What’s a sleepwalker? How about shapeshifting energy vampires that survive off the energy of virgins, who can cast illusions, move things with their minds and transform into werecats? Oh yeah and their biggest weakness is cats, who can see them and kill them with their claws. And before we forget, the only way the males can feed their female mothers is by having sex with them. Got all that? Then if you can get your head around all of that, you’re ready for Sleepwalkers.
Charles Brady and his mother Mary (Alice Krige, the Borg queen!) are on the run, settling for a bit in Indiana. They’ve just escaped California, where they killed a young girl (who emerges as a screaming skeleton from a closet, shocking the police — including Mark Hamill among them) and left behind a house surrounded by dead cats.
Somehow, Charles is able to fake the necessary paperwork (this is pre-internet) and attend the local high school, where he chases Tanya (Mädchen Amick from Twin Peaks). Is it love or is he just trying to feed his mother? Well, on their first date, he tries to suck out her lifeforce, so she jams a corkscrew in his eye. If that’s not young love, what is?
Deputy Sheriff Andy arrives, having been searching for Charles ever since he was speeding and trying to run down young girls (not to mention slicing the hand off of a pedophile teacher). Oh yeah — the deputy has a partner. Clovis. A cat who sits in the front seat. As Andy attempts to save Tanya, Charles kills him, drawing the ire of Clovis, who scratches him. He staggers home, where his mother uses her powers to hide them from the police. However, the area cats are having none of this as they gather around the house.
Mary goes off — wiping out tons of cops (including Ron Perlman) and wounding Tanya’s parents (Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, who also played Ferris Bueller’s parents). She takes her back home, trying to get her life force to save her son. Tanya ends up jamming her fingers into Charles’ eyes as Clovis leads an army of cats. They destroy Mary, leaving her on fire in the driveway.
Directed by Mick Garris (the writer of *batteries not included, Hocus Pocus and Critters 2, as well as the director of The Shining TV mini-series and Psycho IV: The Beginning), this is one film that isn’t shy with the blood. Or the cameos, including King himself as a caretaker, John Landis and Joe Dante as lab techs, and Clive Barker and Tobe Hooper as forensic techs.
If you’re into spotting famous locations, there are plenty here. The Sleepwalkers live in the home of TV’s The Waltons, Tanya’s house is the DragonFly Inn from Gilmore Girls and the entire neighborhood is the same one as The ‘Burbs.
Garris would go on to helm plenty more King adaptions. Like Maximum Overdrive, this is a junk food horror film that you won’t get full on, but it will definitely answer your cravings for blood, incestual feline vampires and eye damage.