My First Boyfriend is a Monster!…Literally: Sleepwalkers (1992)

My first boyfriend is a monster…literally

So a few months ago my friend ad I were watching Tommy Boy and I commented that the Rob Lowe character and his mother, were not really mother and son because they were too close. She said they could be weird like the mother and son in Sleepwalkers. I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about and then I remembered it, sort of. I couldn’t remember much, I know I saw it or part of it on TV and there were cats involved or people who turn into were-cats?

UHHHHHHHH!!!!

So when it came to pick what Stephen King film to review, our conversation popped in my head and I decided for it to be my yearly Stephen King pick. Here we go…

So we start off with the definition of Sleepwalkers:

“Sleepwalker noun. Nomadic shape-shifting creatures with human and feline origins. Vulnerable to the deadly scratch of the cat. The sleepwalker feeds upon the life force of virginal human females. Probable source of the Vampire legend.”

We then start of on a beach with police officers, I’m getting Jaws flashbacks.

A mother and son is missing, they go to the house and OMG! Cats are hung everywhere this is horrible. This is the most horrible thing I have ever seen. I know its not real but it made me cry. I can’t watch dead cats.

***SKIP***

We have the titles and Mädchen Amick is in this. Mädchen was Shelly in Twin Peaks, I’m’ a major fan of the original show. She is such a pretty lady, many of you will recognize her as Mrs. Cooper in Riverdale.

We see a lot of cat imagery from the Egyptians in this-cats, cat people, shape shifters, etc. The only thing I don’t understand is that if they turn into cats why did they kill them? Shouldn’t they love and adore cats like in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. That’s a great movie.

So we are in Travis, Indiana. A shirtless guy is looking at a yearbook and listening to 1950s music on a record, then he cuts his skin, weird. He cuts a “T” for Tanya Robertson (Mädchen Amick) which has a heart doodled around it.

Oh no, a cat is sniffing around a house, there is a trap, oh no! Please not the cat.

Yes, it was okay. If this film is just about cat killing I’m not going to watch it. I’m serious, I’ll just shut it off.

He dances with an older lady…who turns out to be his mom and they are so creepy. Too close, too much like lovers. Ew, ew OMG they are kissing. No wonder I blocked this movie out. Incest and killing cats, this is the worst movie ever.

***SKIP***

Tanya is working late at the movies, dancing out to The Condors “Do You Love Me”.

Tanya is interrupted by Charles Brady (Brian Krause) the creepy guy who’s sleeping with his mom. He gets popcorn and a drink and asks to give Tanya a ride home. She turns him down, good for her, but then when he is all hurt and leaving she stops him and welcomes him to town. NOOOO Tanya, run away.

Her add picks her up, but creepy Charles is watching. It is midnight and ominous music plays while the bell tolls. Let’s see what creepy thing he does…nothing. His mom does call animal control as they attract a ton of cats. You know, between this and Cat’s Eye Stephen King just seems to love hatimg cats. Like they aren’t treated as sad deaths like the dog in Secret Window. They are treated as nothing.

So Charles is jealous and wants attention from her son, ew.

The next day Charles reads a creepy gross story about Sleepwalkers. I don’y know why Tanya is into him-that story is awful, he’s creepy, and he’s not that cute.

Ugh…

Tanya says she likes it, why?

The teacher liked the story, but seems to hate Charles, creeping on him from a window. Why?

Oh, wow…

Her friends make fun of her for “just talking” to Charles and not sleeping with hum…I have to say these friends are not good. They shouldn’t be encouraging you to sleep with a total stranger! They should be more concerned for your health and mental well-being.

The worst!

Charles offers to give her and her friends a ride and they refuse to give him and Tanya time togheter. Charles thanks Tanya for her kind words and she thanks him for writing such a great piece. Gag me! Tanya, come on-have some more respect for yourself.

Tanya takes Charles into her house and her mom has gravestone rubbings framed, so cool! She also takes him to her room and shows him her pictures, He wants to see how she takes photos, and she invites him to join her tomorrow when she takes pictures.

