Sleepwalkers (Mick Garris, 1992, USA)

Sleepwalkers marks the first Stephen King screenplay written directly for the screen. While King had written the 1991 TV miniseries Golden YearsSleepwalkers was intended for a wide theatrical audience. One of the conditions of the film was that King would have the final say over the result. Conflicts with the film's original director led to King eventually collaborating with relative newcomer Mick Garris, who would become known for his slavish adaptations of King's work in the future (most notably, his 1994 TV adaptation of The Stand and 1997 miniseries of The Shining). 

Sleepwalkers is something of a vampire tale, although in this case, the vampires are an incestuous mother-and son-duo (Alice Krige and Brian Krause) who present as humans but in reality are large cat-like creatures who survive on sucking the energy of virgins. The couple relocates to a small town where the son, Charles, begins courting the teenage Tanya Robertson (played by Madchen Amick of Twin Peaks fame). The film's central selling point in its advertising was the "morphing" of the two central villains - something that hadn't been seen much up to this point aside from Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1992).

Sleepwalkers is misguided from start to finish, from its incoherent premise to its largely unsympathetic characters, to its spoiling the relationship of the villains in the first ten minutes. Nevertheless, the film was a decent box office success in the US, and, remarkably, it didn't spawn a large number of direct-to-video sequels. King hasn't spoken at all about this film since its release, probably indicating that he is somewhat embarrassed by it. Tonally it is hard to tell how serious this film is meant to be, but it is a rather unintentionally funny film that still has some entertainment value overall. At least the musical choices are decent.



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