There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Today’s film, Sometimes They Come Back.
Today’s Key Movie:
Jim Norman (Tim Matheson) returns to his childhood home with his family in tow. Reluctant to return to the town that claimed the life of his older brother, Jim finds himself at odds with the school district he works for as well as the evil spirits of the Greasers who killed his brother so many years prior. Now faced with stopping the evil spirits and saving his family, Jim must do all they can before the spirits exact their revenge.
Why this movie?
In the 90’s Stephen King had become a household name. From the popular mini series IT and The Stand to feature films such as Christine and Pet Sematary it seemed you couldn’t go a day without seeing one of King’s books interpreted on the big or small screen. One of the popular things to do in this period of time was to have a television event mostly in the form of a ‘made-for-tv’ movie. While these films were sure to be a bit tamer than what you would see in a theater, with King’s name attached, you could be sure it wouldn’t be a Lifetime movie in any way, shape or form. That was the case with today’s film Sometimes That Come Back. Originally aired on CBS on May 7, 1991 we all sat in front of our screens ready for the horror that King would bring.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
First off, before watching this film you have to keep in mind that this is a made-for-tv horror from the 90’s. Restriction for television were a bit more stringent back then than they are today so any horror films that were broadcast had to rely on tone over content. That being said, while directors like that of Mick Garris where exceptionally skilled at creating something both horrific and safe for television, others tended to miss the mark. Sadly, while I loved this film growing up, this film falls in the latter and really just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.
The story itself is a solid one with a very strong cast but, while it is clearly a Stephen King plot, it almost feels that Director Tom McLoughlin either deliberately played it safe or was forced to by the network. Seeing that McLoughlin was responsible for writing and directing Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Lives, I would assume it was the network on this one.
The problem with this film is that, contrary to my memories of it, it is simply not scary. Set up as a legitimate ghost story the film tends to dance around the fact that a group of evil 1960’s Greasers are steadily killing off high-school kids so that they can come back from the dead in order to seek their perceived vengeance on a kid who witnessed their last act of malice. I mean, with a plot like that this should be a terrifying film but the return of the evil Greaser never really manages to inspire the fear they were meant to despite the constant evil they manage to participate in. Even the ghastly makeup used to depict the greasers in their true form comes across as something out of a B-horror flick giving moments that should have been genuinely frightening more of a comic effect.
Despite the rather solid cast including Tin Matheson, Brooke Adams and even William Sanderson, bottom line, file this one under ‘Films that didn’t age well’. While this may have been frightening for the viewers in ’91 it just doesn’t work in today’s world. Frankly, this is one that is prime for a true reinterpretation of the source material.
OK, where do I get this movie?
If you must watch it, you can find this one for around $10 or sometimes cheaper depending on where you look. This is one that is really only for fans of Stephen King and, even then, it is a pretty weak entry. Personally, I would wait for it to pop up on Netflix or Hulu if I were you.
Interestingly this film inspired two sequels Sometimes They Come Back…Again and Sometimes They Come Back…For More. My sister and I used to joke about the titles and, while I remember those being frightening as well, I imagine they didn’t age well either. Trust me, if I get around to watching them, I will let you know for sure.
Late To The Game 7/2/2020
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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