From Clueless

Mom interrupts them, good-he’s creepy don’t get involved Tanya. Mom is very suspicious of him, even more after he says he is a gravestone rubber too. I like this mom, she grills the boy and seems to care a lot about her child. Her mom sense must be tinging as she does not like this boy. This surprised me as most parents in a horror film are either checked out or just comedic effect.

Later, the teacher pulls Charles over, weird. Why is he following him? The teacher threatens him, not letting him get out of the car. He knows Charles is lying and is confronting him, why? Why didn’t he just go to the principal? The teacher actually slams the door on Charles hand-blackmailing him not for money as he wants a “different” exchange? Was the teacher trying to get Charles to be with him? I am so confused?

And of course Charles being a monster, rips the hand of the teacher and chases him in the woods and eats him. This whole scene is so odd and weird.

In the next scene we see a deputy and he is playing with his cat. It is so cute! Clovis the attack cat.

It makes me think of that book series Boris and Lil. Lil was the Sheriff and Boris the cat her deputy. Anyways the deputy sees Charles speeding , almost running down a girl, and follows to stop him. Yeah, Charles is crazy. Too bad Tanya didn’t see that.

Clovis meows at Charles and he becomes afraid morphing to a Catperson, Werecat. So cats scare them and can see their true form? I still find this weird as you think a Cat monster would like cats. Charles also has magic that makes him and his car invisible? Why? What?

What??

Clovis still sees it, no Clovis stay in the car-don’t get hurt. I swear, if another cat dies I’m turning this movie off.

Seriously!

Clovis tries to tell Deputy Andy, but humans can’t understand cats and they drive away.

And Charles turned his car from a blue pontiac to a red mustang. How? How does werecat magic allow you to do that?

WHAT??!!

Later the deputy tries to tell the others, what he saw but he can barely make sense of it. Poor guy, can you imagine trying to tell people you saw a cat person?

Aw, Clovis has her own cute little bed in a file area. Oh my gosh, Clovis is so adorable. She is the best part of this movie. I’m only watching for you Clovis. Andy and Clovis are so adorable, the best characters in this movie.

Back to the creepy incest mom is in a nightgown and lighted candles. Ew, them kissing. This movie is so gross. Stephen King has problems.

Mom starts smacking her son because he didn’t her the girl. They need to feed ASAP. He shares about what happened with the teacher and they are now on an expedited course to get food for mom, they are running out of time. They want Tayna because she is a pure soul (virgin)

More cats come around the house, they watch the house and plot.

I like that the cats are the heroes, they see these people for what they really are and try to stop then. Often cats are bad in stories, so its nice to see them protecting.

Ew, they are together!

***SKIP***

You know this movie is just weird and gross. I’m skipping to Clovis.

So Tonya and Charles on their date, he woges and attacks Tanya, she got away from him and runs screaming for help-right to Deputy Andy. Deputy Andy puts Tanya in his car, and goes to fight Charles who attacks him. No-not Andy!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Charles attacks Tanya, needing to feed and Andy shoots Charles who is fine and he kills Andy. Aw man, 20% of the characters I liked are gone (Deputy Andy, Clovis, Tanya, Tanya’s Mom, & Tanya’s Dad).

Clovis comes in and saves Tanya by jumping on Charles and that makes him fizz like Alka Seltzer. Tanya locks herself in the car an tries to use the radio. Charles gets in his pontiac and drives off. Aw, Clovis goes to Andy’s side and lays on him. What will happen to Clovis now? Who will take care of her?

There are more cats in the Brady yard, but Charles makes it through. His mom tries to heal him-you think they would just leave town and the movie could end here, but I’m guessing there is more to come. Oh no Mom wants to stay. Darn. Why? It makes more sense for them to leave as they have been “discovered”.

So annoying

Charles tries to “dim” himself-make himself invisible-but it doesn’t work.

