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Directed by Saxon Logan
Produced in 1985
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Bill Douglas, Heather Page, Joanna David
This is truly scarifying stuff and its neglect is unaccountable - a neglect remedied by this authoritative BFI release. The 27th title in the BFI's pioneering Flipside series, which is supported by the director Nicolas Winding Refn, is Saxon Logan's long-unseen horror satire Sleepwalker from 1984. It is remastered from the only surviving print and presented for the first time on any home video format. This Dual Format Edition (Blu-ray and DVD) also contains two short films by Saxon Logan and the rare 1971 mid-length fantasy, The Insomniac, directed by Rodney Giesler. When wealthy couple Richard and Angela visit Marion and Alex in their decaying family home, an evening of drunkenness and sexual rivalry turns bloody as the guests fall victim to an unhinged attacker.
Barry Forshaw on 30th September 2013
Author of 628 reviews
When wealthy couple Richard and Angela visit Marion and Alex in their decaying family home, their differing social and moral attitudes create uneasy tensions. An inharmonious evening of drunkenness and sexual rivalry soon turns bloody as the guests fall victim to an unhinged attacker.
Featuring a rare performance from Bill Douglas (Bill Douglas Trilogy, Comrades), and starring British screen greats Joanna David and Heather Page (both of whom would go on to work with Douglas in Comrades), Sleepwalker is an outrageous and incendiary mix of biting satire and bloody horror that is at once reminiscent of otherwise unlikely bedfellows Lindsay Anderson and Dario Argento. The stellar cast also includes Nikolas Grace, and features cameos by Fulton MacKay, Michael Medwin and Raymond Huntley.
Remastered from the only surviving print, this long-unseen mid-length film is presented here for the first time on any home video format, along with two shorts by its director, Saxon Logan, and the rare 1971 mid-length fantasy, The Insomniac, directed by Rodney Giesler.
Length: 50 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 widescreen
Format: DVD+Blu-ray Colour
Released: 23rd September 2013
Cat No: BFIB1147
- 2 discs
- Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
- The Insomniac (Rodney Giesler, 1971, 45 mins): a man experiences a night-time world that is part foreboding nightmare, part sexual fantasy
- Stepping Out (Saxon Logan, 1977, 10 mins): a couple’s untraditional early morning ritual is observed in a short drama which originally supported Polanski’s The Tenant in UK cinemas
- Working Surface: A Short Study (with Actors) in the ‘Ways’ of a Bourgeois Writer (Saxon Logan, 1979, 15 mins): Bill Douglas plays a writer struggling with a script about the interior lives of two women (playing by Joanna David and Heather Page)
- Extensive booklet with essays and complete credits.
by Stephen on 14th July 2013
Saxon Logan's extraordinary 49 minute feature pitches four people into a class war situation with a vicious sting in the tale. After a not entirely stress-free journey... Read on
Saxon Logan's extraordinary 49 minute feature pitches four people into a class war situation with a vicious sting in the tale. After a not entirely stress-free journey, (Wake me up when it's over)Richard Paradise (Grace) and wife Angela (David) arrive at the house of Albion, owned by brother and sister act Marianne and Alex Britain. When a violent storm breaches the walls and windows of Albion, Marianne is forced to abandon plans for a quiet candlelit dinner so the quartet head for a local restaurant where Fulton Mckay and Michael Medwin materialise as all-seeing, all-knowing proprietor and waiter; a Fulci-esque pair of characters who appear to 'come with the place.' It's here the fun really does start as Richard- (He's in videos) looking for all the world like a deserving victim from Jose Larraz's Vampyres - launches a vicious attack on Alex (the excellent Bill Douglas) and his socialist principles. Be sure this loathsome 'Tory Boy' will set your hackles rising, as his entrepreneurial claptrap embodies the sentiments of Neil Kinnock's brilliant rejection of Conservative values (The only person is me. The only number is one. The only time is now.) And the ladies? While Angela demonstrates she's at least a few pills short of a full valium bottle, Marianne (Page) simply drinks, while exuding a trouser-rousing air of sex and sensuality that remains right up to a veritable blood-soaked finale.
Boasting a script laced with black as crude humour, Sleepwalker comes over like a head-on collision between Mike Leigh and Dario Argento, with its mise en scene often recalling the late, great Mario Bava. Frequent references to nocturnal, eyes wide shut states of being - comas, sleepwalking, the strange tale of a certain Mr. Valdemar, not to mention Alex's final terrified demand (Wake up!) - take this film beyond the usual 'stuff of nightmares' fare and suggests that were it not for a calamitous change in British cinema policy, one Frederick Kruger may not have had things entirely his own way.
Yes, it may not be taking things a bit too far by comparing Sleepwalker to the work of a certain Mr. Argento (gory murder scenes, a sleeping witch and a girl who emerges from a drug-induced slumber), there is another (possibly unintentional?) Suspiria moment. When this film hits the small screen, hit the pause button when Alex's computer screen displays a passage of text from a script translation. There you'll see a description of a couple arriving at a town called Freiburg.