop looking at me you fucking cat!” – Charles

“Why are you being such a bitch?” – Charles
“Because I’m hungry!” – Mother

“Lots of cats.” – cop
“I can see that, dickhead!” – other cop

“It’s just you and me, Clovis…” – Tanya to the cat