2am Review: Sleepstalker

I stayed up forever to watch THIS shit?  Lucky for you you only have to read about it.  Or do you?



For those of you who don’t know or can’t remember, these reviews are usually done early in the morning when I can’t sleep.  I’ll look through the collection for something to watch and pretty much do play-by-play and color commentary throughout it, usually ripping it apart as I try to stay awake.  If there any grammatical mistakes, I keep em in there for the hell of it.  On occasion I’ll toss a diamond in the rough, but usually what you’ll get is weird, stupid, even fucked up shit.  So let’s get on with the show.







As with most movies that go straight to video, “Sleepstalker:  Last Rites of the Sandman” came and went with hardly any fanfare.  Mostly because it didn’t have any fans, or not enough of them to really make any discernable noise.  And who can blame them?  Who wants to say they like a movie starring Jay Underwood?  Oh shit, I just scared away any possible readers.  Shit!


Coming out way back in 1995, long after the death of the slasher craze of the 80s, it didn’t have much of an impact.  In fact, 1995 was a fairly bad year for horror movies if you look here:  http://www.blockbuster.com/movies/horror-g11-movies-1995.html .  There’s an article in itself right there.  It was hard to be a horror fan around this time.  The only thing Sleepstalker had over some of its direct-to-video brethren was that the effects were actually pretty good given its low budget.  It might look hokey now, the blue screen is godawful, but it was better than you would’ve expected.  Of course anything’s good when you expect it to be a lump of shit. I remember renting this way back and actually enjoying it more than I thought I would.  Time to see if I’ll still like it.


Starring:  Jay Underwood (ugh), Michael Harris and Ken Foree (!)

Directed by Turi Myer

Blood?  Some

Tits:  None L

Rated R for sexuality and language.  Not for blood and violence?  Shit…


Not much going on during the opening credits except some guy walking through a desert.  A red desert.  Mars perhaps?  Is the Sandman really a martian?




How far do I have to keep going?


Dude just walks around aimlessly until we get into the actual movie.  A boy, Griffin, is praying and being told by his parents that there isn’t anything to be afraid of in the dark.  I think she’s going to be wrong in a few minutes.  As soon as they close the kids’ door they start talking randy and go off into their bedroom.


Inside, they do very little in the way of having grotesque sex that, should their child barge in on them, there’s no way that he would think that Daddy’s just hurting Mommy.  Not with that Frisbee and dog collar.  Before my mind races off into some godawful darkness, their bedroom door opens, and unless Griffin has grown by 30 years, someone else is in the house!  The child hears screaming and yelling and walks toward the parents’ door and hears someone telling some nursery rhyme.  Telling it with asthma, jesus.  The kid sees a man pouring sand into his dead mother’s eyes.



And by “dead mother” I mean “creepy mannequin.”



The man turns around to see the kid and says, “Goodnight…Griffin!” and the chase is on!  Griffin gets to the door but he’s too short to open the latch.  That latch kills more people than it saves, you know.



No cigar, beer or kendo stick?  Some Sandman you are!


Griffin finally gets the door open and miraculously there’s a cop already there.  Who’s this guy, a Scanner Cop?  He points his gun at the Sandman, but what should save him but a gentle breeze from an open window and the curtain covers his escape.  Bullets can’t go through a curtain, buddy?  Oh the manhunt is quickly over as the cop shoots the Sandman down and he is promptly arrested as he mumbles about children’s screams.



Indoors or outdoors?  Only the cinematographer knows for sure.


The cop goes inside to tell Griffin that the Sandman will never get him again.  Well I hope so or this movie’s over after only ten minutes.  The cop looks outside to see a black guy mysterious stranger lighting a smoke. 



The real guy they were after.


I guess this guy is blind?  Am I to assume that because his eyes are messed up?  Or are they just evil?  Or both?  The cop looks back to the kid and lamely promises that everything is over.  He looks out to the street again and the man is gone!  In the real world there’d be seventeen cops on that guys ass, there’s no way he’d get away.


Flash forward 17 years and Griffin’s grown up into…



Hey look, Jay Underwood!  Run away!


A couple of women are talkin’ bout him, ohhh they like him.  No amount of acting can properly cover anyone’s disgust in trying to talk about how cute Jay Underwood is.  Apparently, through their conversation including his cute smile, is he’s a freelance writer who’s on the verge of a big break with a story on street gangs.  He gets off the phone excitedly because he just got an interview with Don Sanchez!  WTF is Don Sanchez?  Some big street thug, I guess.  One of the girls tries to set him with her friend, Horseface.



Test would nail that.  Well, not anymore.


Griffin does his best to try to blow her off as his roommate shows up with some good news.  He hands Griffin the paper and declares that the Sandman will be put to death tonight.  Whew, finally, some closure on that whole “he killed my parents wah wah wah” thing.