Stephen King has a cameo as the groundkeeper for the cemetery. He is not a good actor. Just stop, please.

They question Tonya and she tries to give them the information, but it is all mixed up. Too bad Andy died.

They photograph Tonya, and this is so awful. Victim support is so important-the way they treat her-there are much kinder ways. She has already been through something extremely traumatic.

Poor Tonya “He was very Charming”. We’ve all been there. Boys are the worst.

Tonya hears Clovis and asks for her, as she saved her life, the police promise to bring her later. The police are headed to the house and the mom changes the car to be invisible. How do they have such powers I don’t know. If they can do that, then why don’t they make themselves invisible and sneak on people? This doesn’t make any sense.

Mom makes them invisible as the police storm in and find it “empty”, why? This is dumb, I’ll try not to waste any further brain cells on it.

It’s unimportant.

Ugh the State Trooper is such a misogynist-Captain Soames. He complain about having to watch Tonya, as she just has an overactive imagination and needs a spanking, something he would like to do. Now I don’t know what the age of consent is in Indiana but shouldn’t the commanding officer fire him?

Ugh…

Tonya goes home and takes a bath, her parents are nervous and freaking out. Mom is overcooking, dad worried about her being alone, mom trying to hold it together, both trying to be understanding but not knowing what to do-and Tonya trying desperately to get clean.

I really like the parents in this. These two are some of the best parents in film and TV, they care about their child and react realistically. Especially a situation like this when they are trying to support her but also are freaking out themselves.

Wow!

Police outside are keeping watch with one officer inside. They don’t do a good job as Ma Brady kills them.

The bell rings-no don’t go out dad. Stay alive! Yes you guessed it-Ma Brady.

Ugh!

I love the dad’s reaction as he is angry and about to give Ma Brady a few words to give to Charles about his sorry apology, but Ma Brady takes him out and the officer.

Mom comes running and Ma Brady attacks her too. She wants her to give up their daughter, but she refuses and when she hears that Charles is dying she’s glad-she then picks up a bat to try and take Ma Brady out, but Ma Brady is too strong.

Again, I love the way they did these parents-actual parents.

Tonya is running downstairs and Ma Brady wants her. More police come, but Ma Brady just goes monster on them. Meanwhile Ma Brady has knocked Tonya out and is carrying her off.

That’s not good.

Ma Brady crashes into here house and the cats attack her.  Ma wants Tonya to get with Charles, but she won’t as he’s dead! Ma insists he isn’t and uses her powers to turn the music on. Why? Why have powers if that’s all you do? This is so weird and dumb.

So Charles isn’t dead as Ma Brady wants them to dance and kiss, even though he doesn’t have a face.

Sweet, Clovis is with the Sheriff as he storms into the house. She climbs up a tree and breaks a widow. Yes, Clovis-save the girl, be the cat that Andy believed you could be, and avenge your master!

Charles and Ma look more monster like and Charles tries to feed on Tonya, but she won’t go down easy. Clovis charges into the fray to lead the attack, all the cats start charging in jumping and attacking them-Go cats, go. Take them out.

Charles is dead, Tonya took care of him-but Ma Brady is still kicking. You know they don’t really look like cat people they look like a cross between an alien and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

NEVER SAY DIE!

Ma throws the sheriff and Tonya runs for the car, trying to find the keys. The Sheriff throws a trap at Ma Brady, which stalls her for a second, but then she kills him too.

Poor Tonya she’s all alone but then Clovis comes back, and leads an attack of 100 cats and they take Ma Brady down. You see, this is why you should always have a cat.

Ma catches on fire and Tonya finally gets the key in and backs away. Poor Tonya, she will never have a normal life. Clovis jumps in the car and Tonya hugs her tight. Aw, I hope Tonya keeps Clovis and takes care of her.

One thing for sure, Tonya will always have a cat.

Yeah, I didn’t like this movie at all except Clovis. She’s the best cat ever!

