Sometimes They Come Back (film)

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Sometimes They Come Back
Poster of the movie Sometimes They Come Back.jpg
Based onSometimes They Come Back (short story) by Stephen King
Written by
Directed byTom McLoughlin
Theme music composerTerry Plumeri
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production location(s)Kansas City, Kansas
Liberty, Missouri
Rocheport, Missouri
CinematographyBryan England
Editor(s)Charles Bornstein
Running time97 minutes
Production company(s)Come Back Productions
Dino de Laurentiis Communications
Paradise Films
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original release1991
Followed bySometimes They Come Back... Again

Sometimes They Come Back is a 1991 made-for-TV horror film based on the short story of the same title by Stephen King. Originally optioned as a segment of the feature film Stephen King's Cat's Eye, it was developed into a separate feature by producer Dino De Laurentiis.[citation needed]


In 1990, Jim Norman, 36, a high school history teacher, moves back to his old hometown after accepting a teaching job there. He moved from the town after he witnessed his brother, Wayne, murdered by a gang of greasers in 1963. The murderers themselves were killed shortly afterwards by an oncoming train, having parked on the tracks. Jim has nightmares about his brother's murder as he starts teaching in the town. Students that are close to him start to be involved in various accidents that look like suicides. One by one, students are slain so the greasers, disguised as living teens, can return to class.

The greasers plan to kill Jim the same way they murdered Wayne to keep themselves out of Hell. They intend to have a child witness the event, leading them to try to kidnap Jim's son Scott. Jim finds out that there is a way to let his own brother return. The gang also needs the remaining living member of their gang, Carl Mueller, who left before the train struck. Jim finds Carl, who panics, thinking Jim wants revenge. He runs back to town, fulfilling the gang's plan for a reunion.

The gang harasses Jim's family to ensure Jim's compliance in reenacting the murder. After the gang releases the family, Jim hides them inside a church, which the demonic gang cannot enter. Jim tries to bring his brother back in the church's graveyard as the gang lures his wife and son outside and hold them hostage. Jim finds that something is blocking Wayne's return, and must cooperate with the thugs in reenacting the murder. It also reveals that when Jim was a boy, Jim took the murderers' car keys that lead to their deaths. He returns to the train tunnel in which the first murder took place, though both he and Carl change their dialogue and actions from those taken 27 years before. Frustrated, the gang leader stabs Carl, which allows Wayne to come back. Wayne distracts the gang while Jim gets his family out of the gang's car. Jim gave the gang back their car keys. The gang tries to escape in their car, only to have it struck by a ghost train that resembles the one that killed them years ago, which sends them back to Hell.

Wayne offers to have Jim come with him to the afterlife, which Jim refuses. Wayne says he can move on to heaven and see his parents because the greasers are no longer a threat. Wayne goes back to the afterlife as Jim's family heads home.


Production notes[edit]

The original short story, "Sometimes They Come Back", is set in Stratford High School in Stratford, Connecticut. The film adaptation was filmed in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.[1]


Ray Loynd of the Los Angeles Times called it "a tight, moody work".[2] TV Guide rated it 2/5 stars and wrote, "The solid cast can't lift the material above the routine."[3]


The TV film was followed by two straight-to-video sequels in 1996 (Sometimes They Come Back... Again) and 1998 (Sometimes They Come Back... for More).


  1. ^ Wixson, Heather (2015-10-24). "Stephen King Week: Robert Rusler Reflects on SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK". Daily Dead. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  2. ^ Loynd, Ray (1991-05-07). "TV Reviews : Teen-Agers Come Back From the Dead to Torment History Teacher". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  3. ^ "Stephen King's Sometimes They Come Back". TV Guide. Retrieved 2016-02-07.

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