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Sleepstalker (1995)

March 5th, 2015 by unkle lancifer · No Comments

I’m still trapped inside some kind of mid-nineties nostalgia spiral. When will it end? I’ve lost all respect for myself and that was probably the draw. My latest disgraceful conquest is 1995’s SLEEPSTALKER, a movie that I turned off after about 20 minutes when I first tried to watch it 20 years ago. SLEEPSTALKER is exactly the type of movie I rallied against back in the day, it’s yet another feeble attempt at a Freddy Krueger-type horror icon complete with magic comic book fantasy powers and a penchant for ham-handed, fey bon mots. You know the type. To add another layer of degradation to the affair, the flick is directed by TURI MEYER the unrepentant monster behind the cinematic slap-in-the-face known as CANDYMAN 3: THE DAY OF THE DEAD (another movie I could not sit through and yet own). Have I developed a taste for dishonoring my previous self? I can’t help it! It’s fun. Plus there’s always that chance that I’ll like something I used to hate. In any case, I’ve surely discovered that all decades are better once I’m no longer living in them.

Turns out, SLEEPSTALKER is still pretty lame but I won’t complain because I knew what I was signing up for. Instead, I’m going to talk about a few enjoyable things that made it worth a second view for me. First of all, it’s a full-bodied, stuffed to the gills nineties time capsule. For example, slackers are awkwardly crammed into conversation, the cast lives above a FRIENDS-inspired coffeehouse and our protagonist Griffin (THE BOY WHO COULD FLY’s JAY UNDERWOOD) sports a goatee, wears a vest and aspires to write an in-depth article regarding the leader of a street gang named “Dog.” We learn that Griffin’s parents were killed by a serial killer named “The Sandman” who is about to be executed and “executed” in a film like this means granted incredible posthumous powers thanks to stumbling, baby stage CGI. Of course with special powers come special loosely followed “rules”, the main one concerning Sandman’s logical yet hoary aversion to water. Eventually Sandman is offing Griffin’s pals and we come to find their connection is deeper than previously thought.

It’s all pretty humdrum but occasionally the soundtrack hits you with worth your while lightening bolts like the track below…

There’s certain sloppiness to the storytelling and the plot feels caged into following a well-known pattern but I can’t say SLEEPSTALKER doesn’t hit some strange original tones at points. There’s an ethereal glow throughout much of the film and a few effectively off-putting moments. At various times we jump back to learn the killer’s origin story and it’s all kinds of Kindertraumatic. The poor guy was raised in what looks like the surreal set for an early music video, his lips were sewn shut and he was beaten nightly while a horribly creepy song played on a child’s record player. Worse still, much like your poor Unkle Lancifer, the young Sandman slept in a room with a hideous clown painting on the wall! Look at this painting! I don’t fully approve of this movie but I can’t deny the yikes of this…

And that song that the record plays! It’s repeated again over the closing credits and it is genuinely and inarguably freakishly haunting. So, in closing I can’t say I changed my mind about this one because “The Sandman” truly gets on my nerves whenever he slowly spews out word salad before a kill…BUT I am glad I checked this one out again for the weirdly twisted flashback sequences and the super awesome soundtrack, most particularly the insane song that’s apparently never going to stop slithering around my poor head…

Tags: General Horror




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