And now, Scary-Crayon reviews...
Stephen King's SLEEPWALKERS
by: Wes

FEAR THE CAT PEOPLE!!!They eat souls, you see.

"Only Stephen King, the dark genius behind Misery, The Shining, and Pet Sematary, could have written STEPHEN KING'S SLEEPWALKERS, a classic horror story that takes a perfect Norman Rockwell town and turns it inside out."

So reads the description on the back of the DVD case, and it's partly true. Of course only Stephen King could have written Stephen King's Sleepwalkers -- 'cause if someone else had written it, it wouldn't really be Stephen King's Sleepwalkers, would it? As far as the part about the film being a classic horror story goes, well...

Probable source of the vampire legend my ass.

...it fucking sucks. The movie's hardly worth a full summary review-cum-commentary -- there's nowhere near enough substance or entertaining material to warrant such an in-depth treatment -- but here's the rundown. Sleepwalkers, as the quote above explains, are shapeshifting cat people things that prey on the life-force of humans -- specifically, virgin girls. Yes, virgin girls. Again. Seriously, with stuff like this, it's no wonder that kids are having sex at younger and younger ages these days. With vampires and werewolves and now half-human cat things baying for that SWEET VIRGIN BLOOD, the term "safe sex" takes on a whole new meaning... but I digress. It's also interesting that King attempts to lend his monsters a kind of historical credibility not only by introducing them with a quote from a (fictional) book of arcane lore, but also claiming that the Sleepwalkers were probably the source of vampire legends. To further emphasize the creatures' ancient origins, various artifacts, paintings, and drawings depicting humanoid cat creatures are displayed during the opening credits. Admittedly, it's a somewhat compelling way to begin, and had the film gone this route -- drawing on the apparently rich background of the monsters and portraying the story's two Sleepwalkers as timeless beasts, drifting sadly through the ages with only each other for company, it might have succeeded in many of its goals. Instead, typical of King's screen horror efforts, the movie seems more interested in providing scenes of Oedipal incest and monsters that stab you in the back with ears of corn and then make wisecracks about it. Sure, it worked for Creepshow, but Creepshow never tried to make me pity that dude who came back from Hell for a birthday cake.

He's his own daddoo.Hey pretty...

Anyway, once the movie gets going, we meet a teenage boy (Brian Krause) and his mother (Alice Krige) who, ten minutes into the film, we find out is also his lover: He dances with her, tongue-kisses her, and then carries her up to her bedroom for an afternoon session of lovemaking. They're not just incestuous people, however -- they're incestuous cat people. Incestuous cat people who want to feast on the soul of a sexy virgin girl (Mädchen Amick, who's really a vision -- she's like Anne Hathaway gorgeous). So after stalking the pretty girl for a bit and making her think that they can be trusted, they try to kill her, forces intervene, and after a lot of blood and dismemberment and shooting and screaming, the monsters are dead, along with everyone else in the entire town except for the damsel in distress and a bunch of fucking cats.

"HA HA HA! RAPE IS FUN!"Suffer, you bastard.

So sure, it's bad -- but it doesn't sound too bad, right? Here's what really got me about the movie -- that it actually tries to make the viewer feel sorry for the soul-devouring cat people. Not, mind you, because they're immortal monsters forced to feed on the life-forces of fresh young girls with their whole lives ahead of them in order to maintain their tortured and lonely existence that mostly consists of being driven from town to town by burly men with torches and pitchforks. No, that might actually have achieved the desired effect, or at least have been less reprehensible than the nerve King tried to strike. Instead, King attempts to make us fucking pity one of the beasts after he is mortally wounded in the attempt to kill the comely teenage virgin -- an activity that he not only obviously enjoys, as indicated by his Freddy-style quips throughout the ordeal, but that also looks more than a little like an attempted rape (which is, moreover, what the cops who arrive on the scene believe has taken place). Seriously, when the injured cat monster returns home to his mother and is laid up on the couch, sad, mournful music plays as she tends to his wounds and everything, as if we're supposed to be touched by their devotion to one another and should feel bad that he failed to murder the girl -- as if we should understand. Yet given the circumstances under which the cat monster was wounded, to attempt to elicit sympathy from his failure is to imply that the viewer should somehow identify with and/or feel pity for rapists and murderers thwarted in their endeavors to commit the very vilest of crimes. Sorry, King. I shed no tears for incestuous soul-devouring cat monsters, least of all ones that punch beautiful girls to the ground and then crack jokes as the poor lasses bleed and scream their lungs out in terror.

It's like a Chinese BBQ! Okay, that was a bad one.SCORPION wins.

To make matters worse, there's the whole issue of the Sleepwalkers' weakness -- the scratch of a cat. Now, the idea of cat people who can't abide being scratched by normal cats sounds pretty stupid to begin with, but it's even worse when you see these things taking corkscrews to the eye and shotgun blasts to the gut and not even slowing down -- yet somehow, when cats scratch them, they fucking burst into flame. I'm not kidding, and the movie doesn't even make the slightest attempt to explain the matter. Silver bullets and werewolves, stakes and sunlight and vampires, even headshots and zombies -- though it doesn't technically matter why the monsters are vulnerable to these things (like you'd ever ask why staking a vampire kills it when it's snapping at your neck), it's usually best for a story to err on the side of making sense, even if that sense is a little less than common. Hell, I would've been satisfied with a stupid explanation -- frex, that the cat monsters were spawned long ago from the unholy union of sabretoothed tigers and cavewomen and that somehow being scratched by a pure feline causes their unstable genetic code (hence the shapeshifting) to break down completely. That would've been something. As it is, all I see are cat monsters being mauled by stray cats and then spontaneously combusting. It's awful.

Oh no! She's ASLEEP!"GRRR! The title of this movie makes no sense!"

And finally, there's the name of the titular creatures themselves -- the Sleepwalkers. Why are they called "Sleepwalkers"? They don't walk around in their sleep. They don't wait until their victims are asleep to attack. In fact, NOBODY SLEEPS AT ALL IN THE MOVIE (with the possible exception of one scene in which the pretty girl appears to doze off in the bathtub for a moment). The only apparent explanation is that apparently the song "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny plays a number of times in the film, which really doesn't justify the title, especially considering that Enya's "Boadicea" is ultimately the movie's prevailing piece of music. And since that song selection did little more than have Lauryn Hill's voice echoing in my head throughout the majority of the film (Ready or not... here I come... you can't hide...), I hate it all the more.

Um... what the fuck?

So, to conclude, Stephen King's Sleepwalkers is not only pretty bad, but it's easily the worst film I've seen with King's stamp on it. Kind of ironic when one considers that it was his first script written exclusively for the screen and that it wasn't an early effort (when this film was released in 1992, King was already well-established as a "master of horror" or some other bullshit epithet they use to trumpet his work in film trailers and publisher descriptions). Sleepwalkers features incestuous, wisecracking, analogous-to-enthusiastic-rapists, shapeshifting, vulnerable-to-cat-scratches, soul-devouring cat monster things and actually tries to make the viewer pity said creatures, for crying out loud! And while I can see a horror enthusiast deriving some enjoyment from watching the film -- after all, a handful of horror notables have cameo appearances, including King himself, Clive Barker, and Tobe Hooper -- and I can certainly see it striking an emotional chord with would-be murderers and rapists who view the escape of a beautiful girl and the wounding of a soul-stealing beast as causes for lament, having watched it, the only person I really pity is myself. That's 89 minutes of my life that I'll never get back.  :(

Yep, cats.A whole bunch of 'em.

P.S. Think they used enough cats in this movie?

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