For more Stephen King, go to I’m Not Into Politics. I’m Into Survival: The Running Man (1987)

For more Werecats, go to No Mere Mortal Can Resist the Evil of the Thriller: Thriller (1983)

For more cats, go to Don’t Go in There! You Don’t Have to Die! No One Has to Die at 30! You Could Live! LIVE!: Logan’s Run (1976)

Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

“Time for you to awaken, Master. Time for you to go out.”

So last year I was lamenting that I couldn’t think of any films I wanted to open Horrofest with from the 1950s as that was the year I was going to start with. I mentioned some films I really wanted to do, but both came out in the 1940s.

So as this year it is time to start off with a 1940s film, I was like why not do one of the ones I mentioned in last year’s post? I already reviewed Rebecca last year, so I chose The Return of the Vampire. 

I loooove this movie!

I saw it year ago on TCM and it has stayed with me my whole life. You know a movie is good when it hooks you years ago and you stay hooked.

The film was just so engaging and has beautiful cinematography. Plus it also has Bela Lugosi! You cannot go wrong with him in anything, let alone in a Vampire flick. I just love him.

So this film was actually supposed to be a Dracula sequel, but Universal threatened to sue Columbia Studios so they changed it to The Return of the Vampire and instead of Count Dracula, we have Armand Tesla.

We start this film during WWI with a vampire Armand Tesla (Bela Lugosi) stalking the streets of London and using the war as a cover-who cares about people suffering from anemia and a few deaths when there is a war on?!

But someone does, Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) and her colleague Professor Walter Saunders (Gilbert Emery) run a clinic and are baffled by the anemia.

Hmm…

Tesla is furious and uses his slave, a werewolf formally known as Andreas Obry, and the two break into the clinic. When he can’t finish his off his former victim he decides to make Saunders pay and goes after his granddaughter.

Professor Saunders, meanwhile, has concluded that the victim was attacked by a vampire. The victim dies and when Saunders goes home he sees a man feasting on his granddaughter. The vampire flees and Saunders saves his granddaughter Nikki (Nina Foch) by giving her a blood transfusion. While her life is saved for now, she will always be in danger. The vampire will continue to search for her to finish the job, and he will also be able to control her.

Professor Saunders and Lady Jane search for the Vampire in order to stake it and kill it.

They search out the local cemetery in order to search out the Vampire. They are both attacked by a werewolf who is being controlled by the Vampire-but once they stake the vampire the werewolf returns to his normal form of Andreas Obry.

Wow!

Professor Saunders and Lady Jane know that the only way to keep a vampire dead is make sure the stake isn’t removed from the heart-remove the stake revive the vampire. They bury the coffin and make sure it is well hidden.

Time moves forward and the year is now 1942. Nikki has fully recovered from her experience, having no knowledge of the attack and is engaged to Lady Jane’s son John (Roland Varno). Andreas Obry has recovered from his experience and has become an assistant to Lady Jane.

You know thinking about this movie in 2020 it is really cool that the Vampire hunter/Doctor is a woman. I mean you wouldn’t expect it in the 1940s, and you certainly don’t see it in modern vampire stories (except Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but she basically is Van Helsing. Not the Hugh Jackman version, but the original one from the 1930s.

Of course what comes to mind is Jane the Vampire Hunter:

So Professor Saunders has passed way and Lady Jane decides to share about the vampire with Scotland Yard detective Sir Fredrick Fleet (Miles Mander) . He doesn’t take her seriously, but he does take the murder of a man seriously. He wanted to arrest Lady Jane, but she convinces him to check the body. If it is a regular man, he will be decomposed. If a vampire-his body will not have aged a day.

Stay the same age forever…

Lady Jane is going to show Sir Fleet but then a bombing raid occurs. One of the bombs hits the cemetery and a lot of bodies are dug up and two gravediggers are set to put all to right. When they come across Tesla’s body they find the stake in the heart and feel bad for the man. They pull it out and the Vampire returns!

