Sleepwalkers (1992) – Film Review
Director: Mark Garris
Cast: Brian Krause, Mädchen Amick, Alice Krige
by Sarah Morgan
Stephen King hasn’t always appreciated big screen adaptations of his work – his thoughts on Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining, a movie much-admired by most people who’ve seen it, are well documented.
Perhaps that’s why he began writing screenplays himself, starting with Creepshow in 1982. A decade later, he penned his first original script for Sleepwalkers. He also makes a brief appearance as a cemetery caretaker.
At its centre is a fresh take on the vampire legend – a re-vamp, if you will. Brian Krause and Alice Krige play Charles and Mary Brady, a mother-and-son duo in an incestuous and dependent relationship – he provides the female virgins she needs to feed on in order to survive.
After arriving in a small town, they focus their attention on Tanya (Mädchen Amick), an attractive high school student who immediately falls for Charles’s all-American charms. However, she isn’t going to give up her virtue easily, setting in motion a gruesome fight to the death that involves most of the local community.
King’s efforts to do something different with bloodsuckers starts well; there are interesting moments involving shapeshifting and cats, who are the only species capable of recognising the evil presence.
Adding the incestuous element is genuinely disturbing too, but after setting up an intriguing premise, the second half descends into camp with some supposedly darkly humorous lines that simply don’t work. Somebody is even murdered with a corn cob.
The cast do the best they can. Amick was then a hot property due to her Twin Peaks role; she delivers a strong performance as Tanya, who could have been nothing more than a two-dimensional scream queen in less assured hands.
Krause is fine too, while Krige is a real ice queen as the demanding matriarch. Many familiar faces pop up in supporting roles, including Ron Perlman, Mark Hamill and Lyman Ward. Horror fans will also enjoy spotting genre icons Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Clive Barker and Joe Dante in blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos.
All-in-all, Sleepwalkers will appeal to King aficionados, but if I was writing a school report about it, I’d say ‘could do better’.
1080p presentation on Blu-ray
DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 audio options
English subtitles (SDH)
New Audio Commentary with director Mick Garris and film historian Lee Gambin
Audio Commentary with director Mick Garris, Mädchen Amick, and Brian Krause
"Feline Trouble" interview with director Mick Garris
"When Charles Met Tanya" conversation with actors Mädchen Amick And Brian Krause
"Mother & More" interview with actress Alice Krige
"Creatures & Cats: The FX of Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers" featurette
Sleepwalkers is released on Blu-ray by Eureka, £19.99