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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Sleepwalkers (1992)


Starring: Brian Krause, Mädchen Amick and Alice Krige
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £19.99


Certificate: 18
Release Date: 19 October 2020

Charles Brady and his mother Mary move to a small rural town in America. Charles has his eye on a college girl called Tanya Robertson, and she thinks he is utterly charming. However, the new arrivals are not human but shape-changing creatures known as Sleepwalkers. They are contemporary vampires of sorts, who kill and feed on people. More specifically stealing their life essence. Mary wants Charles to bring Tanya home so that she can feed on her. Charles is initially reluctant, but then relents. Cats are the only animals who can see the Sleepwalkers for who they really are, through their outwardly human visage, and attack them on sight. The Brady’s are afraid of cats, and kill them any chance they get. Increasingly more cats congregate outside the house – over a hundred, in fact. But is it enough to save Tanya, or will they be too late...?

Sleepwalkers is one of many Stephen King horror stories to be directed by Mick Garris. These adaptations vary very much in quality and style. For example, the Rose Red mini-series is like watching paint dry, whereas The Shining mini-series is, in my opinion, far superior to the overrated movie (a Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top performance). This one sits somewhere in the middle. It was the first King story to be handled by Garris, and came directly from the author’s script rather than a book or short story. Emerging in 1992, this was one of the first few feature films to incorporate morphing CGI effects. Whilst not brilliant, they suit the purpose. The true form of the creatures are represented by body suits with large heads full of animatronics.

Brian Krause was already under contract with the film company after being taken on for Return to Blue Lagoon, and puts in a pretty solid performance here as Charles. Alice Krige, who found cult fame as the Borg queen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, manages to be both sexy and creepy in her role as Mary. Mädchen Amick also comes across as very charismatic as Tanya. There is a veritable who’s who of minor roles in the cast. Look out for Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman; Star Wars’ Mark Hamill in the opening prologue, Stephen King himself as the Cemetery Caretaker, Joe Dante (director of Gremlins, The Howling, and Piranha) as a Lab Technician; and Tobe Hooper (director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) as a Forensic Tech – along with John Landis (director of An American Werewolf in London) and Horror author and artist Clive Barker. Wow! What a way for Garris to pay tribute to his heroes.

Although it was added as a remount, after pre-release screenings, the prologue scene at the start of the film is very impressive. Specifically, the exterior of the property which is surrounded by dead cats caught in a multitude of traps. In the film proper there is also the ambiguity of Charles’s sexual relationship with his mother Mary. Is this a human Oedipus Complex or the normal inter-relational processes of the Sleepwalkers. There are some nice set pieces in this movie, but the truth is it’s not going to knock your socks off – although it does easily hold your attention throughout. In terms of horror, it’s pretty tame, too. Except for the mother/son sex scene, this could comfortably by aired on Sunday afternoon TV. I always suspected that cats were weird and alien.

This is the film’s first foray onto Blu-ray, released by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Classics collection. It’s a very nice 1080p picture. I used to own the original video release of the movie which was dull and grainy in comparison. This new version has definitely improved my opinion of the piece.

Special Features include a New Audio Commentary with director Mick Garris and film historian Lee Gambin; another Audio Commentary with Mick Garris, Mädchen Amick and Brian Krause; Feline Trouble – an Interview with Mick Garris; When Charles Met Tanya – Conversation with actors Mädchen Amick and Brian Krause; Mother and More – Interview with Actress Alice Krige; Creatures & Cats – the FX of Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers featurette; Behind-the-Scenes footage; and a Theatrical Trailer. There is a Limited Edition version of only 2000 copies, which features a Card Slipcase, and a Collector’s Booklet.


Ty Power

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