The first thing Tesla does is contact his slave telepathically as he will need his help in moving the coffin and such. He calls to his former slave and werewolf Andreas.

Armand Tesla: [Offscreen, as Andreas walks in the woods] Andreas! [Andreas can’t locate the sourceAndreas!

Andreas Obry: [Suddenly seeing Tesla] You! You have no power over me! That was ended many years ago! I’m no longer your slave! Dr. Ainsley has cleansed me of all the evil you forced upon me! You can’t bring it back! You can’t! I won’t let you! I won’t!

Armand Tesla: You’re a fool, Andreas! A complete, utter fool! Your fate is to be what you are – as mine is to be what I am… your Master! [In a commanding toneCome here!

Andreas Obry: I won’t! [He moans]

Armand Tesla: [Commandingly] Look at me, Andreas! [There is a closeup of Tesla’s eyesLook at me!

Andreas Obry: [after Andreas undergoes a metamorphosis into a werewolf] Andreas, come here! [Subserviently] Master, you have returned.

This is a fantastic scene, as you see Andreas really trying! He really, really wants to believe it is true that has overcome this. Looking at this as an adult it resonates so well as you have met people trying to overcome things, thinking they have, but then something happens and they are right back at the bottom again-addiction, toxic relationships, etc. It is extremely well done and poor, poor Andreas.

Now that Andreas is controlled by Tesla he sets him out for his first mission protect the coffin and find him a new identity. Andreas comes across a scientist recently escaped from a concentration camp, Hugo Bruckner. Dr. Hugo Bruckner was freed by help of the Resistance, something Lady Jane is a part of, and will be working with her. Man this vampire is extremely evil to murder a concentration camp survivor.

Tesla takes on the identity and slips into the Ainsleys’ and Nikki’s life. Some of you might wonder why Lady Jane doesn’t recognize him, but she only fought him that one time over twenty years ago, and at night in a foggy cemetery.

Lady Jane is throwing Nikki and her son an engagement party. Sir Fleet shows up and Lady Jane takes the Professor Saunder’s manuscript and locks it up, not wanting Nikki to ever find out about what happened. Tesla/Bruckner shows up, is introduced, and given free reign of Lady Jane’s office and laboratory. He uses this time to steal Saunders’ manuscript, the one Sir Fleet read. All are charmed by him except Sir Fleet, as he feels something is not quite right.

The next night the manuscript is somehow left in Nikki’s room and she reads it and finds out the truth. The Tesla calls to her…and the next day she has been drained of blood! Oh no!

Then they… then my mom made me stop watching it.

I know I was soooooo invested. What happens next? Will Nikki be alright? How will they defeat Tesla? I don’t recall exactly how old I was but this was well before google and we didn’t have TiVo or any blank tapes I could use to record, although my mother wouldn’t have let me as we were leaving the house and they weren’t going to leave the TV on with no one home. So I had to scan the newspaper and TV guide until it was on TV again.

So after she was drained of blood they transfused her. She survives but as we saw in The Horror of Dracula last year, that can only last so long. They need to find this vampire and kill it!

Stake through the heart.

Lady Jane starts to investigate and questions the grave robbers when the body cannot be found. She and Fleet also search Bruckner’s room and discovers the mirrors are all set down and a ring that she recalls from Tesla.

Fleet had had Andreas followed ad he was seen trying to change into a werewolf and found with Bruckner’s effects, his real effects.

Meanwhile, Nikki and John are attacked and Nikki starts to believe she has been transformed into a vampire. She pleads with John to stay away as she doesn’t want to hurt him. But you know these men in this old classic horror films-it doesn’t matter they are staying in this relationship and with the girl. How guys aren’t like that now? Most guys I know would be out in no time at all.

In reality, Tesla has been feeding. Tesla attacks Lady Jane, but she carries a cross and uses it to deflect him.

Wow!

So there are two amazing things I noticed about this scene. First can we just stop and appreciate that Lady Jane has a giant organ. Man, you are a girl after my own heart. I can’t play the organ but if I had money I would want a giant one and learn how to play it. Then I could be my own version of The Phantom of the Opera. 