Meanwhile, in jail, the Sandman lays down some more bad rhymes when the guard tells him the minister is here to give him his last rites, though he’ll still burn in hell.  All the Sandman can come back with is something about putting the guard to bed early with no supper.  This outrages the guard so much he comes back with the greatest come back of all comebacks.  “Screw you, you freakin’ freak.”  Brilliant!



“Is this really part of the ceremony?”


The minister shows up and it’s the mysterious stranger from earlier!  Oh no!  The sadistic preacher places a necklace with an upside down cross around the Sandman’s neck and starts chanting.  He says he is preparing the Sandman for one final task after he dies.  Yes, apparently he will resurrected in order to do this and then he can live forever.  The task:  he has three days to kill Griffin.  If he said to kill Jay Underwood, sure, but just Griffin?  Hm.  The minister tells the guards he is ready with just one more thing to do, to go outdoors and pray.  Yes, outdoors.  The guards follow him out just so they can smoke.  The Sandman heads out and kneels with the cross in hand.  It morphs into a knife and he cuts his hand.  A single blood drop creates a huge ripple effect in the sand and he starts laughing uncontrollably.  Until the guards run over and beat the shit out of him.


Back at Griffin’s apartment, Horseface is going on about how she used to be Joan of Arc.  They call bullshit but she goes on about the supernatural world, how it can be good and evil.  She brings up the guy who killed all those families and then it gets awkward.  Griffin tells her that guy killed his family and she apologizes and he’s all “Naw, it’s ok you didn’t know” when he’s really saying “Fuck you, whore!”  She ain’t getting any from him tonight.  Griffin goes on recounting to everyone about what happened that night until one of the girls interrupts him.  The phone interrupts too, he has to leave because his big interview with Sanchez is happening tonight.


They drive through a lifeless ghetto and park outside a building.  They shoot the shit and wait for the big gang meeting.  Hey, it’s a dream sequence!  It’s not a horror movie without a dream sequence!  The Sandman walks into a child’s room and holds up a mirror to young Griffin and his lips are sewn shut, mimicking the scars the Sandman has.  Griffin wakes up, that was quick.  They’ve been outside so long they fell asleep?  You WANT to fall asleep in a ghetto?  Hey, their hubcaps are missing…


Elsewhere, the Sandman gets gassed to death.  The end.  Oh, there’s more.  A big storm is brewing (of course) and something forms in the sand. 




A skull…in the sand.  And that music?  Sounds vaguely like “Enter the Sandman.”  Ohhhhhh, I get it!  More body parts form in the sand until he’s reborn as the Sand…man?  Well lucky for him he doesn’t have to change his name.  Even his fucking coat is made of sand.  He fashionably evaporates and presumably goes on his mission to kill Spiderman.  I mean, Griffin.



Yes, you are a man made of sand, I get it.


Back in the car, Griffin sees shadows so he just gets out to see if it’s Sanchez.  Honestly, doing a piece on gang violence doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get mugged.  They turn around and BAM!  There’s a gang right there.  Oh it’s just Sanchez, lucky them.  He invites them in for tea and crumpets. 


Meanwhile, sand shoots up from a vent back at Griffin’s place…onto the ceiling.  Yeah, really creative camera work there.  Griffin’s roommate wakes up and notices a trail of sand so he decides to follow it, cause what else do you do when you see a trail of something going somewhere?  You HAVE to follow it!  This guy follows it to the roof of the building where he’s confronted by the Sandman.  Apparently it’s just “Sandman” now since the guy asked him who he was and the reply was “Ssssssssandman.”  He asks where Griffin is but is told to go to hell.  So he slowly recites “Rock a Bye Baby” before dropping the guy off the building.  Really…you’re a shape-shifting creature of pure evil and instead of using your wicked powers you just drop him off a building…didn’t even show it.  Sandman pours a shitload of sand on the guy’s face and walks away as daylight approaches.  He’s a vampire too??



He ded!  I guess…


That morning, Griffin and woman are in the car listening to the greatest interview he’s ever done.  They get out and walk twelve feet before noticing the giant crowd of people and police trying to keep them away.  Griffin gets upset but it’s the girly kind of upset, y’know, where the girl turns around into her friend’s shoulder and leans on them, crying and almost falling to her knees?  Yeah, he does that.  He sees the creepy black priest across the street and he quickly disappears.  One of the cops comes over and it’s KEN F’N FOREE!


He tells them that the death must’ve been accidental.  Sand got in his eyes and he fell off the roof.  SAND?  SAND???  The sand alarm goes off in Griffin’s head.  Once inside he goes off on a sand tangent, he knows who killed his roommate and who has now screwed him out of $350!  The roommate’s name is KENNY?  OH MY GOD, THEY KILLED KENNY! LOLOLOLOL….go fuck yourself then.  She goes to make tea and sees a picture of Kenny and gets weepy before telling Griffin he can stay at her place.  She comes back and he’s gone!


