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George At 

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Sleepwalkers


Despite the screen presence of its two young leads, Stephen King's 1992 SLEEPWALKERS is kind of a goofy mess.

I don't know what it is about the big screen, but it seems to bring out the worst in King for this Constant Reader and huge fan of his writing.

He indulges all of his worst traits in a silly screenplay that mixes comedy one-liners with graphic violence and cheap special effects.

Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and his mother Mary (Alice Krieg from "Ghost Story") are new to a small town. Just in case that sounds like the set up for an Andy Griffith episode, its important to note that they are incestuous, ancient supernatural creatures that feed off the life force of others to survive. As you can imagine, they move a lot.

What is it about mythical cat creatures that makes them always lustful after their own family? Malcolm McDowell chasing his sister Nastassja Kinski around in "Cat People" (a far better movie) was bad enough, but the whole mother/son vibe here is beyond eyebrow raising....

The very charming and gorgeous Madchen Amick (Twin Peaks) is Tanya, popular but shy high school girl who immediately falls for Charles.

The scenes of their budding romance are actually pretty good and humorous, with Kraus and Amick way better than they needed to be.

But once Charles starts killing to feed and the town erupts in non-nonsensical murders, bloody attacks, graphic abuse against women including punching and broad comedic deputies that make Barney Fife look like Walker Texas Ranger, the whole thing collapses into itself.

There are still some nice haunting touches, including the opening and final scenes set to haunting Enya songs, but for the most part, shoddy special effects and filmmaking do this one in.

King, Directors John Landis and Joe Dante have fun cameos and Mark Hamill has a blink and you'll miss it moment in the film's opening.

SLEEPWALKERS kicked off a long relationship between King and Director Mick Garris, who would go on to do MUCH better adaptions of King's work for TV, including "The Stand" miniseries.

Let's just call this a rocky beginning to that partnership. SLEEPWALKERS gets a C-. If you love cats, you should probably raise that a full grade.

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