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Sleepwalker. n(noun). Nomadic shape-shifting creatures with human and feline origins. Vulnerable to the deadly stratch of the cat, the sleepwalker feeds upon the life force of virginal human females. Probable source of the Vampire legend.
~ Chillicoath Encyclopaedia of Arcane Knowledge 1st Edition .1884 (about the Sleepwalkers).

The Sleepwalkers are an ancient and forgotten nomadic race of vampiric shapeshifting werecats. They possess magical powers, and among their gifts is the ability they called "dimming" which makes themselves and any other object within their presence invisible. The only two known members of this titular species are the widowed mother Mary and her son Charles Brady, the two main antagonists of the 1992 horror film Sleepwalkers (also known as Stephen King's Sleepwalkers).

Origins

Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the Sleepwalkers, shapeshifting Earth-born humanoid cat beings, were once worshipped by humans as gods. This was due to the many supernatural abilities they possess including telekinesis, illusion casting and most notably the "dimming", or the ability to turn themselves as well as any other object or person in their own presence invisible. They exploited their subjects worship of them to gain human sacrifices as despite the fact they are immune to nearly any injury they must feast on the life energy of virgin girls in order to maintain their youth and strength. Remarkably despite their feline origins and appearance in their true form, their only weakness was the common house cat. Not only able to see through their illusions (something only cameras were also shown to be capable of doing) the wounds inflicted by cats are extremely deadly to Sleepwalkers not only weakening them to the point they can be killed by normal means but also burning the creatures to the point of even causing them to burst into flames. Once this mortal weakness was discovered, they were renounced and even shunned as monsters and demons.

Centuries passed and the Sleepwalkers were branded not just as monsters, but also as witches and warlocks and sought out to be slain. In order to survive, they went into hiding. Nearly forgotten by humanity in the ensuing centuries, the only knowledge of them were the many scattered stories and legends they appeared in becoming the basis for the legends of the vampire. Due to their species depleting numbers the creatures resorted to having incestuous relationships in order to continue the species.

The 2 Sleepwalkers

At the time of the film, Charles Brady and his mother Mary were the only verified living Sleepwalkers. Though they normally maintain a human form, they could transform (partially or fully) into human-sized bipedal werecats (presumably their natural form) at will.

At the start of the film, Charles and Mary had taken up residence in a small Indiana town of Travis, having recently fled Bodega Bay, California (where they used the aliases Martha and Carl Brodie) after draining and killing a young girl there. Charles proceeded to attend the local high school, and there he meets Tanya Robertson in his creative writing class and proceeded to seduce her.

Tanya did not suspect the real reason why the handsome Charles was interested in her; to take her life force for both himself and his mother, who was starving. At first, it seemed that Charles was genuinely falling in love with Tanya (to the dismay of his jealous mother). On their first date, however, during a picnic at the nearby cemetery, Charles attempted to drain the life force from Tanya while kissing her. Tanya tried frantically to ward off Charles by bashing his head with her camera, scratching his face, and ultimately plunging a corkscrew into his left eye yet nothing seemed to work and she seemed doomed.

Luckily as it happens, Deputy Sheriff Andy Simpson (who had earlier tried to pull Charles over for speeding, passing a stopped school bus, and seemingly trying to run down a young school girl) drove by the cemetery and noticed Charles’ (now undisguised) car. When Tanya flees to him for help, Charles attacked Simpson easily ignoring the deputy's gunfire and kills him. Unfortunately for Charles when he turned to resume feeding off of Tanya he discovered the deputy’s cat, Clovis, was also in the car. Rising to the occasion Clovis attacked Charles nearly killed him by scratching him in the face and chest. Severely wounded by Clovis, Charles staggered back home to his mother who tended to him and used her abilities to make both of them "dim", i.e., turn invisible, thus keeping Charles from being arrested when the police subsequently stormed their house.

Knowing that the only way for her dying son to survive is to feed, Mary attacked the Robertson household, killing nearly the entire sheriff's department and severely wounding Tanya’s parents in the process. She kidnapped Tanya and took her back to her house, where Charles by that time was all but dead. Mary revived him, and Charles made a final desperate attempt to drain Tanya’s life force. However before he could finish, Tanya plunged her fingers into his eyes, killing him due to his weakened state. Tanya managed to escape with the help of the head sheriff who had avoided the earlier rampage only to watch as Mary impaled him on the picket fence surrounding the Brady house. At that point though several of the cats that had been gathering around the Brady house throughout the movie, and now led by Clovis, jumped on Mary and clawed at her until she finally bursts into flames, killing her. With the monsters now finally dead Tanya hugged Clovis, her savior, as Mary's body lay ablaze on the Brady driveway.

It is unknown if Mary Brady's words to her son Charles earlier in the film that they were not the last of their kind and that she could sense many surviving Sleepwalkers out there are true or if she was merely trying to comfort him.

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