He’s gone to see Sanchez about protection, and he’s told to get a Gat.  I love how this guy comes off like he’s tough but he’s not a very good actor.  Griffin is given a fuckin arm cannon!  Well not like it’ll help against a creature made of sand.  He aims at a glass bottle and fires several times while walking toward it, missing each and every time.  He goes back and gives it to the woman.  She’s probably a better shot.


Griffin finds his way to the house of the cop at the beginning of the movie.  The cop asks him who he is and instead of explaining it like an adult, he tells the guy that he promised that the Sandman wouldn’t get him.  The cop reacts like he’s being visited by an old friend, but Griffin’s not having any of it, being a child again.  “You didn’t keep your promise.”  Oh fuck you, Griffin.  Whiny cunt.


They go to the jail where the Sandman was and talk about why he did it.  There was no connection other than each family killed had a seven-year old son.  Ok, that means there IS a connection.  It’s not like it was a coincidence!  The cop and the guards tell Griffin that the guy is dead, they even go to the morgue and show him the dead body.  HE DED!  The cut on the body’s hand is brought up and how he got it.  Guard says the creepy black priest gave it to him.  Griffin remembers him and somehow they figure they should check the guy out.




Speaking of the devil (possibly literally), the priest sits on his throne…?  He monologues that the Sandman only has two days now to kill Griffin.  Sandman can’t become immortal until Griffin is dead because his mortal soul is tied Griffin’s.  Really?  How’d that happen?


Griffin and the retired cop get into the priest’s old apartment where it’s covered in pentagrams, dead chickens and all that lovely stuff.  They find a mold of an upside down cross (or right side up too I suppose) and the cop says that explains the sand. 




Some bum comes out and nearly gets shot.  She says the priest left a long time ago and left a curse on this place.  She makes a scary/pouty face at Griffin.  They ask if she knows where the guy went so she places her ear to the floor and gives them an address.  Makes sense.


Back at the apartment, the other girl and Horseface talk and I stop paying attention.  Oh, sand is pouring from the chimney!  The cute girl, not Horseface, goes into the bathroom to take a shower.  The dirty pervert that he is, Sandman is there to watch.  He makes his way closer but accidentally sticks his fingers in the sink she was using and melts some of his fingers off.  He grows them back though and figures he shouldn’t go after someone surrounded by running water.  He goes after Horseface instead!  She’s in her room listening to music so he can spout his nursery rhymes without whispering this time.  She wakes up covered in sand and looks up to see Sandman’s upper body staring at her as she starts to get sucked into her bed of sand. 




Griffin and the cop arrive and Griffin gets all giddy because there’s foot prints made of sand in the bathroom.  They look for Horseface and when the cop gets to her door, sand starts pouring out and something starts coming out of it.  Something like bad CGI.




Sandman forms and tells the cop to be quiet, Horseface is sleeping.  He then informs the guy that his time is up and grabs his face and morphs his hand into a mask covering his face and that will do it for the cop.



You know I’ve stopped caring when I can’t make this funny.


Griffin fires the gun and as expected, nothing happens.  They run downstairs to find a phone and call the cops.  Sandman’s right behind him.  Griffin’s out of bullets so he ever so gently tosses the gun and they run off into another room and lock it.  But it has one of those damn keyholes in it!  That won’t stop the Sandman for long.  The only other door out of there is locked by a combination lock?  And she can’t remember it?  They really deserve what they’re going to get.  Griffin cries for her to open the door as the Sandman reforms.  Griffin picks up a large plastic water container and tosses it.  It breaks like glass?  Water’s everywhere so it scares Sandman off.  She gets the door open and they run.


But not very far.  She trips and falls and he takes off without her and the Sandman’s right there for her.  He pins her to a wall but Griffin comes back goading the guy to go after him instead.  He runs into some guy’s car (this guy’s at the pay phone) and just calmly sits there.  Sandman is right there at the window and shakes his head disapprovingly.  The car owner turns around and yells at Griffin who finally gets the car started but not before the car starts bouncing up and down.  Is Sandman humping it?  What the hell…


Griffin drives to nowhere in particular when sand pours out of the vents in the car.  He stops and the cops are right there.  The cops in this movie seem to have ESP or something, they know where right to be.  They arrest him and bring him in.  He talks to a detective who has a hard time believing his supernatural killer story.  KEN F’N FOREE shows up to take over and not too subtlety says he doesn’t want to hear anything about a Sandman.  He basically accuses Griffin of killing people.  They get into a very short shouting match because KEN F’N FOREE don’t play that shit and smacks him down.  He gets the straight jacket and locked up.


