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Rated R
Copyright 1992 Ion Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 30 November 2008

The Characters:  

  • Tanya Robertson - I am going to use her as the basis for my thesis on the relation between portable music players and the declining cleanliness of carpets in America's heartland.
  • Charles Brady - He is a pussy magnet, but not because of his good looks, charming personality, or perfectly restored classic Trans Am.
  • Mary Brady - She might have been a shapeshifting monster from Hell, but she did love her son. She loved him a trifle too much.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Robertson - Do the two of you ever feel typecast as the parents of slightly rebellious, but otherwise loveable, teenagers?
  • Clovis - "Who's the cat that's going to protect all the chicks from shapeshifting creatures of the night? Clovis! Ya damn right!"
  • Sheriff Ira - All that he wanted was to spend his retirement in a quiet little town, in a quiet little house with a little white picket fence around it. Notice that nowhere in that dream did he ask to be impaled upon the picket fence.
  • Deputy Andy Simpson - He had an interesting taste in music. I hope that his disposition instructions did not include the wish that any of those songs be sung at his funeral.
  • Deputy Horace - I swear that this guy must have been born in Innsmouth.
  • Stephen King, John Landis, Joe Dante, Tobe Hooper, and Clive Barker - Did I miss any of the cameos? Probably.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

The film starts in a rather disorienting manner. Part of this is that the first time you see the movie you might assume the beginning sets up the rest of the story to be told as a flashback. That is not the case. The primary reason that the opening of "Sleepwalkers" bewilders viewers is that it features Mark Hamill with a thick moustache, and he is trying to thread his way through a suspended forest of mutilated cat carcasses.

I kept going back and forth between the realization that somebody in this film really hates cats and asking, "Is that Mark Hamill?" My friends, that is a tenuous grip on reality. I was a psychiatrist's wet dream for those first five minutes.

The previous residents of the dead cat-decorated house that Mr. Hamill visited are Mary and Charles. They are now living in a little town in Indiana. Mary is a prisoner in her own home, because the neighborhood cats congregate outside in response to the sleepwalkers' presence. Cats are natural enemies of the sleepwalkers, especially female sleepwalkers. However, Mary still needs to eat (human souls). That is where Charles comes in: his contribution to the family is appearing to be a normal teenager, which allows him to attend school and entrap virginal girls for his mother to feast on. When he is not ensnaring young women, Charles likes to dance with his mother. Actually, the juvenile sleepwalker seems to do a lot more than that with mom. Boy, that gets more disturbing the more I think about it.

Charles' search for an eligible young lady to bring home to mother ends when he meets Tanya. She is a naive, attractive overachiever who has reached that point in a young girl's life when she thinks that teenage boys, and the naughty things that are always on a teenage boy's mind, could be a lot of fun. Why girls suddenly develop the urge to partake in carnal desires is a mystery to males. It is almost as if they wake up one morning and decide that being daddy's little princess is over, and it is time to create some gossip about how they went up to make out point with the captain of the football team. When we (men, including me) are teenagers, the fact that girls change like that is a godsend. After we become fathers we are pretty certain that a less wholesome supernatural entity is involved.

To dissuade cats from converging on their house, Mary and Charles set steel-jawed traps in the yard. Once Jenna becomes a teenager, I am thinking about doing the same thing to our yard - except the target will be any wayward wandering suitors, vice cats.

Being a teenager is a tumultuous time, even for slime-covered, soul-eating monsters. They are also challenging authority, getting into trouble with authority, and generally displaying a complete lack of any ability to make decisions based upon the possible outcomes of irresponsible behavior. Charles' vehicle is extremely recognizable. He still insists on speeding down the county roads until Deputy Simpson gives chase. Sure, Charles can temporarily alter the car's appearance, or even turn it completely invisible. The point is that Charles engages in risky behavior. Sleepwalkers are predators living in the midst of a herd of very dangerous prey. If the community were to find out the truth about Mary and Charles, there would be a mob of torch and shotgun-wielding citizens outside the Brady home.

If a confirmed news story about shapechanging, cat-fearing, soul-eating monsters ever broke, you can be sure that everyone would stop thinking those freaky individuals who have thirty (or more) cats in their house are loony. Just one cat will not stop a soul-sucking sleepwalker. You have to have at least thirty cats.

We have just one cat. His name is "Boom Boom Hot Potato," because that is what my son, who is three, wanted to name it. My daughter, who is five, loved the idea of a cat named "Boom Boom Hot Potato." If it was up to me, the cat's name would be "Moo Sho," but we had told the kids that they could name the cat. "Boom Boom Hot Potato" it is. Everybody at the veterinarian's office thinks it is the funniest thing they have ever heard.

I need a dog. I will name him "Torgo." Why "Torgo?" He will mind the house while the master is away.

A huge risk to the sleepwalkers' secrecy is that Charles fosters a romance with his mother's prospective meals. If a young woman were to go missing shortly after she started to date the new boy in town, I think we all know where the police would start their investigation.

