Sleepwalkers (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byMick Garris
Written byStephen King
Produced by
CinematographyRodney Charters
Edited byNicholas Brown
Music byNicholas Pike
  • Ion Pictures
  • Victor & Grais Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • April 10, 1992 (1992-04-10)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million
Box office$30.5 million

Sleepwalkers (also known as Stephen King's Sleepwalkers) is a 1992 American horror film written by Stephen King and directed by Mick Garris. The film stars Brian Krause, Mädchen Amick and Alice Krige. The film revolves around the last two survivors of a vampiric shapeshifting species that feed on the life force of human female virgins. It was the first time King wrote a screenplay intended for the screen first, rather than adapting one of his already-existing novels or stories.


Charles Brady and his mother Mary are sleepwalkers, nomadic shapeshifting energy vampires who feed off the lifeforce of virgin women. Though they normally maintain a human form, they can transform into human-sized bipedal werecats, their natural form, at will. They have powers of both telekinesis and illusion. Their one weakness is cats, with whom they have a mutual hostility, which can not only see through their illusions, but can inflict severe to fatal wounds upon them with their claws.

Charles and Mary live in Travis, a small Indiana town, having recently fled Bodega Bay, California after draining and killing a young girl there. Charles attends the local high school, and meets Tanya Robertson in his creative writing class. Charles feigns romantic interest in Tanya in order to take her lifeforce for himself and his starving mother. Their teacher, Mr. Fallows, is suspicious about Charles and tells him that his older high school certificates were fakes; he also physically assaults Charles, but Charles kills him.

On their first date, at a picnic at a nearby cemetery, Charles attempts to drain Tanya's lifeforce while kissing her. Tanya tries frantically to ward off Charles by bashing his head with her camera, scratching his face, and plunging a corkscrew into his left eye, though nothing she does seems to cause Charles more than temporary discomfort.

Deputy Sheriff Andy Simpson is driving by the cemetery. When Tanya flees to him for help, Charles kills Simpson. When Charles resumes feeding off Tanya, the deputy's cat, Clovis, violently scratches him in the face and chest. Mortally wounded, Charles staggers back home to his mother, who is able to make both of them invisible, and thus keep Charles from being arrested when the police storm their house. Clovis and a small number of other cats begin to gather outside, only kept at bay by the leghold traps the Sleepwalkers have set.

Knowing that the only way for her dying son to survive is to feed, Mary attacks the Robertson household, killing several deputies and state troopers and severely wounding Tanya's parents. She kidnaps Tanya and takes her back to her house. Charles is near death, but Mary revives him, and Charles makes a final attempt to drain Tanya's life force. However, Tanya plunges her fingers into his eyes, killing him. Tanya escapes with the help of the sheriff, whom Mary later impales on the picket fence surrounding the house. The cats that have been gathering around their house, led by Clovis, jump on Mary and claw and bite her until she bursts into flames. As she dies, she screams that Tanya "killed her only son". Tanya hugs Clovis, her savior, as the other cats depart, leaving Mary's body lying ablaze on her driveway.[1]



Sleepwalkers was the first film written by King to not be based on one of his preexisting works. Columbia Pictures initially approached Rupert Wainwright to direct, but at King's insistence Columbia offered the film to Mick Garris, who had previously directed the horror films Critters 2: The Main Course and Psycho IV: The Beginning. The film was shot in Franklin Canyon Park in Los Angeles, California.[2]


The original music score was composed by Nicholas Pike.[3]

CD track listing
Track Artist Title Time
1 Santo & Johnny Sleep Walk 2:23
2 Nicholas Pike Main Titles 2:06
3 Nicholas Pike Cop Kabob 2:25
4 Nicholas Pike This Is Homeland 4:06
5 Nicholas Pike Is This What You Had In Mind? 2:49
6 Nicholas Pike Let's Go Upstairs 2:46
7 Nicholas Pike You Didn't Get It 3:05
8 Nicholas Pike Run To That Jungle Beat 2:24
9 The Contours Do You Love Me 3:00
10 Nicholas Pike Am I Beautiful? 1:31
11 Nicholas Pike Let The Cats Run 4:31
12 Nicholas Pike I'm Going To Make Us Dim 2:36
13 Nicholas Pike Fly On The Chicken 2:57
14 Nicholas Pike Impaling Doom 3:44
15 Nicholas Pike Speedster 3:39
16 Enya Boadicea 3:30

(Side 2 of the cassette begins at track 9)


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 33% based on 18 reviews, giving it an average rating of 4.7/10.[4] On Metacritic the film has a score of 38% based on reviews from 12 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Variety called it "an idiotic horror potboiler".[7] British horror critic Alan Jones gave the film a scathing review in the Radio Times, saying that "Garris tries to inject life into the pathetic script... but this underdeveloped material is so poor he's constantly fighting a losing battle. There's little to engage the attention in an idiotic potboiler off the creaky King conveyor belt. From the daft prologue set in Bodega Bay where Hitchcock filmed The Birds to the soggy moggy climax, this is absurdly unscary and confusingly dull."[8] In Horror Films FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Slashers, Vampires, Zombies, Aliens, and More, John Kenneth Muir praised the first half of the film, stating: "Sleepwalkers starts out in fine form, as a serious, grim, involving horror film about the last two survivors of a species doing what they must to survive, Krige is incredibly sensual as the half-crazed mother who must be 'fed' through the act of sexual intercourse with her son." He then says that the latter half of the film "devolves into a campy disaster."[9]

Proposed sequel[edit]

In April 2020, on his Post Mortem podcast during a listener Q&A session with Joe Russo, Garris confirmed that there was discussion from Columbia Pictures about a sequel, saying in full, "There was a little bit of talk. I mean, the movie was successful, it was the #1 movie the week that it came out. I never heard the studio talk about it, but Tabitha King, Stephen King's wife, actually wrote a treatment for a sequel to Sleepwalkers that involved a women's basketball team somehow. I'm not sure how, I never read it, but King was very excited that Tabby came up with this. But it was a sequel that nobody at the studio gave a shit about. You know, they liked the money that Sleepwalkers made, but it was not a prestige release by any means, so they never even thought about Sleepwalkers after."[10][11]

Both Garris and Russo then discussed a potential reboot, with Garris expressing surprise that there was seemingly no interest, with Russo admitting that "We had a very flirtatious conversation with a production company about a year ago, maybe. It was nothing more than flirting."[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sleepwalkers (DVD Review) Archived September 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Warren, Bill (April 1992). "Sleepwalkers Awaken". Fangoria (111): 36–40 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "Nicholas Pike - Stephen King's Sleepwalkers (Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Discogs. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  4. ^ "Sleepwalkers". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  5. ^ "Sleepwalkers". Metacritic.
  6. ^ "SLEEPWALKERS (1992) C+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Variety Staff (January 1, 1992). "Sleepwalkers". Variety.
  8. ^ Alan Jones. "Stephen King's Sleepwalkers". Radio times. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Muir, John (2013). Horror Films FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Slashers, Vampires, Zombies, Aliens, and More. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1-48036-681-7.
  10. ^
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External links[edit]