Sure enough, the Sandman was hiding in an ashtray near the cell and when the cop is gone, he reforms.  He reaches for Griffin but the sunlight peaking through the window hits his hand and that hurts him too.  He says he’ll be back that night to finish the job.


Another dream sequence with a drunk father coming in to beat on the Sandman when he was a child.  His lips are sewn up so he can’t scream at all.  Awww, poor guy.  He’s just misunderstood.


Griffin is getting escorted to county when a car screeches by and Meghan…oh that’s her name, I gotta pay attention to names more often…pulls a gun on the cops.  Anyone who’s seen Dawn of the Dead knows you don’t pull a gun on KEN F’N FOREE.  He don’t like it.



Anyway, they take the cops’ guns and tell them to take their shoes off and…drop their pants.  Yeah.  They stop off to talk about what they’re going to do.  She says they should just go and that is a great plan IF they only knew this was the last day the Sandman has to get Griffin.  But they don’t, so Griffin can’t think of any place to go so they should stay and fight.  Sanchez walks in on them making out and they get him to take him to an abandoned warehouse full of crazy people to find the preacher.  What a plan!


He turns around sees the preacher sitting on the throne and points the gun wanting to know where Sandman is.  After spouting off some gibberish, he says the Sandman has to kill him because he’s his only mortal link to this world, he’s always been with him.


He tells a story about a boy whose father beat him (same dream sequences as earlier) while drunk, the boy having his lips sewn shut.  When the father leaves he tries to take his anger out on his baby brother, but instead breaks a mirror and stabs his father with a shard of glass.  HE’S HIS BROTHER!  The boy came to the preacher who taught him the ways of evil and said he had to kill the last remaining member of his family.  Hence the whole serial killing of families with a little boy, trying to find Griffin.  The preacher opens up an hour glass and the sand starts pouring out by itself.  The chase is on!


They once again lock themselves in a room from a guy who can shift into sand and get through cracks, which he does.  Sanchez shoots the lock off the door to get them out and threatens Sandman with a gun.  Sandman morphs into a sand storm, ripping the skin off Sanchez.



Yeah, he ded too.


They break into another warehouse with the Sandman in hot pursuit.  Griffin remembers science class, and what was told to him earlier about heat turning sand into glass, and makes a Molotov cocktail.  After a chase through the heating ducts, Griffin leaves the explosive in the duct and it goes off while the Sandman is still just plain sand.



Who needs science?


That should do it, but he reforms and shows off that only his right arm is made of glass.  So that explosion only melted the molecules that formed his arm…and he could still reform that body part?  ARGH, my head hurts.  Fuck this movie.


Sandman smashes his glass arm against a post and shatters…well, some of it.  Remaining is a long, sharp piece of glass for his arm.  Well that works out well.  Meaghan walks right in front of Sandman like an idiot and Griffin shoves her out of the way leaving him open for a stabbing.  Yes, he gets run through and he is dead.  Now the Sandman is immortal!  Seriously, he’s dead.  And I’m happy!  Griffin was a whiny bitch, you couldn’t really like him.


So, Sandman?  Now that you’re immortal what do you plan on doing?  Oh you’re going to chase the girl?  Why?  She climbs up into an incinerator and he goes in after her.  She’s already at the top and he notices that the gas is on.  She gives the typical action hero one-liner “Rest in peace” and drops a match into the incinerator.  She jumps off the top of the damn thing and it must be 20-25’.  She lands on some boxes and she’s fine as the Sandman blows up real good.  She’s ok!  Aside from all her friends being dead.  And that felony for helping a prisoner escape, cause the cops haven’t seen the Sandman at all.  She’s fucked.


Apparently not, the next scene has her dumping ashes from atop a cliff near the ocean.  Eh, it was funnier when they did it in the Big Lebowski.  Think it’s over?  Back at the incinerator, the preacher is spouting gibberish again and reaches in to grab what I’m sure is the glassified remains of Sandman.  OK, now it’s over.


Well, memories from ten years ago certainly don’t match what I’ve just seen.  What could’ve been a decent flick is completely bogged down by TERRIBLE acting, pacing is bad (almost nothing really happens during the first hour) and when the Sandman does kill someone, other than Sanchez, it’s a lame, bloodless death.  And KEN F’N FOREE didn’t do shit!  Your chances of finding this is pretty slim so you’ll likely never have to go through this like I did.  2/10



At least the theme music was good.





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One Response to 2am Review: Sleepstalker

  1. brian says:

    im shocked someone other then me remembers this movie. i saw this a bunch of times when i was younger, and i always liked it. then, im a huge b-movie/low budget/etc fan. havent seen it in a while, duno what id think now.