Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

Halloween Movie Review – Rabid Reader’s Halloween Special 2014

DVD Release Date: March 26, 2002


Stephen King's: Sometimes They Come BackIn the movie Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back, Jim Norman’s brother died in 1957 after being stabbed by a gang of greasers. In 1974, Jim returns to his hometown to teach at the local school. After the death of one of Jim’s students, a new student arrives in town. The new student looks like one of the greasers that killed Jim’s brother but he couldn’t possibly be the same boy, as he looks the same age as the young gang member did in 1957. Weird coincidence or do they sometimes come back?



Stephen King famously has an inability to self-edit and clearly no one in his life to tell him when he’s going on a bit. Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back was adapted from a short story by screenwriters Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal but, at times, stands as a good example of King’s tendency to go off to the side of a topic.

I first saw this movie in its televised premiere in 1991. My experience with horror movies began and ended with an accidental viewing of the horror movie The Fog (1980) as a small child. I had nightmares for years after seeing that movie and combined with my mother’s adherence to a religion that prohibited television viewing, opportunities to discover if I was a “horror person” were thin. I loved the movie at the moment and would have been hard-pressed to find any faults. I loved the aspect of Jim telling a story that has happened. There’s a weight to the narration that adds to the bleak landscape. When Jim and his family arrive at the ramshackle home the wonderful thrill of what was to come chilled blood. The cold viciousness and cruelty of the greaser character and the promise that they will do what they feel they need to do to accomplish their goal of coming back for good was thrilling. Add in the awesome VW van and you have a hit.

In preparation for this review, I rented the movie from our local Family Video. As the movie was set in the early 1970s, it does hold up in the regard to the framework of the piece. Tim Matheson had 30 years of acting experience before taking on the role of Jim Norman. His portrayal of the young house painter turned teacher is at times much better than the script he’s acting. There are tie back moments where commercial breaks would have been plotted. The actor playing the young greaser tapping his cigarette on his hand and calling back the memory of the boys responsible for the death of Jim’s brother, Robert Rusler, is easily recognizable now from his subsequent television work. The moment he and Jim meet in the classroom his “Live and in person, Mr. Norman” is wonderfully casual.

It would have been less than realistic for Jim to come back to his hometown where a horrible tragedy happened to his family in his youth unscathed. He is an angry man. His brother died at the hands of monsters and he’s never really come to terms with that loss. His anger will serve him well or destroy him when he returns. Is he telling us the story from beyond the grave or did he survive the horrible experience we know is waiting when the thugs return?

Much of the dialogue is trite but the roles are played well enough to make Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back a compelling entry into the Halloween must-see list. Watching as an adult I can see many times when the fat could have been trimmed and perhaps the horror element enhanced. At its core “Sometimes They Come Back” is a good story with constant tie-backs within itself. I do love a good dose of cheesy and this movie has those moments in spades but instead of making the production laughable it adds to the charm of the piece.

You can buy Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back as a DVD or Blu-ray on

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Title Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back
Director Tom McLoughlin
Actors  Tim Matheson, Brooke Adams, Robert Rusler, William Sanderson, Chris Demetral
Length 1 hour and 38 minutes
Rating R
DVD Release October 27, 2015

If you can’t get enough, check out Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Coffin Collection. The collection consists of 26 horror and humorous B-movies and was released on September 23, 2014. The thirteen DVDs are packaged in a collectible tin coffin. Enjoy over 36 hours of horrific fun hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The coffin collection contains the following movies:


The Night of the Living Dead
The Wasp Woman
The Werewolf of Washington
The Master
The Terror
The Wild Woman of Wongo
The Satanic Rites of Dracula
The Killer Shrews
The Giant Gila Monster
Untamed Women
Teenagers from Outer Space
Beast from Haunted Cave
Monsters from a Prehistoric Planet
Lady Frankenstein
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
I Eat Your Skin
Attack of the Giant Leeches
A Bucket of Blood
Don’t Look In the Basement
Scared to Death
Manos: The Hands of Fate
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
Hercules and the Captive Women


You can buy Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Coffin Collection on

Amazon U.S.   Amazon U.K.   Amazon CA


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