Mick Garris (director)
89 min (length)
19 October 2020 (released)
22 October 2020
Stephen King’s SLEEPWALKERS was the first film written by him which wasn’t actually based on one of his novels yet still turned out to be a huge hit with fans. The story of incestuous, shape-shifting ‘were-cats’ who move from small town to small town to prey on virginal young women in order to stay alive is as darkly humorous as it is violent and features un-credited cameos from famous movie directors associated with the horror genre.
We’re off to a gruesome start when two policemen (one played by Star Wars’ Mark Hamill, in another un-credited role) discover plenty of mutilated dead cats hanging from the porch entrance of a house overseeing Bodega Bay. Inside the house they find the corpse of a young girl, seemingly drained of all blood… Next we’re in the State of Indiana or to be more precise Travis – a small town where Mum still bakes apple pie and life seems cosy and pleasant. Not for much longer though! Enter Mary Brady (Alice Krige) and her son Charles (Brian Krause) who recently moved to Travis after having fled… Bodega Bay. Not only are this mother-and-son team in an incestuous relationship, they are also nomadic shape-shifters who can transform into bipedal were-cats and also have powers of telekinesis and illusion. Only cats, with whom they share a mutual hostility, are able to see through these illusions and can inflict wounds with their claws fatal to these dangerous shape-shifters. Now the Bradys are on the lookout for the next victim and Charles has his eyes set on innocent High School girl Tanya Robertson (Mädchen Amick) whom he chats up in the local cinema where she has a p/t job. Pretending to be as much interested in photography as she is, the two are soon on the way to their first date – a picnic in a nearby cemetery. It is a picnic Tanya won’t forget in a hurry, what’s more, she has no idea that only a short while earlier, this apparently charming young student had brutally killed their teacher Mr. Fallows (Glenn Shadix) after he confronted Brian about lying over his identity.
Just as the picnic takes a turn for the worse, with Charles showing his true colours and attempting to suck the lifeforce out of Tanya who bravely fights him off – injuring him badly in the process, along come Deputy Simpson (Dan Martin) and his loyal feline companion Clovis (Sparks). Simpson already encountered Charles earlier on as he tried to run over a schoolgirl while fleeing a crime scene but has lost track of him thanks to Charles’ shape-shifting and illusionist vanishing act. Now he’s spotted his car by the wayside and just as he’s about to embark on a search a battered and bruised Tanya emerges from the woods screaming for help. Desperately trying to help the girl Charles also emerges and kills Simpson in the process though Tanya’s life is saved by brave Clovis. As a big ‘thank you’ she decides to adopt the newly orphaned cat as her own.
Reunited with her worried parents (Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett respectively), Tanya initially falls on deaf ears when Police Captain Soames (Ron Perlman) puts her admittedly fantastical story down to an overactive imagination but soon changes his tune when the Robertsons are attacked in their own house by an increasingly vicious and violent Mary Brady who has come to kidnap Tanya… She needs the terrified girl in order to save her son’s life and her own but hasn’t counted on 126 equally hungry pussycats all running down the high street (what a sight to behold!) seeking revenge on the cat-killing Bradys. The stage is set for an unforgettable and explosive finale - with Tanya and Clovis surviving the carnage.
With suitably atmospheric music by Nicholas Pike and impressive prosthetic design / special make-up effects (‘Sleepwalkers’ was one of the first movies using the so-called ‘morph’ effect) and impressive performances to match, SLEEPWALKERS makes for a purrfect Halloween treat!
Available on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK, SLEEPWALKERS offers an array of Special Features including insightful interviews with cast and crew, trailer, ‘Behind-the-scenes’ footage, a Limited Edition collector’s booklet. Plus, the first print run (2000 copies only) comes in a Limited Edition O-Card Slipcase.