Second-I love how in this scene she seems so meek and mild-and then bam-she’s got the cross and she flings it out at him. Lady Jane is awesome!

That’s awesome

Later that night Tesla calls Nikki to him again and she and Andreas answer the call. Meanwhile, Lady Jane ad Sir Fleet have decided to follow them. They come upon them in the cemetery but a raid interrupts their pursuit, although Fleet shoots Andreas, mortally wounding him. Andreas begs his master to save him, but Tesla coldly refuses.

Andreas Obry: Heal me, Master. I am hurt!

Armand Tesla: What is that to me?

This was so exciting when I watched it. First of all I really wanted to know what happened after waiting so long. Secondly this scene has the vampire, the damsel, bombs, a gun-you just didn’t know what would happen next!

Tesla leaving Andreas to die is the wake to reality he needs. He grabs a nearby cross and thrusts it at Tesla, coming between him and his victim-Nikki. A bomb hits and the sun comes up, melting Tesla to nothing.

Wow!

This is one of the first films to show a vampire disintegrating like this. It was actually censored in England for being too graphic. Oh, 1940s-if you saw the stuff we have today, although I have to say it was pretty yuck.

Of course Nikki and John get their happy ending, and Lady Jane stays awesome.

It was fantastic! I just loved it and you know who else would have if she existed-Catherine Morland.

You know it.

Please note that this is being said sarcastically.

So that’s our start with Horrorfest IX what else will it bring? Who knows! I start every year off with a plan but you know how that goes-anything can happen! Stay Spooky people!

For more Vampire films, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Bela Lugosi, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more WWII, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours

They’re Coming To Get You Barbara: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

 

night-of-the-living-dead-bw-house-zombie

 They’re coming for you, Barbara! 

This is an amazing film! George A. Romero is truly an amazing screenplay writer and director.

I actually saw the sequel first, Return of the Living Dead, which I also loved. It wasn’t as creepy as this one, but still was very good. The rest of the sequels were stupid though, so don’t waste you time with them.

One of the things that makes this film so revolutionary and a cult classic is that it is one of the first films about zombies to depict them as actual living dead and not mind control, like in White Zombie or Revolt of the Zombies. It also has the zombies being created by radiation instead of controlled by the third eye.

I also love how the zombies are true zombies and not any of these super soldiers they make them to be now. The zombies are living dead, so they move slow as their flesh is rotting. They also are destroyed by by fire or a shot to the head.

It’s a great zombie film!

So the film starts out with Barbara and her brother Johnny going to a cemetery to put flowers on their father’s grave. While they are there, Johnny starts teasing his sister; trying to freak her out. He sees a man approaching and pretends that it is a “ghoul” after her.

It turns out the man is a zombie and he starts to attack her. Johnny tries to help her, but hits his head on a gravestone. Barbara runs away, and holes up in a farmhouse.

Now Barbara is freaked out, but she was pretty awesome in searching out for a knife to protect herself. She ends up being joined by Ben, who stopped at the house when his car runs out of gas.

Ben is pretty awesome as he is a super survivalist. By this time Barbara is pretty much incoherent as she has gone into complete shock.

They are later joined by others trying to escape these attacks. The film switches from being just a horror film, to being one of survival. We see what everyone’s true characters are as they show how they act in intense situations.

The movie is fantastic and has a completely unexpected ending.

zjohnnynightofthelivingdead

You’d all love it! Watch this after you’ve seen the film.

That’s it for this fearsome Friday! More posts to come! 5 days ’till Halloween!

Here’s a poster/cover photo I made for my facebook as part of my Halloween countdown

14night-of-the-living-dead-original

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to From the Sea Burning With Fire

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For more on zombies, go to When Potatoes Go Bad

For more on monster movies, go to I Want Friend Like Me

For more films that spanned sequels, go to Someone Very Special