Well, Charles is not the type to avoid detection. He takes Tanya to Homeland, an abandoned cemetery, and turns what she thought would be a romantic picnic lunch into a near rape and/or soul-munching. Fortunately, Deputy Simpson sees the youth's Trans Am and stops to investigate. The unfortunate policeman does not stop Charles. In fact, Charles kills the deputy, but Clovis is in the police car. Charles experiences the full feline fury of the vengeful officer's pet kitty. He manages to make it home; where he collapses on the couch as his mother freaks out. Tanya is sent home; where she tries to scrub off the sleepwalker's taint as her parents freak out. Tanya is also freaked out, because she knows that Charles is not human, but nobody will believe her.

There is a whole lot of freaking out going on is what I am saying.

Faced with the very real possibility that her son is going to die of his cat-inflicted wounds (cats cause triple damage to sleepwalkers), Mary goes on a rampage! She busts through the cat cordon around her house, slashes Mr. Robertson's throat open, kills Deputy Horace with a corncob (EGAD!), tosses Mrs. Robertson through a window, obliterates half the police cars in rural Indiana, and kidnaps Tanya as a get well snack for Charles.

There is a whole lot of chaos and mayhem going on is what I am saying. After the freaking out comes the chaos and mayhem.

Luckily for Tanya, the crack cat attack squad never gives up. They make their assault just when it appears that Tanya is going to become a withered, soul-sucked husk. Even the mama sleepwalker dropping her disguise does not dissuade the kitties. Mary is pretty ugly in her real form; she looks like a female sleestack. To be honest, I could not tell the difference between a male sleestack and a female sleestack, but Mary's sleepwalker suit has leathery breasts. If I see those, I automatically assume female. The presence of breasts does not always mean that the bearer is female (eh, the things you learn in Thailand) - it is just a good place to start when attempting a classification. Heck, I still cannot tell the difference between male and female Yilané, and we all know how important that can be.


Three sites took part in a little post-Thanksgiving overindulgence with people as the other white meat:
Darksider's Realm: Cannibal Apocalypse
The Tomb of Anubis (Anubis): Curse of the Cannibal Confederates
The Tomb of Anubis (Nix Eclipse): Luther the Geek
The Tomb of Anubis (Ragnarok): The Mad Butcher

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Cats make great wind chimes.
  • Incest produces neon gas and electricity.
  • Teenage girls have two decorating options: "Purple Ballet" and "Casually Draped Intimates."
  • Real octopus skin quarter panels were an available option on the 1977 Trans Am.
  • Vampires are deathly afraid of SLR cameras.
  • Peaches are among the most sensual of fruits.
  • The problem with Ford police cars is that they explode when shot.
  • Sweating flammable tuna oil is a bummer of an evolutionary liability when there are pyrotechnic kitties about.
  • Listening to Enya is like watching cats frolic around a bonfire.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Where can I find a copy of that? If you say "Miskatonic University," I might go insane.
  • 19 mins - That is not a valentine. Valentines have red hearts on them.
  • 21 mins - If one of my high school teachers had ever grabbed me by the ear, he might have lost his hand.
  • 22 mins - My high school self's probable reaction to any ear grabbing has no bearing on whether I deserved it or not.
  • 32 mins - The cat is riding shotgun! Ha! Hahahahahaha!
  • 59 mins - Cat snap fever!
  • 64 mins - "I knew that we should have rented a house with an attached garage."
  • 73 mins - Horace, you are such a bad shot that I am surprised you managed to hit anything - even the inside of the house.
  • 80 mins - What this scene needs is a midget with cymbals.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note sleepwalkers1.wav Mary: "Am I beautiful?"
Charles: "You're always beautiful, mother."
Mary: "So, did you ask this mystery girl out?"
Charles: "What kind of a girl would go out with a guy she just met?"
Mary: "Not a very nice one, I suppose."
Cat (outside): "Meow."
Charles: "Another one?"
Mary: "God damn cats!"
Green Music Note sleepwalkers2.wav Andy: "Well, we were both doing ninety. I pulled right up beside him. We might as well have been standing still."
Sheriff: "So, you did get a good look at him."
Andy: "Naw, naw. I didn't 'cause...see...he didn't have no face."
Green Music Note sleepwalkers3.wav Charles: "It's already started again, Mom."
Mary: "Don't worry. Don't worry."
Charles: "But I have to feed you."
Mary: "You'll see her tomorrow."
Charles: "What if something happens to me? You'll starve! We haven't even seen another sleepwalker..."
Mary: "We aren't the last."
Charles: "You don't know that!"
Mary: "Yes, I do. I can feel the others. You'll feed tomorrow, and then you'll feed me, and then we'll leave."
Green Music Note sleepwalkers4.wav Tanya: "OK, we came in a red car, and it was older, but it wasn't the Trans Am. See, he took me home in a Trans Am. It was a blue Trans Am, and he left here in one."
Sheriff: "OK."
Tanya: "Listen to me! I know I sound crazy. You're not getting the point: Charles isn't human!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipsleepwalkers1.mpg - 5.2m
"Toonces, NO!"

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