There has been a house in smalltown America discovered with a bunch of dead cats hanging up outside and the police are called to investigate, breaking in to find the property abandoned. Taking a further look, they discover a dessicated corpse in a cupboard but while it looks as if it is the body of an old lady, it still has braces on its teeth which indicates the deceased was a teenage girl. Who could have done this, and what exactly has happened? We have to follow the trail to another smalltown, this one in Indiana, where the mother and son team of Mary Brady (Alice Krige) and Charles (Brian Krause) have moved to, in their peripatetic lifestyle to settle somewhere they can find virgin girls to feed on...
Sleepwalkers was proudly announced as the first Stephen King movie that had been penned by the popular horror author expressly for the screen; he had written scripts before, but this one he had decided not to turn into a novel and would be better as a film. There were plenty of critics and moviegoers alike who would beg to differ, and have their doubts it was suitable for the page either, thus it slunk off cinema screens fairly swiftly and into the video stores where it would at least be a preferred choice of viewing for customers wanting one hundred percent cheese in their chillers. And probably those who had a liking for cats, which might explain why in the internet age some started standing up for the misbegotten effort.
Felines certainly played a big part of the plot, and there was even a heroic moggy called Clovis who had a collar with "Attack Cat" written on it, a post he did his level best to live up to. Mostly, however, the story appeared to have been dreamt up by King to cope with his fears that his daughter might bring home some nightmare boyfriend one day, although he likely had nothing to worry about in that area, but for doting parents everywhere here was a film they could watch with their darling offspring and all get something out of it since the girls could identify with the worries that the perfect boyfriend material could very well be a cad in disguise. Or maybe not, seeing as how a running theme was the incestuous bond between Charles and Mary.
Those scenes might get a little embarrassing if watched with parents. Anyway, the next virgin the dreaded duo have their eye on is Sheena, Queen of the Jungle herself, Tanya Roberts - oh, no, wait, it was Tanya Robertson, as played by Mädchen Amick fresh off Twin Peaks and failing to sustain the momentum that cult series offered her career, as was the case with many of its acting alumni. Here she did her best to bring a spark of life to the boringly normal Tanya, appealling in the first half but lacking anything much to do in the second save for run and scream, sometimes both at once. When the deceptively young-looking Charles shows up in her English class, she falls for him not knowing he and his mother wish to suck her dry of her precious life force, but it's not all about that, we had some rubbery makeup and creaky CGI to contend with as well.
Sleepwalkers was made at the cusp of computer effects taking over from latex as the preferred way of adding the horror to horror movies though sad to say it didn't do well by either - by the standards of the best prosthetics of the previous decade and the CGI to come, this was primitive. King's director of choice was Mick Garris, cementing his reputation as a heart in the right place but not otherwise impressive shocker creator, and for moral support as well as a "it's all a bit of fun, folks" wink to the audience they roped in distracting cameos from other horror directors. Even more distracting was tone deaf business as the only black character some bizarre hick caricature - the cop owner of Clovis, who he treats like a pet dog - who naturally ends up with a pencil rammed in his ear and shot with his own gun. As if that were not foolish enough, Ron Perlman, who would later brighten up many a silly movie, was barely used, and with a potentially disturbing quasi-rape sequence defused with flip wisecracks oddly it was only Enya's Fugees-sampled end theme which had the right idea.