Giant incestuous demon cats who suck the life force from virgins... sure, why not? That's the concept behind "Sleepwalkers," a Stephen King horror movie that rarely actually manages to be scary -- but there is enough entertaining cheez here, as well as brilliant performances by Alice Krige and Sparks.
Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and his mother Mary (Krige) have just moved to a small town. And we soon discover that they are "sleepwalkers": giant incestuous cats who suck the life force from virgins, and are really freaked out by actual cats (who apparently sit outside their house waiting to kill them). Mary is literally starving to death, so Charles has to find a virgin quickly.
Charles soon homes in on the virginal Tanya Robertson (Madchick Amick), and sets about seducing her -- but when he tries to kill her, he ends up horribly wounded by a cop's cat. Now the sleepwalkers are even more desperate to get their hands on Tanya, and are willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of their food.
"Sleepwalkers" has a really cool idea... but honestly it's not very scary most of the time. Director Mick Garris seems to wuss out on some of the potentially scary scenes (like the rapey graveyard scene), with goofy angles and one-liners. I mean, it's hard to be scared when Madchen Amick is popping her screaming fact right near the camera. Instead, it becomes a massive ball of cheesy, over-the-top gore and rubber cat suits.
Fortunately, a lot of the cheesiness is still very entertaining in a B-movie way, especially when the sleepwalkers stop pretending to be human and go all-out in their monstrousness. I will admit, though, some of the scenes late in the movie ARE very creepy, but that's mainly because Krige's character is absolutely insane. The scene where she forces Tanya to "dance" with her half-dead son is chilling.
One big downside: we never learn much about the sleepwalkers. We know the basics, but no backstory or explanations for why cats hate them or whatever.
Unsurprisingly, Krige gives the best human performance of this movie -- she's creepy, weird and inhuman, especially she goes all angry mama-bear/lover. Amick spends most of the movie crying and screaming, Krause is moderately sympathetic as a monstrous creature who wants to save his mother/lover, and Ron Perlman is criminally underused. Keep an eye out for Stephen King in the funniest authorial cameo I have ever seen.
But of course, there's the scene-stealer and a truly awesome actor: Sparks the cat. I am not kidding. This kitty is completely convincing (such as when Clovis views his dead owner), and he kicks... er, claws butt on not one but TWO occasions.
"Sleepwalkers" isn't scary at all, but it is brainlessly, amusingly gory and cheesy -- and the performances by Krige and Sparks are excellent.