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Release Date(s)1992 (September 4, 2012)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures (Image)
If you ask someone to name their favorite Stephen King movies, odds are you’re not going to hear Sleepwalkers brought up very often. It is, without question, a minor entry in the King canon despite being written by the man himself, one of just a handful of original screenplays he’s penned. It was also the first of many King movie and TV projects directed by Mick Garris, who’d go on to helm the miniseries adaptations of The Stand, The Shining, Bag of Bones and others. And while it’s no classic, it’s a fun rainy day creature feature.
Brian Krause and Alice Krige star as the titular shape-shifting monsters, a way-too-close-for-comfort mother and son. Mom needs the blood of a virgin to survive, so Krause seduces high schooler Mädchen Amick. Fortunately for her, Krause and Krige have one big weakness: cats. By the movie’s end, a virtual feline army has assembled, making this the most adorable horror movie ever made.
Sure, the story is a little thin and the morphing effects are a little primitive. But the cast appears to be having fun with the material, which always helps movies like this. Garris keeps the tone light with amusing cameos by Mark Hamill, Clive Barker, Tobe Hooper, Joe Dante, John Landis and King himself and it’s always a pleasure to see genre favorites Glenn Shadix and Ron Perlman turn up. The movie isn’t exactly scary but it does have some weird and quirky moments. There are certainly worse ways to spend an hour and a half.
Image brings Sleepwalkers to HD in a bare-bones Blu-ray release that looks pretty darn good, all things considered. It’s a clean if slightly soft image but it’s certainly an improvement on the DVD. The audio (DTS-HD MA 2.0, despite the packaging claiming a 5.1 mix) is perfectly fine. Not mind-blowing but it does everything it needs to do. The trailer is the sole bonus feature on the disc, which is actually disappointing. Come on, you know you want to see a making-of featurette called Herding Cats. I know I do.
Sleepwalkers does not seem to be held in particularly high esteem. It currently has a paltry 4.8 rating on IMDb. If you hate it, I’m not going to argue with you other than to suggest you perhaps lighten up. Sleepwalkers doesn’t have high aspirations. It just wants to be a fun popcorn monster movie and, for my money, it succeeds. It’s a horror movie for the crazy cat lady in all of us.
- Dr. Adam Jahnke