Sometimes They Come Back (Tom McLoughlin, 1991, USA)

Sometimes They Come Back is a 1991 TV movie directed by Tom McLoughlin. McLoughlin preceded this film with one of the best installments of the Friday the 13th franchise, the highly comical Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Based on the short story by Stephen King, Sometimes was originally intended to be featured as a segment in the 1985 anthology film Cat's Eye. De Laurentiis believed that the story was strong enough to stand as a feature, and thus it entered the pantheon of De Laurentiis-King features of the late 80s and early 90s. While the film was intended for TV, it is easy to mistake the film for theatrical, as the film has a decent production standard. 

The film stars Tim Matheson, as Jim Norman, a man returning to teach high school in his hometown where long ago he witnessed his brother get murdered by a gang of greasers. This adaptation of the story makes several changes to the source material that improves the story, including having Jim return home. In the original story, Jim is starting anew at a random time. The film also sentimentalizes the story, placing more emphasis on Jim's wife Sally (here played by Brooke Adams, who also featured in another King adaptation - The Dead Zone) and his son. The plot itself is an amalgam of various King tropes - the dead boy coming straight from The Body Stand By Me, a gang of greasers out of IT, and a haunted car coming from Christine. These King tropes are well-worn but the film is reasonably entertaining and certainly a step above many other Stephen King adaptations for television, and also King adaptations from short stories. It is still surprising that Sometimes was followed not by one sequel, but by two sequels.



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