Sleepwalkers ★★★★

"People really should learn to keep their hands to themselves."

Spooky Season #13

Clovis the Attack Cat: an American hero and the best law enforcement we could ask for.

Working with an original Stephen King screenplay rather than an adaptation of one of his novels, director Mick Garris's Sleepwalkers is a thoroughly wackadoo horror flick filled with more cat people and uses of Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk" than you can shake a stick at. Like most King tales, the action is set in a picturesque burg, in this instance the close-knit community of Travis, Indiana, where Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and his mother Mary (Alice Krige) have moved in search of their requisite kill. The Bradys can shapeshift between feline and human forms, but they must feast on young girls' virgin blood in order to survive, so they set their sights on high schooler Tanya Robertson (the absolutely gorgeous Mädchen Amick, who has an awesome introductory scene) for the next life-sustaining meal. Of course, Tanya is easily charmed by Brian, who looks like a typical blonde dream boyfriend, pens intensely dramatic writings for their English class and discusses his penchant for making charcoal rubbings of gravestones. It's all fun and games until Charles and Tanya visit the local cemetery, though, and he finally reveals his beastly self to her, throwing our heroine into a battle against the Bradys that will threaten the safety of her, her parents (Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward) and the local police force (Jim Haynie, Ron Perlman and Dan Martin).

Although King's script is a tad flimsy when it comes to nuances like background and character development, there's no doubt that his and Garris's film generates nonstop entertainment. Amick is a lovely lead, Krige and Krause are engaging villains, the entire cast is clearly having a good time (special commendation for Glenn Shadix as a suspicious teacher) and there are cameos by Clive Barker, Joe Dante, Mark Hamill, Tobe Hooper, John Landis and even Stephen King himself. Arguably, the abrupt tonal shifts are just as insane as the incestuous mother-and-son duo at the story's center, but the funniest parts are hilarious (gotta love this highlight) and the most haunting aspects (like the memorable ending and its Enya needle-drop that lasts through the credits) are suitably unsettling. If you're willing to hang on, Sleepwalkers promises to be one kooky, disconcerting and exciting rollercoaster ride.

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